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The Baztán Valley

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  • View of Almándoz © Turespaña

    View of Almándoz © Turespaña

  • View of Arraioz © Turespaña

    View of Arraioz © Turespaña

  • Garzaín Landscape © Turespaña

    Garzaín Landscape © Turespaña

  • Landscape in Oronoz © Turespaña

    Landscape in Oronoz © Turespaña

  

Valleys steeped in nobility and tranquillity

In the far north of Navarre, you'll find a landscape of pastures and evergreen forests in the historic valley of Baztán. This is the cradle of various noble lineages, as you'll see from the numerous mansions and stately homes scattered throughout the area. It is also a land of small villages and farmsteads where peace and tranquillity reign supreme.
 

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We begin our route in the town of Bera, famous for being the home of the Baroja family since 1912, when the writer Pío Baroja acquired the farmstead of Itziar. At this point we can opt to take the Bidasoa green route, an old railway line which has been adapted for use either on foot or by bike, and which will take us to Doneztebe/Santesteban, located halfway through our itinerary.


We then visit the towns of Lesaka, whose monuments include the Minyurinea tower and the Zabaleta palace, Etxalar, Sunbilla and Doneztebe/Santesteban. From here, a short detour will take us to the town of Donamaria, where the sights worth visiting include the 15th-century Jauregia house-tower. The whole itinerary takes place against the backdrop of the Bidasoa river.


The next stop is Bertizarana, one of the gateways to the Señorío de Bertiz nature reserve. Its extensive beech and oak forests can be explored along a network of hiking routes. It is also home to a garden with exotic species and a Nature Centre with an excellent recreation area.


From this point on, we cross into the district of Baztan, which also includes several smaller towns and villages whose streets are lined with numerous fine examples of noble homes and mansions, some dating from medieval times. These include the Gothic towers of Jaureguizarrea and Zubiria from the 14th and 15th centuries, located in the town of Arraioz.


A little further on we come to Elizondo, the most important town in the valley. During the visit we'll see monuments such as the Baroque palace of Arizkunenea, the palace of Datue, the town hall building and the houses of Arozarena, Istekonea and Virrey, many of which were built in the 18th century. The Jorge Oteiza Ethnographic Museum is another of the cultural options on offer. Very nearby, the town of Arizkun is also home to the Xabier Santotxena open-air museum.


We continue our route, and after passing through the Otsondo pass, we reach the two last stops on our itinerary: the towns of Urdazubi/Urdax and Zugarramurdi, , each with their own cave systems. The Urdax caves are worth visiting for their interesting geological and natural features. The caves of Zugarramurdi, meanwhile, are steeped in a mysterious aura of legend, as tradition has it that they were once the site of witches' covens. If you're interested in this kind of thing, don't miss a visit to the Witches Museum.


This itinerary can be done all year round, and is ideal for families with children, as well as for anyone seeking a quiet place with a wide range of natural attractions.

 

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Green routes

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