The third major land block of the first part of our Iberian coast to coast route are the Navarre Pyrenees, a region where we will cross two regions of Spanish administration and one of French administration. I include the little section about the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (CAV or Euskadi) in this block, since there are no different orographic, cultural, or climatic aspects, and the Basque administrative part of the Transpyrenean route is so small that it is not worth describing separately.
The Pyrenees in Navarre are pretty damp, and for mountain bikers, they have short mountain passes and steep slopes, full of trails that are not very suitable for cycling in the westernmost part, which become smoother as we get nearer Hondarribia.
Navarre and Euskadi are places with unique architecture buildings, with little stone houses with slate roofs that are easily recognized when you enter Navarre.
Stages, climate, and vegetation
Roncal, Erronkariko ibaxa in Roncal Basque, is the first valley we find when we get here from Aragon, and the contrast is huge since Roncal is a very picturesque place, the weather is not very damp, similar to Aragon, with typical high mountain landscapes shaped by the river Esca, and with a Sub-Alpine climate. We will find groups of beeches, oaks, and chestnuts. In our route, Izaba is the biggest town we will see when we cross the region, and there are many different lodges, but no campsites.
Salazar, Zaraitzu ibarra in Basque, is the next valley, and it also has a spectacular landscape, although it is not as damp as compared to the next region. Special attention must be paid to the Irati rainforest, the biggest forest in Navarre, and a protected area of Beech-Fir woods, which we will cross from north to south in our route. In the stage proposed for the day when the route passes by Irati, the night is spent in Orreaga (in Basque) / Roncesvalles (in English and Spanish), the beginning of the French Way of Saint James.
Just before arriving in Roncesvalles/Orreaga, the route becomes damper and this weather continues when we cross the valley of Cinco Villas, Bortziriak in Basque, and also as we go down to the Basque Country, now with a smoother orography.
Our Transpyrenean route is part of an extended route that goes on to Donostia, one of the most emblematic Basque towns, a place which is the end of the Transpyr, an annual commercial mountain bike race that traverses the Pyrenees following competitive criteria, far away from our cycle tourism, coast to coast route along the Iberian Peninsula.
List of stages of the route by the Navarrese Pyrenees