Navarre Travel Guide

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Navarre Travel Guide

Navarre Local History

The ancient land of Navarre is one of the most ancient on the peninsula, and it shares a 130km frontier with France. This province has a strong Basque tradition, and has managed to preserve its own government and identity. Romans, Christians, Muslims, and Jews have all left their stamp on Navarre, and its architecture is as diverse as its landscape.

As a border region, Navarre has seen its share of conflict, and to this day the remains of lonely castles and fortified walled towns bear witness to that. It is also a province rich in folklore. Pagan rites were blended into Christian traditions to form a mythology that lives even today in Navarre's many festivals.

Navarre Attractions

Navarre Shopping

Shopping - Visitors will find lots of Navarese handicrafts in kiosks scattered through the old city. For a particularly well-inventoried outlet, head for Echeve (Calle Mercadores 14, Tel: 94/8224-215), it sells such handcrafted items as vests, ceramics, hats, woodcarvings, and botas (wineskins), which locals use to squirt wine, with great dexterity, into their open mouths.

Las Tres 222 - (Calle Comedias 7. Tel: 94/8224-438), which sells wineskins, neckerchiefs, and wide belts known as gerrikos, favoured by weight lifters and sports enthusiasts who feel a twinge in their backs whenever they are performing heavy-duty lifting.

If you are looking for fashion or accessories, head for a boutique called Zara (Av. Carlos III 7. Tel: 94/8227-504), which is closed on a Monday, or explore the aisles of Pamplona's biggest department store, Unzu (Calle Mercaderes 3. Tel: 94/8209-100).

Navarre Parks & Gardens

The Parks along the River - In the beautiful Tejera Park, close to the most monumental part of Pamplona, there are the towers of the town-walls and the square of Plaza de Santa Maria la Real, with the baroque Archiepiscopal Palais. Following the walls, visitors arrive to Puerta de Zumalacarregui, one of the six old doors of the town, and the Park of Santo Domingo. Close to it there is the town-hall, with a baroque facade, and the Seminar of San Juan Bautista.

La Taconera - Going away from the river visitors arrive at the Taconera Park, with several monuments to famous personalities, and a neoclassical Fountain of Neptune, by Luis Paret. At the end of the park there is the 18th century church of San Lorenzo.

The Citadel - A pentagonal fortification, built in 16th century, with beautiful gardens in its interior. Today the building is used frequently for exhibitions and concerts. This spot is well worth a visit.

Navarre Restaurants and Bars

The cuisine of Navarra has an excellent reputation and is extremely varied thanks to the characteristics of its landscapes. Specialties from the mountain-ranges are several preparations of game, usually in tasty sauces, as well as salmon and trout. An original recipe is trout filled with cured ham. Pochas de Sanguesa, is a very delicious kind of beans, of high reputation, and it is the base of many typical dishes.

The region of Tierra de Estela is famous for its dishes of lamb and goat: Asados de Cordero, Cabrito and Cordero en Chilindron. Ribera has delicious vegetables, like the mild Pimientos del Piquillo (red pepper) and Asparagus, as well as an original preparation of fish in a sauce of garlic and paprika, called Ajoarriero.

Combining ideally with the dishes mentioned above are the well-known wines of the region, D.O. Navarra.

Navarre Restaurants

Beethoven I, II, y III - This premier restaurant is actually three restaurants, each standing beside one another. Each offers good food and value. They are justifiably famous for their platters of wild mushrooms, which chef Maria Angeles Fresno grows herself. Try the stuffed filet of sole, vegetable stew, or wild pheasant, and finish off with an apple tart. The interiors are air-conditioned. The wine cellars are among the finest in the area. Reservations required in summer, and main courses are 9€ - 23€. There are fixed-price menus at 12€-15€.. The restaurant is located on Santo Tomas 3-5. Tel: 94/1311-181.

Terete - This place has been a restaurant, specializing in roasts, since 1867. It is favoured by locals for its roast suckling pig. The service is discreet, and the food is savoury and succulent. The dishes are all prepared according to traditional regional recipes. When the fresh asparagus comes in, that is reason enough to dine here. The local peaches in season make the best dessert. Naturally, the finest of Rioja wines are served. Main courses are 14€ - 27€, and there is a fixed-price menu at 11€. Reservations are recommended. Terete is in the center of Haro, located on Lucrecia Arana 17. Tel: 94/1310-023.

Asador La Chata - Founded in 1821, this delightful choice exudes a sense of Old Navarre. Its tactful owners define it as an asador, which means it specializes in wood-roasted meat dishes. Lunch is an everyday event, and much patronized by workers in the local wine trade, but dinner is served only 4 evenings a week. Here visitors can enjoy the two house specialties: fresh asparagus prepared with strips of locally cured ham, and cabrito asado (roast baby goat with herbs). Meats are succulently tender. Advance reservations are essential, as this establishment can only seat 60. Main courses are 12€ - 18€. The restaurant is located on Carnicerias 3. Tel: 94/1251-296.

Casa Emilio - The restaurant serves primarily roasts, especially goat and beef. In air-conditioned comfort, visitors can also enjoy peppers stuffed with cod or baked hake. From the well-stocked wine cellar come some of the finest Rioja wines. Main courses are 12€ - 18€, and there is a menu del dia at 8€. Reservations are recommended. Casa Emilio is south of the old town, directly west of the major boulevard. Located on Vara de Rey, Republica Argentina 8. Tel: 94/1258-844.

Navarre Bars & Clubs

Bodegas Muga - Situated near the rail station, this cellar offers tours (usually in Spanish) of its wine cellars. A tour in English is offered Monday through Friday at 11am. Located at Barrio de la Estacion s/n. Tel: 94/1310-498.

The Historic Casco Antiguo - In a city famous for the way bulls run through its streets, there is something consistent about the local habit of wandering through the city's streets, particularly within this area. Two streets in particular, Calle San Nicolas and Calle de Jarauta, are lined with tascas, bars, bodegas, and pubs. Lots of them do not even have signs, so just wander and drop in and out of whichever strikes your fancy.

Marengo - This is the town's most popular club, situated in a huge enclave, which is a nightspot where a crowd in their 20s and 30s come to dance the night away to recorded music. Your dress code must pass inspection by a team of hardened doormen before you are allowed inside. Tickets to enter cost 8€, and hours are Thursday through Saturday from 11pm to 6am. Located on Avenue Bayona 2. Tel: 94/8265-542.

O'Connor's Irish Pub - At this Celtic import, pints of Guinness and recorded Irish ballads enliven the old town. Located on Paseo Sarasate s/n.

Art Deco Cafe Iruna - Dating from 1888, this spot has an outdoor terrace that is popular in summer. The winter crowd is likely to congregate around the bar, ordering combination plates and snacks in addition to drinks. The place thrives as a cafe/bar daily from 8am to 1am, but it becomes more of a restaurant during the lunch hour. Platters of hot food are served to many of the local office workers and day laborers. The menu del dia is 10€, and a full lunch, served daily from 1 to 3:30pm, costs 9€ to 12€. Beer goes for 1.50€ at the bar, slightly more at a table. Located at Plaza del Castillo 44. Tel: 94/8222-064.

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