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Aritzakun Valley in Baztan. Navarre

Navarre is at its finest in autumn

Autonomous Community of Navarre

Any time is a good time to visit Navarre, but it’s at its most glorious in the autumn The landscapes are tinged with intense shades of ochre, orange and red and the light at dusk takes on a magical hue as the time approaches to light the open fire in your chosen rural accommodation.

The true stars at this time of year are the forests. Did you know that Navarre has the second largest beech forest in Europe? The Irati Forest. Just picture the show it puts on in autumn. But that’s not all, there are other, lesser-known forests that are equally spectacular at this time of year: the Urbasa Nature Reserve, Basajaun Forest in Orreaga/Roncesvalles, Mata de Haya in Belagua, Quinto Real, Orgi in Ultzama, the Altsasu/Alsasua oak forest, the monumental oaks of Jauntsarats in Basaburua, the thousand-year-old oak trees in Etxarri Aranatz or those of the Señorío de Bertiz Nature Reserve.Another seasonal secret hiding in the forests of Navarre is its precious wild mushrooms, so appreciated in the cooking of Navarre. They are protagonists of the autumn kitchen, combined with other seasonal products, like the famous piquillo peppers from Lodosa that are also harvested around this time. And all paired with some of the best regional wines that you can sample on a tour of some of Navarre’s wineries during the wine harvest season, which happens in the autumn too!

The Enchanted Forest in Urbasa Nature Reserve, Navarre

The autumn also offers the chance to enjoy a spot cycling whatever your level. For example, you and your family could tour the areas five Greenways (Vías Verdes). Or if you are a more experienced cyclist or just want a bigger challenge, you can also venture into one of the mountain biking spaces or enjoy some stunning road excursions between some of the region’s most beautiful forests, with mountain pass challenges or routes that cover the Bardenas Reales desert, which is also very special at this time of the year.Why not set yourself the challenge of starting out on the famous Camino de Santiago. Navarre is the beginning of the Way of St James, not only in the physical sense (the most popular route starts at Orreaga/Roncesvalles), but also in the emotional sense. On the 6 to 7 days it will take you to complete the Navarre stretch of the Camino de Santiago, you will experience the sensation of what is said to be a live-changing journey. You will walk through forests, vineyards, and monumental towns and cities together with people from all over the world who will help make your journey a unique experience.

Cyclists in Burguete, Navarre

Are you ready for more? You have to visit some of the emblematic places surrounded by powerful nature, such as Roncesvalles Collegiate Church, the San Miguel de Aralar Sanctuary, the Muskilda hermitage in Otsagabia and the Monasteries of Irantzu or Leyre. You can also find castles that could star in films (and actually have done on several occasions): the Royal Palace in Olite, Javier castle and the great middle age fortress Cerco de Artajona, which will transport you back to the Middle Ages. If you prefer urban getaways, they you have to visit Pamplona, with its City Walls, Cathedral and famous festivities, which you can learn all about as you stroll around the perimeter, and then finish the day enjoying some of the tasty pintxos and great atmosphere of the terrace bars and restaurants. If rural tourism is what you are seeking, one weekend just won’t be enough: Elizondo, Amayur/Maya, Lizaso, Eugi, Auritz/Burguete, Ochagavía, Aribe, Puente La Reina, Estella, San Martín de Unx, Ujué, Gallipienzo, Viana, Roncal… and these are just to start with.

Castle-palace of Olite, Navarre

But the greatest thing of all trips is the unexpected. Lose yourself, meet new people. Listen to people’s stories about life in Navarre and their recommendations on favourite places and the small details about their towns and villages. Enjoy Navarre this autumn!

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