Medieval towns full of architectural gems and historical monuments, peaceful valleys, orchards set in beautiful landscapes, canyons barely travelled by man, ancient trails that are a pleasure to follow... Navarre offers all this and more in the three main regions it's divided into: the mountains, the central region and the Ribera. Those who follow the legendary Camino de Santiago will find they travel some of the most memorable stages of the pilgrim trail here.
The territory of Navarre is a kind of hinge between the vertiginous heights of the Pyrenean mountains and the lowlands of the southern plains. It occupies 10,421 square kilometres, a large space surrounded by the communities of Aragon, La Rioja and the Basque Country and sharing over 163 kilometres of border with France. It is divided into three ares: the mountains, the central zone or Pamplona basin, and the Ribera. The highest point of the community, at 2,434 metres, is the peak known as Mesa de los Tres Reyes.
Due to the proximity of the Cantabrian Sea and the altitude, Navarre has an Atlantic climate, although there are variations between the three zones. Temperatures vary from 6º C in the winter in the wetter areas to an average of 24º C in the summer in the Ribera.
Tudela artichokes, asparagus, piquillo peppers, cheeses, veal and wine are just some of the products that make Navarre cuisine one of the most varied and rich in Spain. Mixed vegetables is one of the most popular dishes, with asparagus, artichokes and cardoon as main ingredients. The vegetable garden also provides cogollos from Tudela - small sweet lettuces, tasty tomatoes from the Ribera, and the unmistakable Lodosa piquillo peppers. The local young beef or veal is deservedly famous for its flavour and tenderness, whether grilled, roast or stewed with vegetables. Lamb is plentiful, too, especially the shank, offal (hooves and tripe) or ribs with lechezuelas (sweetbreads), which can be found on the menu in many restaurants. Cheeses, particularly Roncal and Idiazabal, membrillo - quince paste, nuts, curds, leche frita - a deep-fried, thickened-milk dessert, and fruit (peaches, cherries from Echauri, apples, pears, figs and kiwifruit from the Baztan valley) are all excellent options for rounding off a typical meal in Navarre. And, of course there are local wines to an accompaniment, notably the famous clarets, and, finally, the most typical Navarre drink: pacharan, a type of sloe aniseed liqueur.
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