Navarre is a community filled with heritage treasures. Architecture, sculpture and painting have developed through the centuries, and that is visible in its villages. Apart from its capital (Pamplona) and other popular villages such as Tudela or Estella, there are many other villages with a variety of landscapes and history. Here we have some of the most beautiful villages for a day trip. Which one is your favourite?
Our tour begins in this small village located in a very curious place. Ujué is 815 metres above the sea level, what gives the city spectacular views. Its narrow cobbled streets date from medieval times. They are clustered around the Romanesque church-fortification of Santa María de Ujué. There is also a wall that has become one of the best examples of the Gothic from Navarre.
According to the legend, the sanctuary was erected after a shepherd saw a dove coming and going from a hole of a rock. There, it found a virgin. Today the village is not only the centre of one the oldest pilgrimages in our country, but also a historic and cultural destination located almost 50 kilometres far from Pamplona. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages in Navarre.
In the county of the Ribera of Navarre is a village with a rich past. It went from being a Celtiberian settlement to becoming an outstanding Roman nucleus known as Cascantum. The Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Romero is a must see place in the village. It was built in the 17th century on an old Romanesque church. But you should also walk through the colourful arches of 39 semicircular arches that connect it with the village. The Bobadilla’s Palace, the Casa-Museo of the first Navarre saint (Santa Vicenta María López y Vicuña) or the Park of el Romero are the main places of interest in this village. On the other hand, the town is surrounded by many options of active tourism. The Natural Park of las Bardenas Reales, the Vía Verde of the Tarazonica and the Sierra del Moncayo in Aragón are close
This village linked to the Way to Santiago is said that it has a monument in every street. And the true is that it has one of the best monumental complex in Navarre. The amazing reliefs of the doorway in the Romanesque Church of Santa María la Real are a treasure. The old Romanesque bridge over the river Aragón or the Palace of the Prince of Viana are also a must see. After admiring the many monuments in Sangüesa, we recommend you try its famous pochas beans to round off your visit.
Next stop is Olite, it might be one of the most beautiful villages in Navarre, but also one of the most popular due to its famous castle-palace. The old luxure building lived its splendour during the 15th century when it was the residence of the Navarra kings. It should be the starting point in any tours in the city, but not only the unique stop. The gothic church of Santa María la Real and the Teobaldos’s Palace are other interesting monuments to enjoy in Olite. We also recommend you to make a stop and try the traditional cuisine. If you come in summer you cannot miss the Classical Theater Festival that still gives off an intense medieval spirit.
Having the best preserved walled enclosure in the community is a reason enough to add Artajona to the list of the most beautiful villages in Navarre. The impressive Cerco de Artajona erected in the 11th century is worth to visit in just the morning. So you can enjoy the city the rest of the day. We also recommend the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Jerusalén and the Church of San Saturnino (with its four bells that move backwards). The Dólmenes del Portillo de Enériz, 4 kilometres far from the village are also worth visiting.
In the area of Basque-speaking, the landscape of Navarre changes. The monumental character of the dry land gives way to to the greenness of the environment of the northern valleys. In the county of las Cinco Villas, close to the French border is the village of Etxalar. It is a beautiful village known as the small dovecot’s village and an ideal place for rural tourism. You will quickly find the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, the old City Council and the traditional houses. Here you also has an opportunity to try some of the gastronomic specialities of the area such as the grilled meat or the delightful products made with sheep milk (junket, regional cheeses).
Now we will move to the northeast in order to discover this small village. Burguete was born to host the pilgrims who crossed the Pyrenees. Today it has become the perfect example of Pyrenean architecture. Charming houses, the pelota court and a historic complex declared as Asset of Cultural Interest. Around this village you will enjoy the nature thanks to its streams and a lush vegetation. Even Ernest Hemingway felt in love with it.
Our tour finishes 2 kilometres far from Burguete, in an important village of the French Way and the today the starting point for many pilgrims who go to Santiago. Roncesvalles was also the scenario of the mythical battle of the same name and the legends about the knight Roldán and Charlemagne. This village deserves to be included among the most beautiful villages in Navarre.
What was an important passageway in old times, is now a fundamental spot in the north of the community because of its beautiful collegiate church and the pilgrims hospital. Roncesvalles is also a must place to visit for those who love Idiazabal cheese. Here you can try it and know for first hand its elaboration process. You will not forget this day trip.