Welcome to Navarra
Beyond Pamplona, discover the wonders of this spanish region
If I were you, I would definitely head to Navarra and not necessarily for the running of the bulls in Pamplona… As a matter of fact, you don’t have to be a culture fan to visit Navarra since the former little kingdom has much more to offer. The nature lovers will enjoy taking in the scenery from forests to desert whereas the gourmets will sample the roasted lamb or the black truffle.
If I were you, I would definitely head to Navarra
The land of the foodies
Firstly, Navarra is the mecca for quality food. Both celebrated Chefs Ferran Adria and Joan Roca speak highly of the gastronomic heritage of Navarra. The gastro-botanist Rodrigo de laCalle goes as far as saying that Tudela is the culinary seventh heaven! One must take in consideration that Navarra grows vegetables and has over 6 registered designations of origin. How come that a market garden production has flourished in this region? The river Ebro that flows throughout Navarra is it that makes its soil fertile.
In addition, thanks to the Jewish, the Arabic and the Christian culture present on spot, the cultivation includes vegetables such as white asparagus, piquillo chilis, even borage or thistle … Among the mouthwatering specialties you will find the “zurrukutuna”, a broth made of vegetables and cod fish. Looking for a fabulous dinner? Why not go to the Casa Otano in Pamplona, a culinary scene since 1912? Once there, make sure you order the salmonejo, the Navarrese version of Gazpacho, a tomato based- soup with ham shavings. If you are looking for a Michelin-starred restaurant, Europa offers tasty food, try the Tocinillo del cielo- a local bacon served with …passion fruit.
Bardenas reales desert
Have you ever cycled a desert on an electric bike? If not, welcome to Bardenas Reales and I suggest you come to the place in fall or spring to fully enjoy it. The site which was home to the shooting of Game of Thrones scenes. When reaching the Castildetierra- the park emblem, you will immediately recognize the sandstone hoodoo. If the park is arid, it is partly due to his cold wind, the Cierzo. Personally, I have always been impressed by the names given to winds and the legends attached to them. The Terral comes from the interior, it blows North to South and picks up hot air while travelling inland. The Poniente, which brings cool air to South of Spain is the queen of winds for Kite surfers. Its pairing, the Levante, is a hot wind that forms dramatic clouds when reaching the Strait of Gibraltar. The Leveche- also known as Sirocco, carries sand from the Sahara.
Although arid it is, some of the altitude ranges up to 659 m above sea level. Some prefer to hike; in that case you’ll have to mull over the 3 main trails. Others will drive throughout the park on board of a CUV, but you must be aware that speed is limited to 30 km/h! Treat yourself to a luxury hotel: Aire de Bardenas near Tudela to make the most of your stay. This establishment which was awarded many architectural prizes offers some luxury accommodation… inside bubbles. This way you will contemplate the cloudless and clear sky from your bed!
Get your zen on at the Irati’s Forest. Not familiar with the Japanese concept of Shinrin-Yoku? This mediation technique which originates in Japan consists of a forest bathing. Concretely you will wander about within woods, smell the scents, listen to the bird songs and hug trees. Recent studies have shown that this practice by producing oxytocin not only reduces stress but also boosts the immune system or frees up creativity…
Get your zen on at the Irati’s Forest
In the 80s tree this relaxation was introduced to the US- there are over 60 certified centers of Shinrin-Yoku in America now. Being the second- best preserved forest after the Black Forest, Irati’s forest offers a rich plant biodiversity too: beech, pine, hazel, maple, box trees or ferns … If you have taken with you some binoculars or a decent camera, climb to the belvederes Ariztokia or Pikatua too. From there you will get a chance to glance the Berendi’s peak. Last of all, the forest is home to woodpeckers, deer, foxes, nightingales, trout, wild boars...