The Aralar mountain range covers a large area (208 square kilometres) between Navarre and Gipuzkoa. It is a large karstic massif with a varied landscape of rock grooves, hidden valleys, caves and chasms and another, more serene scenery, of evergreen meadows and multi-coloured beech woods.
The Aralar range can be reached from the north from Lekunberri, Iribas orr Astitz and from the south from Uharte-Arakil, a town that is well-known for itsArtzai Eguna (sheepdog trials day). This area of the Navarre Pyrenees provides unforgettable sights all year round and a wide range of activities to enjoy.
There are of different degrees of difficult, gentle ascents to natural viewpoints such as the Sanctuary of San Miguel, sources of rivers that flow hidden inside the mountain range such as the Iribas, dolmens as witnesses of ancient times, caves that take you inside the Aralar range like Mendukilo in Astitz and legends like the one about Teodosio Goñi... Basically, a series of marvels that help to enhance the magic of this Pyrenean landscape.
It is the old railway station of the Plazaola line, which linked Pamplona and Donostia-San Sebastian. Once restored, it was opened in 1998 and is now the office of the Plazaola Tourism Consortium and Tourism Office of Lekunberri.
There are two projections, one on the tourism resources of the area and another on rural sports. There are also some panels explaining the history of the railway line.
Other services on offer In the Plazaola Station are: Tourism Information Office, a shop selling handicraft products and merchandising, and "The carriage of games" for children.
Some scientists say that the subsoil contains the 'sixth continent', an unknown and mysterious land. In Navarre, some of the caves have been specially fitted out to offer visitors the opportunity to penetrate these unfathomable worlds.
In the Larraun valley, in the municipality of Astitz, a few minutes from Lekunberri, you will find the cave of Mendukilo, which reveals the depths of the Aralar mountain range. Its secrets, reserved for speleologists for years, are now open to the general public thanks to the work done to make it accessible.
The route guides the visitor across a floating walkway takes you to the hidden heart of Aralar. Used for centuries as a stable, nowadays three of the galleries of the cave of Mendukilo have been refurbished to receive tourist visits thanks to dynamic lighting and a multimedia system.
Through the use of climbing techniques, the 'espeleoaventura' programme, allows you to discover the Sala del Guerrero (warrior's chamber), the biggest and the most mysterious, although this adventure is only reserved to fearless visitors!
Millions of years ago, the relief of a great plateau known as Zunbeltz or Lizarraga changed for ever. A gigantic tectonic slip occurred that led to the opening of a wide passage between the mountain ranges of Urbasa and Andía. On the crest between Atlantic Navarre and the Mediterranean watershed, both make up an extensive Natural Park in the west of the region.
Meadows and leady beech woods alternate in this protected space with an idyllic landscape. Its southern edge falls brusquely onto the Valley of the Améscoas, forming an impressive natural viewpoint over the cirque around the source of the river Urederra.
The Information Centres contain information on this Natural Park, its leisure areas, information points, flora and fauna and signposted paths, which will take you through the beauty of woods and rock outcrops. The landscape is dotted with memories of the lifestyles over the centuries of hunters, shephers, woodcutters and charcoal burners. The megalithic station of the Urbasa range is not signposted, so access to it is difficult.
The burbling of crystalline water, the light filtering among the leaves of the trees, bathing the landscape in a lime green light and the aroma of nature has made this place, listed as a nature reserve since 1987, one of Navarre's most spectacular enclaves.
The Source of the Urederra is located north of Estella-Lizarra. It is the natural outlet of the aquifer lying under the karstic massif of Urbasa. Its first emergence takes place at an altitude of 700 metres, on the southern edge of the plateau, with an impressive 100 metre fall that, over millions of years, has modelled a rocky amphitheatre of breathtaking beauty.