The Navarre Region is an autonomous community in Northern Spain. It borders the La Rioja Region of Spain and Nouvelle-Aquitaine in France
. It is an area full of history and tradition and its capital city is Pamplona. The Region is very diverse in geography with craggy mountains that roll of into flowing rivers. The beautiful mountain slopes have many cattle pastures and vast forests that include hardwoods, which are important economically. The valleys produce sugar beets, cereals, and vegetables; vineyards are also important in some of the valley areas. Industrialization has increased since the 1950's as a result of hydroelectric energy and entrepreneurship.
There are plenty of things to see in the Navarre Region, from the beautiful natural landscapes to historic sights. One such sight is the Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite, which is a castle-palace in the city of Olite. Much of it was damaged by a fire in the 1800's and then restored in around 1937. It is a beautiful structure and has a lot of history and is worth a stop.
The Pamplona Cathedral is another place of interest and worth seeing. It was built in the 15th century and is a Gothic style architecture.
The Mendukilo Caves are also worth a visit if you enjoy natural sights. They are located in the municipality of Astitz, a few minutes from Lekunberri. These caves reveal the depths of the Aralar mountain range. Its secrets, reserved for speleologists for years, are now open to the general public thanks to the work done to make it accessible, and the views are spectacular.
Pamplona is the largest city in the Navarre Region by far. This one city contains almost half of the population of the entire area. This is also where most of the sights, attractions, and things to do will be found, including the San Fermin festival.
Tudela is the second largest city area in the Navarre Region. It is located in the Ebro Valley and is the capital of the agricultural region in the valley area.
Estella or Lizzara is another city in the Navarre Region. It is close to the La Rioja Region of Spain and is a part of the Way of St. James which is a popular pilgrimage in the area.
One exciting activity and fun thing to do in the Navarre Region is the annual San Fermin festival. It is one of the most famous festivals in the world and runs from the 6th-14th of July every year in Pamplona, Navarre's capital. The festival begins with the shooting of a rocket from the City Hall Balcony and the city then becomes a big party and celebration. People come dressed in white T-shirt's and red handkerchiefs. During the festival there is the famous running of the bulls where people are chased in the street by six bulls. There is also a bullfight every night of the festival, and there are several other activities to participate in and watch during this festival such as concerts, rural sport competitions, Basque dance and music, nightly firework shows, and many more.
Also worth a visit, is the Navarre Museum, which is a public museum from the Navarre government that houses archaeological and artistic collections from the Navarre region and its history. The collection of the Navarre Museum is comprised of pieces from prehistoric times and continues until the 20th century.
Food and Dining
Just as the Navarre Region varies drastically in geography, it also varies greatly with its taste in dining options. Depending upon whether you're up in a mountainous region, in a pastureland area, or down in the valley of the Navarre Region, will heavily influence the culinary options available. Another thing that influences the flavor of food in this area is its preference for using totally natural ingredients, which give an unmistakable flavor to its dishes: the taste of good food, which captivates the traveler to Navarre. The crops and market garden produce are now grown in special areas similar to those of the old Kingdom, which was very well known for its good food.
A few restaurants worth checking out include: El Refugio, Cafe Iruna, La Nuez, and Casa Otano.
Getting into the Navarre Region is not hard. There is an airport in Pamplona that connects to major cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Pamplona also has a good railway system in and out from other major cities. There is not much in railways connecting the rest of the region, but there are some public buses that go to some of the smaller cities. The best way to get around in the area, however, is by rental car since much of the area is smaller cities.