Navarre and Oviedo, Spain
the underrated holiday region between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic
The Spanish province of Navarre covers an area of around 10,000 square kilometers, on which about 700,000 people live. It borders the Basque Country to the west and France to the north. Navarre stretches from the western Pyrenees to the upper Ebro Valley. The landscape is characterized by a varied diversity. Due to the proximity of the coast in the northern part of Navarre, the vegetation here is relatively lush. The south is dominated by the flat and dry alluvial land of Ribera. Most of the cities on the famous Way of St. James have retained their architectural heritage from the Middle Ages. The most famous city in Navarre is probably Pamplona, notorious for the annual bull hunting – the Fiestas de San Fermin – which takes place there in July.
Pamplona has more to offer
During San Fermin, which takes place from July 6th to 14th, Pamplona is overrun with tourists. Those who prefer it a little more contemplative should pay a visit to the capital of Navarre at a different time of the year. The picturesque old town is characterized by quaint pubs that are located on winding streets. Another tourist attraction in Pamplona is the Catedral Metropolitana. One of the side aisles of the church is one of the most beautiful in Spain. Also worth seeing is the town hall, the Casa Consistorial, whose magnificent facade dates from the 18th century.
The Camino de Santiago made Navarre rich and famous
Navarre is particularly famous for the pilgrimage route to St. James. Two of its main routes join in the province, around 25 kilometers southwest of Pamplona in the pilgrimage town of Puente la Reina. Its landmark is a bridge that dates back to the 11th century. The destination of all pilgrims who pass here on their hike is Santiago de Compostela. Thanks to the pilgrimage route, the town of Estella also became the most important settlement between Logroño and Pamplona. The tourist attraction of the place is the Palacio de los Reyes de Navarra, the royal palace that dates back to the 12th century. Another outstanding attraction of Estella is the Church of San Miguel Arcángel. The north portal is decorated with figures from the Romanesque period.
Alcazar of Segovia
A magical castle that inspired Walt Disney
The Alcázar of Segovia, literally translated as “Segovia Fortress” is a castle in the city of Segovia. The magnificent castle rises on a rocky cliff above the confluence of two rivers near the Guadarrama Mountains. Due to its shape – like the bow of a ship – it is one of the most distinctive castles in Spain and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The massive castle was originally built as a fortress, but has since served as a royal palace, state prison, Royal Artillery College, and military academy. It is currently used as a museum and military archive building.
It is known that this palace inspired the famous Disney Cinderella Castle. The building was originally built as a fortress but was converted into a royal palace, then a prison, and later a military academy. Alfonso VIII made this place his main residence. Isabella I was crowned Queen of Castile and León in 1474 when it became known that her husband, King Henry IV, had died in Madrid.
The architecture and art inside is amazing. The Moorish influence is visible everywhere and makes the style very reminiscent of the Alhambra. Visitors can walk through the throne room, where the king and queen sat, and enter the hall of Ajimeces, which houses art.
Historical city in Asturias
According to topschoolsintheusa, Oviedo is without question one of the most interesting travel destinations in northern Spain. The city looks back on a long history. In the 9th and 10th centuries it was the residence of what was then the Kingdom of Asturias. The old town is particularly worth seeing when traveling to Oviedo. It can be easily explored on foot, as it is completely car-free as a pedestrian zone.
San Salvador Cathedral of Oviedo with a large collection of relics
Among other things, a visit to the Cathedral of San Salvador in Oviedo is recommended. The structure was built between the 14th and 16th centuries in a predominantly Gothic style. Due to the long construction period, it also has other styles such as Renaissance or Baroque. Inside the Oviedo Cathedral there is a crypt with tombs of various Asturian kings. Archaeological exhibits can also be viewed in the cathedral. It also houses the “Camara Santa”, which has one of the largest collections of relics in Spain.
Additional tips for study trips to Oviedo
If you are staying in Oviedo, you should also go to the Church of San Tirso. The sacred structure was built in the 9th century. It is a very nice example of a pre-Romanesque church, although only the east facade can still be visited as the original part of the church, as the rest of the church was destroyed by fire in the 16th century. In addition, there are exciting museums located in Oviedo, for example for fine arts in the former Velarde Palace or the Museum of Archeology. The latter facility is located in the San Vicente Monastery and presents an informative insight into the history of art in Asturias from the Bronze Age. The Parque de Invierno is ideal for a relaxing walk on a tour through Oviedo. This is the largest park in the city. In the extensive park there is another attraction in the form of a replica of a historic farmhouse from Asturias. In Oviedo you can also try culinary specialties such as the “fabada”, a hearty and tasty stew made from white beans and various types of sausage.