Distance: 224 km
Date prepared: 2003-11-09
Date updated: 2013-12-01
This is a mountain route over the north-eastern quarter of Navarre, with beech woods, pine woods and high pasture lands. On the last leg we will see the gorges and defiles of the pyrenean tributaries that run to the Ebro river.
224 km. (16 sections)
Motorways and highways: 15 km
Local / Secondary: 209 km
PAMPLONA - PA-30 (0.928 km)
Set off from the Villava petrol station with a full tank and with your partial odometer on zero.
Touching the petrol station there’s a yellow milestone indicating the NA-2517 road. This stretch is so short there isn’t another milestone. After a curve to the left, you’ll enter a roundabout which is also the end of this leg.
PA-30 - NA-150 (3.172 km)
We take an ascending road with a slow lane on the right and, once at the top of the hill, we go down towards a shopping centre where we go into a roundabout, taking the exit for Aoiz onto the NA-150 road.
NA-150 - NA-1720 (18 km)
The NA-150 has less traffic on it the further from Pamplona we get, so we can warm up the engine and step on it a bit more on a good wide road with few curves, which will slowly become narrower.
At the weekend, especially Sunday afternoon, you may encounter a lot more traffic on this road.
NA-1720 - NA-140 (30.2 km)
3km ahead we’ll come to Aoiz, a good town to stretch our legs at. A roundabout will lead us onto the NA-1720. There’s great, new tarmac for the first 12km, replacing the old road that was submerged under the Itoiz water reserve.
Parallel to our road runs the old NA-2355, which is gorgeous in autumn due to the changing colours of the foliage around it.
We will pass the small town of Uriz, where a stop can be made to look at the stone towers the village is famous for.
We continue on a narrow, bendy road with good grip that follow the Urrobi river until we reach the campsite that bears the same name.
NA-140 - Ezcaroz (30.4 km)
At the campsite we join the N-135 road for a short distance, and 600m ahead we turn right onto the N-140 towards Garralda, on which road we will stay for 32km. This stretch runs through some of the most beautiful villages of the Navarrese Pyrenees: Garralda, Aribe, Garaioa, Abaurrea Alta, Jaurrieta and last but not least Ezkaroz.
Now we have some long straight stretches of road lined with fields where we can see pyrenean cattle grazing happily. To get to the Aezcoa valley we will go through a short pass. From some of the curves on the descent we will be able to make out the Irati river down below us.
Once in Aribe we will drive past a stone bridge, to start climbing again on another bendy road, this time heading towards Abaurrea Alta, the highest village in Navarre.
Once past this village we will drive on a flat road through open country flanked by mountains of beautiful colour, particularly in Autumn.
Once out of the Aezcoa valley we will enter into the Salazar valley as we go up another mountain pass to the Remendia high point, 1.040m above sea level, and the highest point on this route. Driving down we will drive through Jaurrieta and arrive at Ezkaroz, the end of this leg. Hope we have all enjoyed the tight curves, some of which were of 180 degrees!
Ezcaroz - Güesa (10.5 km)
On the crossroads at Ezkaroz we take a right turn onto the NA-178 heading towards Navascues and Lumbier.
The layout of this road allows us to step on it again as it is a lovely wide road with good tarmac, open curves and good visibility on the most part. It runs between mountains and allows us to admire towns such as Oronoz and Esparza, both typical navarrese mountain towns.
After milepoint 35 we will reach Güesa. Pay attention as we need to take a turnoff onto the NA-2130 right at the centre of the town, beside the church, which indicates the towns of Igal Vidángoz and Burgui, all of which we will visit on the next leg of the route.
Güesa - Burgui (18.8 km)
Here starts a narrow stretch of road, well surfaced, flanked on the most part by small woods.
We will drive through Igal and enter the Roncal valley. We will have to drop the speed as the next stretch is on a narrow road with plenty curves all the way to Vidangoz, and we need time to take in the stunning scenery.
We will not go into Vidangoz but bypass it on the right, at which point we start the descent by zigzagging for 8.5km following the Binies river. This leads us to a T-junction just before the town of Burgui, where we take the heading for Burgui on the right, onto the NA-137.
Burgui - Navascues (15 km)
We will stay on the NA-137 for 200m, where we come up to a crossroads. Going straight on would take us to Burgui, while turning right, which is what we will do, will take us to Navascues and Lumbier on the NA-214. However, if anyone feels like a little detour into Burgui to sample their Roncal cheese and see the sights, the NA-214 will still be there later.
After the crossroads we will drive uphill for 7km, ascending a total of 300m, to a height of 1000m, on a wide road with impeccable tarmac and zigzagging curves and bends, some of 180 degrees.
On this stretch we will find the Las Coronas high point, which marks the border between the Roncal valley and the Almiradio of Navascues, where there stands a stone viewpoint from which the tops of the Pyrenees can be admired.
The way down is much straighter on a road of the same quality as previously, all the way to Navascues.
Navascues - NA-2200 (8 km)
Once through Navascues we will re-join the NA-178, which we have already been on before. We will drive for 8km on a slight hill past milepoint 10, where we reach the crossroads to Bigüezan and Castillonuevo, on the NA-2200. BEWARE: The turn-off is on the left of a two-way road, so we must cross the incoming lane.
Hidden after the crossroads there is a nice stone bridge spanning across the Salazar river, the river which has been on our right these last few kilometres.
This stretch goes uphill onto Bigüezal across a lush mountain landscape, beautiful in Autumn.
NA-2200 - CV-917 (15 km)
Once through Bigüezal we start driving downhill onto a more open, less lush countryside. The woods make a comeback further on in the shape of pinewoods all the way to Castillo Nuevo.
CV-917 - Salvatierra de Esca (4 km)
We drive into the Zaragoza province, where the road gets narrower and of worse quality, and after 4km we will come up to a t-junction with the A-137 where we turn right. On the left there’s the town of Salvatierra de Esca.
Salvatierra de Esca - N-240 (7 km)
This leg is all in the province of Zaragoza, but on a much better, level road with good grip, following the river Esca that will accompany us all this leg. This means we will find a considerable number of zigzagging curves until we reach Sigües, a town we will drive straight through. 3km after this town we will come to another T-junction beside a petrol station that touches the Yesa water reserve, where this leg ends.
N-240 - NA-2420 (13 km)
This 13km leg runs along the water reserve, so has plenty curves, some tight, on good tarmac. About halfway through this stretch, between the 335 and 336 milepoints, we will drive past Tiermas, a submerged town with thermal baths which re-appears when the water level goes down. You can access this derelict town, abandoned when the reserve was built, down a forest trail on the side of the road.
This leg ends upon entering Navarra, where the road changes name to become the NA-2420.
NA-2420 - A-21 (42 km)
We will drive through the village of Yesa, after which the road widens.
Here, we have two options: If tired, the A-21 dual carriageway will take us to Pamplona in under 30 minutes. Or, if we stay on the current road, it will take a bit longer but the drive is less monotonous. We will continue with the explanations for this route.
On the other side of Yesa and opposite an abandoned petrol station there runs a road off to the right which leads to the Leyre Monastery, one of the most important historical sites of Navarra, and of great interest. If there’s time, here’s the chance for a good break.
Following the NA-2420 we will reach Liedena, where we can top up on petrol and have a bite to eat at the roadside restaurant.
Once past this town, this leg of the route runs past the arqueological remains on an old Roman village, from which the gorge of Lumbier or “Foz de Lumbier” can be seen. This stunning gorge is well worth a visit, and can be accessed from the town which bears the same name.
(To get to this town there’s a well-indicated turnoff on the right which leads to the NA-150.)
We keep on driving on the NA-2420 towards Pamplona on a nice, wide, well-kept road with straight stretches of up to 8 kilometres near the town of Monreal.
A-21 - AP-15 (4 km)
After Monreal, 20km off Pamplona, we will join the A-21 towards Noain, a straight dual-carriageway on which it won’t take even 10 minutes to reach Pamplona, our final destination. Staying inside the speed limits, as always.
AP-15 - PAMPLONA (4 km)
On passing Noain the A-21 joins the AP-15 and, after a straight stretch of 2.5km, we are in the capital of Navarre, Pamplona.