Tim likes to travel. Follow his adventures as he explores the world.

Monday, July 4, 2016

30 Amazing Places This American Has Visited in Navarra

So, what's in Navarra? I've been here for a year and a half two and a half years, traveling, discovering, eating, and aprovechando (taking advantage of) my time here. There is so much to be discovered within the small northern province of Spain. Here is a glimpse of some of the places that I have been to in Navarra. If you are from Navarra, have you been to all of these places? Join me on my adventures in and around Spain VEN con TMax.




Pamplona (San Fermin)

My home base in Spain (Best and Worst of Pamplona). Click the link above for the in-depth story on my amazing 1st San Fermin. If you are in Pamplona after San Fermin, it is the only time you can take advantage of the awesome guided tours of the city.

Photos with giants
Photos with giants

Post-encierro tomfoolery
Post-encierro tomfoolery

Just before the chupinazo
Just before the chupinazo

Ringing the bells in the cathedral with the best campañero I know
Ringing the bells in the cathedral with the best campañero I know

Almadías de Burgui

On a cloudy 30th of April, we set out to Burgui in the Roncal Valley to see día de la almadía - boats made of wooden trunks, that are transported down the river. As the almadías approach, it begins to rain. It continues to rain after the almadías have passed and we go to the main square to try local foods and drink. Run into a few other friends from Pamplona as well.

Lining up on the bridge about 90 minutes before the almadías pass
Lining up on the bridge about 90 minutes before the almadías pass
Ladies walking to the water to wash clothes, old school style
Ladies walking to the water to wash clothes, old school style

Bearing heavy rains to enjoy watching the almadías pass
Bearing heavy rains to enjoy watching the almadías pass

Spectators with umbrellas line the river
Spectators with umbrellas line the river

Valle de Basaburúa

After a pleasant morning walk around the Leurtza Reservoir, we headed to Orquieta to play the Enigma Escape Room. After successfully completing the game, we went upstairs to have lunch in the restaurant and recount our victory. 


Trying to get a better look at the water
Trying to get a better look at the water

Picnic and scenery
Picnic and scenery

Escape Room Champions
Escape Room Champions

Castillo Monjardin

I always passed this castle atop a large hill when traveling south on the highway. One day, we decided to stop and check it out. The views of the surrounding valley are enough to warrant this stop, not to mention the historical significance.

Overlooking the entire valley from the campana (bell)
Overlooking the entire valley from the campana (bell)

Trying to be cute while being scared to fall off the edge
Trying to be cute while being scared to fall off the edge

Ainhoa enjoying the amazing view
Ainhoa enjoying the amazing view

Caves of Zugarramurdi

Amazing natural wonders in the north of Navarra. Best to see on a sunny day in fall with yellow, orange, and red leaves falling on the ground. Also, go early to avoid crowds and get better photos.

Deep in the dark caves, we smiled and brightened up everything

It's raining leaves

Can you spot the four brave travelers? 

Munitions Museum of Eugi

After a 45 minute presentation about the area and what to expect at the former munitions factory, we set out into the rain and walk the ruins of the factory. 

A little bit of rain and cold can't stop the Domingueros. Though a lot could...

Plants have taken over the ruins

Baztan Valley

Along the border of Spain and France is a lush valley created by the Pyrenees mountains, covered with green mountains and spectacular views. History, cultural, and nature are all blended to offer a great experience, from Elizondo to Erratzu to Urdax.


I love the houses in northern Navarra (Elizondo pictured)
I love the houses with flowery balconies, found all over northern Navarra (Elizondo pictured)

Swimming in the Nacedero de Xorroxin
Swimming in the Nacedero de Xorroxin

Reflective views in Urdazubi
Reflective views in Urdazubi

Parque Sendaviva

At the end of my time as a teacher, I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with the kids to a zoo/theme park/water park. It was a lot of fun, like anytime you get to act like a kid.


Grrr baby, very grrr!
Grrr baby, very grrr!

Working and playing at the same time
Working and playing at the same time


Roncesvalles

The iconic starting point for many on the Camino de Santiago, which ends in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. Very small and easily seen in an hour or two, but worth visiting to be a part of the excitement.


With the iconic symbol of the town and the beginning of the Camino de Santiago
With the iconic symbol of the town and the beginning of the Camino de Santiago

La Selva de Irati

On the border of France, sharing the Pyrenees mountains, you can find a "jungle", which is actually a very big forest, full of trails and a large reservoir in the middle. Perfect for a day hike, and to visit some of the surrounding cities, like the highest village in Navarra, Abaurrea Alta.


10km walk around the reservoir
10km walk around the reservoir

Stop for lunch and to perpetuate stereotypes
Stop for lunch and to perpetuate stereotypes

Un pino entre los pinos (a handstand amongst the pine trees)
Un pino entre los pinos (a handstand amongst the pine trees)

Tudela

The capital of La Ribera, the southern region of Navarra, has much to see and experience, like the 20-some odd murals around the city and two very large statues, one of Christ, and the other of Mary, on opposite sides of the city.

On top of the city with el Sagrado Corazón de Jesus
On top of the city with el Sagrado Corazón de Jesus

Center of attention in the center of the city
Center of attention in the center of the city

Very nice murals all over the city
Very nice murals all over the city


Castillo de San Miguel de Miravalles (Castillo de Huarte)

Along with Irulegui and San Cristobal, ancient defensive castles that surround Pamplona. A short hike to the top to see Pamplona from the north.
Not much to see, but seeing it from all angles
Not much to see, but seeing it from all angles

Overlooking the Pamplona Basin
Overlooking the Pamplona Basin

Arróniz

Home to an annual olive oil festival. A quaint town with a church on top of a hill and an amazing view of the Navarran countryside.

Greg and I look like hobos in a soup kitchen
Greg and I look like hobos in a soup kitchen

Beautiful view from the top of the hill
Beautiful view from the top of the hill

Estella

The largest town in western Navarra, built over a river with many bridges, and host to many pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago.

Estella never looked so good
Estella never looked so good

Normal people walk the streets, but not us
Normal people walk the streets, but not us

Aranguren Valley and Castle Irulegui

To the southeast of Pamplona is a nice place to hike and take in the rolling hills of Navarra.

Overlooking the Aranguren Valley, with Pamplona in the distance
Overlooking the Aranguren Valley, with Pamplona in the distance

Pilón de Falces

Fresh off running with the bulls in Pamplona during San Fermin, I found myself in the remote mountain town of Falces, where they run downhill with the bulls (Pilón de Falces) - and I ended up running with them.

Survived! Mostly thanks to Jokin Zuasti, professional encierro runner
Survived! Mostly thanks to Jokin Zuasti, professional encierro runner

San Cristobal

The closest mini-mountain/very-big-hill to Pamplona, and home to an abandoned military fortress from the Spanish civil war era.

Climbing to the top
Climbing to the top

Almost there!
Almost there!

Castillo de Javier and Monasterio de Leyre

The first tourist place I went to in Navarra (excluding the historic center of Pamplona).

My first host family from when I was an au pair
My first host family from when I was an au pair

A really nice castle, full of Japanese-Navarran history and culture
A really nice castle, full of Japanese-Navarran history and culture

Castillo Olite

Another popular castle in Navarra, right in the middle of the town of Olite and an impressive building.



Scaling the castle walls
Scaling the castle walls

There's always that one kid who has to be different
There's always that one kid who has to be different

Panoramic view of the entire city
Panoramic view of the entire city

Parque Fluvial de Pamplona

16km+ of parks and pathways along the Arga river in Pamplona. Very nice to see by bike.

Watching the kayakers from a more intimate angle
Watching the kayakers from a more intimate angle

Foz de Lumbier and Foz de Arbayun

Two river gorges in the far east of Navarra, home to several different bird species and vegetation.

Selfie with Arbayun
Selfie with Arbayun

Group shot at Lumbier
Group shot at Lumbier

Puenta la Reina

It rained the entire time I was there. But the bridges are a beautiful sight, even from the highway. I also got a chance to see Santa Maria de Eunate church on the same day.

El puente
El puente

The altar looks different from down here
The altar looks different from down here

Tafalla

Because the Linzoain's have family nearby, I've been to Tafalla many times and enjoyed what the town has to offer.

During fiestas in Tafalla
During fiestas in Tafalla

At the opera (not performing this time.. or anytime)
At the opera (not performing this time.. or anytime)

Las Bardenas

A desert in the south of Navarra. It is reminiscent of the wild west in America, and is often used in western films in Spain. Game of Thrones (season 6) was filmed here as well. Also home to a military base with active tank fire. (click here to read an article I wrote about my experience)

Bike ridin' in the Bardenas
Bike ridin' in the Bardenas

Just an amazing experience
Just an amazing experience

Nacedero de Urederra

A beautiful natural reserve with waterfalls and greenery all around.


Greenery and beautiful waterfalls everywhere
Greenery and beautiful waterfalls everywhere

Reached the top
Reached the top

Monasterio de Iranzu

Beautifully restored monastery from the 12th century, that gives you a glimpse of life in another epoque.

I totally could be a ninja... except I was scared to death up there
I totally could be a ninja... except I was scared to death up there

The sole cloister was the source of much amusement
The sole cloister was the source of much amusement

Lantz Carnaval

A small town just north of Pamplona that is famous for its traditional festival where they rid the town of evil.

Hanging out with some Txatxos
Hanging out with some Txatxos

Miel Otxin, imprisoned and awaiting his fiery demise
Miel Otxin, imprisoned and awaiting his fiery demise

Cerco de Artajona

An incredible fortress with most of the walls still intact. Very well maintained and definitely worth seeing. Cerco means "surround" or "fence in".

What a nice cerco
What a nice cerco

In the tower of the church in the cerco, watching the campañeros
In the tower of the church in the cerco, watching the campañeros

Ujué

Home of the national monument, Santa María de Ujué, and the first place in Navarra that I ever tried migas.

Eating migas and staying warm (it's snowing outside)
Eating migas and staying warm (it's snowing outside)

Inside Santa María de Ujué
Inside Santa María de Ujué

Emilito and I climbing the city walls
Emilito and I climbing the city walls

San Miguel de Aralar

In the mountains of northwest Navarra lies a small church, where legend holds that the chains of the first king of Navarra are kept.

Inside the church
Inside the church

At this point, do you expecting anything less of me?
At this point, do you expecting anything less of me?

There is still so much more in Navarra that I haven't seen and that merits me going and doing a handstand there. I am grateful to have come to such a nice and nature-oriented place like Navarra. Before I arrived here, I was not very outdoorsy, and I'm still not, but as I opened myself up to new experiences, I haven't been disappointed. Thank you, Navarra.
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Location: Navarre, Spain

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