Distance: 195 km
Date prepared: 2005-06-23
Date updated: 2013-10-13
This route rides on the border between the two Navarres, from the ondulation green hills of the Baztan valley to the heights of the central Pyrenees of Navarre, with a little step-over into France, to St Etienne de Baigorri.
195 km. (15 sections)
Motorways and highways: 0 km
Local / Secondary: 195 km
PAMPLONA - N-121 A (2.1 km)
We turn the odometer to partial zero at the Villava petrol station and, with a full tank, we take the Avenida de Pamplona towards the Ezcaba tunnels.
After a short stretch and two roundabouts, we enter the tunnels, where the speed limit is of 80 km/h, and exit the tunnels onto the N-121A.
N-121 A - NA-1210 (21.5 km)
The N-121A is a wide, well-kept national road with long straight stretches and open bends which let us and our bikes warm up nicely.
We leave the Ultzama valley on our left and proceed down a road that is flanked by woods, a sure sign that we are heading for the north of Navarre.
At mile point 27 we leave the N-121A and onto the NA-1210 in order to avoid the Velate tunnels and go up the Velate mountain pass instead.
NA-1210 - NA-2540 (14.8 km)
The Velate mountain pass is 12 kilometres long, with plenty bends surrounded by dense forest and very little traffic. And as it retains the width of a national road, it allows us to really enjoy our driving.
We go down the pass and leave behind the town of Almandoz to, at a crossroads, take the NA-2540 towards Berroeta.
NA-2540 - Irurita (9.4 km)
We drive uphill on a narrow road, leaving behind the towns of Aniz and Ziga, built in the very typical style of the Baztan valley, a valley which has some of the most stunning scenery of Navarre.
Two kilometres on we will find the Baztan viewing point, where we can stop and stretch our legs while enjoying the scenery, before we take on the zigzagging bends that will take us to the town of Irurita on the NA-2540.
Irurita - N-121-B (4.1 km)
We drive through Irurita and take the NA-8307 towards Elizondo, the capital of the valley, and a cultural and gastronomical centre. We leave on the street of Santiago towards Elbete, a small town adjoining Elizondo that we drive through until we reach a roundabout, where we join the N-121B towards Arribiltoa.
N-121-B - NA-2300 (3.9 km)
We drive on the straights of the NA-121B until we get to a crossing close to Arribiltoa, where we take a right turn towards Erratzu.
NA-2300 - Frontera con Francia (11.9 km)
There are under 12 kilometres to reach France. This leg starts with some short straight stretches. The scenery as we drive is interspersed with "caserios" and manor houses, some of which offer accomodation.
We drive through Erratzu over narrow roads and start an ascent full of curved on a road bordered by vegetation. As we get higher, we can see the valley below, surrounded by mountains and pastures.
At the top, at 690m above sea level, the Izpegi high point delimitates the border with France, and we find a bar where we can stop and admire the scenery of the French side of the pass.
Frontera con Francia - Saint Etienne de Baigorry (8 km)
On the French side, the road continues being a narrow road, but with stone railguards on the most dangerous bends, some of which are of more than 90º.
We reach the town of Saint Etienne de Baigorry, where we notice the change in the design of the houses. We drive out of the town on the D948 towards Les Alduides.
Saint Etienne de Baigorry - D-58 (15.8 km)
We start this leg on a better road than the last, wider and with not too tight zigzag curves. There is a petrol station in this area if you need a top up.
The road gets narrower as we come up to Banca, town which we leave behind on our right and drive on and trough the town of Les Aldudes. Beware, because only 1.5 km further on we come to the end of this leg, at a crossing where, just before a signpost that reads "Venta Baztan Frontiere" we have to turn right on the right onto the D-58 towards Pamplona.
D-58 - Frontera con España (6.1 km)
We drive uphill towards Navarra on a narrow, nearly deserted road, flanked by the old mile stones that mark the distance to the border. Don't get off the D-58, and you will see some reminders at small crossroads that tell you you are heading for "Pampelune-Iruñea".
We cross into Navarra 90 km ahead, through what was an old border crossing that is now nearly unrecognisable except for the typical border shopping area, where we can find a petrol station.
Frontera con España - NA-135 (26.4 km)
We are now on the Navarrese NA-138 road. We continue driving uphill until we reach the Urkiaga high point at 930 m above sea level, where we can find a track, marked by an enourmous mill stone, that leads to the hillock of Adi. This is a very well-travelled hikers' track and is frecuented by hunters during the pidgeon shooting season, so it is common to see cars parked around it at the weekend.
The area is called the Quinto Real and it is here among its beech woods that the Arga river has its source.
From here on, the descent is on a narrow, perfectly- kept road with a lot of curves, which makes it one of the favourite bikers' roads.
After driving for 17 kilometres we reach the Eugi water reserve, that provides the region of Pamplona with drinking water. At Eugi the N-138 widens into a double lane two-way road, although the surface is patched up for the remainder of the leg, until we reach the N-135. We join this road at a crossroads with a Stop sign beside a petrol station, where we turn left towards Erro.
NA-135 - NA-1720 (21 km)
We are now 20 km away from Pamplona. We continue on the N-135, a road that follows the Way of St James. We drive on a gentle uphill slope that gets steeper and with plenty bends, some of which are very tight, until we reach the Erro high point at 785 metres above sea level.
From there we start to drive downhill over 3 kilometres of bends until we reach the town of Erro, which we will drive through. After Erro the road gets better, with more open bends, as we drive towards Roncesvalles.
Soon we will drive up to the Mezkiritz high point, at 922 metres above sea level. At the foot of this mountain pass we find Espinal and, 2 kilometres on, after mile point 42, there is a crossing to the right that will take us onto the NA-1720 towards Aoiz.
Warning! The crossing is not easy to see. It is beside the Urrobi Campsite and before you reach the petrol station.
NA-1720 - NA-150 (29 km)
50 kilometres away from the end of this route, we find ourselves driving on a narrow, well-kept road with little traffic on it that runs beside the Urrobi river. Thick, tall trees flank this bendy road.
On the way we drive past some small towns such as Uriz and Zandueta. A little further on the road widens and gets better, as the old road, now submerged under the Itoiz water reserve, has been replaced by a newer one.
We drive into the Artze valley, and find the ruins of the old hermitage and palace of Santa Maria de Artze on our left. It is one of the best examples of Romanic rural architecture in Navarre.
After driving past Nagore we reach Aoiz, town which we drive into through a tunnel on the new road. This town offers many restaurants and can be a good place to take a break.
We drive through Aoiz and continue on the NA-1720 towards Pamplona. Traffic density increases on this stretch of road. We drive past Ekai de Longuida and, in Villaveta, the road turns into the NA-150.
NA-150 - PA-30 (18 km)
20 kilometres away from Pamplona we find ourselves driving on a perfect, straight road with a lot of traffic on it.
We drive past Urroz and Egues to reach Huarte, where the NA-150 ends and where we will find the usual Shopping centres of the outskirts of a big town.
PA-30 - PAMPLONA (3 km)
This is the last leg of this route, where we join the PA-30 that circles Pamplona and that passes through industrial areas and dorm towns. Feel free to drive into Pamplona wherever it suits you best.