Several Spains intersect in Navarra (Nafarroa in Basque). The soft greens and bracing climate of the Navarran Pyrenees lie like a cool compress across the sun-struck brow of the south, which is all stark plains, cereal crops and vineyards, sliced by high sierras with cockscombs of raw limestone. Navarra is also pilgrim territory: for centuries the faithful have used the pass at Roncesvalles to cross from France on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
Navarra was historically the heartland of the Basques, but dynastic struggles and trimming due to reactionary politics, including Francoism, have left it a semi-autonomous province, with the north being Basque by nature and the south leaning towards Castilian Spain.
The Navarran capital, Pamplona, tends to grab the headlines with its world-famous running of the bulls, but the region’s real charm is in its spectacularly diverse landscapes and its picturesque small towns and villages.