Secrets of Aragon Walk
Walk through the fascinating and ever-changing landscapes of Spain's Aragon region on this 7-night holiday - from shaded pine forest and deep gorges to arid desert and dramatic mountain ridges. The terrain can be challenging but in this relatively undiscovered region you're sure of a truly authentic experience, with rewarding scenery at every turn.
Your base for this rousing week is the quiet, historic village of Uncastillo, in the foothills of the Aragonese Pyrenees, a once-prosperous village reflected in its striking ruined castle and 7 churches. From here you have access to a variety of incredible and contrasting walks. A scenic trail around the Foz de Lumbier Gorge, as vultures swoop and circle overhead, allows you to experience part of the world-famous pilgrimage route - the Camino de Santiago - while an other-worldly experience awaits in the 'Badlands' of Navarre, where the eerie semi-desert terrain hosts a mesmerising collection of geological formations, covering some 42,000 hectares.
To the south of Navarre, between the oppressive aridity of the Bardenas and the lush, green region of Ribera, lies Tudela, the region's second city and a delight to explore with its winding streets, watchtowers and impressive cathedral, while a walk to the region's highest point, Puy Mone, is a truly rewarding experience, offering unrivalled views across the Pre-Pyrenees to the high Pyrenees beyond.
In Uncastillo you'll be guests of Miguel and Imma, in the Posada la Pastora, a cosy, welcoming hotel which flawlessly combines rustic and refined. We've included all evening meals for you, three of which will be in the hotel restaurant (although you're welcome to eat here on your other nights too). On the remaining evenings you can sample the hospitality and local cuisine of Uncastillo's handful of other restaurants and bars (bookings can be made by your hosts upon your request).
This holiday features walks which rate between 1+ and 2 boots. There are sections where there is some exposure and a head for heights is helpful but distances have been kept easily manageable. Walking boots are essential and walking poles are recommended for some days.
Day 1 - Arrive in Uncastillo
Arrive in Uncastillo where you'll be met by your hosts, Imma and Miguel, at their small but charming hotel, the Posada la Pastora.
Day 2 - Foz de Lumbier 12km/7.5mi/3hr
After a 52km drive from Uncastillo, today’s walk takes you from the village of Lumbier up to the breathtaking Foz de Lumbier, a limestone-walled gorge created by the River Irati in the foothills of the Sierra de Leyre. The gorge has been a nature reserve since 1987 and is listed as a Special Bird Protection Area due to the large number of griffon vultures that soar above the gorge and perch on its cliffs. The reserve is rich in a variety of other wildlife too including falcons, kingfishers and otters. Join the old railway line which used to run through the gorge connecting Pamplona and Sangüesa, and you’ll pick up a short section of the world-famous UNESCO pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago, which takes you back to Lumbier along the Irati River.
Day 3 - Pena 10km/6.5mi/4hr
Walking along pine-scented, woodland footpaths today affords you wonderful views across the Peña plain as you make your way to the deserted village of Peña. Here the crumbling houses (abandoned by the last residents in the early ‘60s), along with the village’s old fortified tower, sit upon a rocky plateau with unrivalled views across the plain below. A church remains - still used on the occasional saint’s day - but otherwise the village lies eerily silent. It’s a memorable spot for a picnic, not least for the incredible views; make sure you visit the old hilltop cemetery too, which holds just one grave - that of a British airman who crashed here during WWII and was buried by respectful locals.
Day 4 - Las Bardenas Reales (Badlands) 8km/5mi/3hr
After a 54km drive from Uncastillo and for something completely different, try the surreal and other-worldly landscape of the Bardenas of Navarre. This semi-desert region eroded by water, wind and time has resulted in a collection of canyons, plateaus and curious structures, in a variety of striking shapes - perhaps the most recognisable being the Castildetierra (the castle of earth). Walk along the top of two well-placed plateaus and you'll be rewarded with phenomenal views over the alien-like landscape! We recommend heading to Tudela afterwards - the region's second largest city - where you can explore the narrow winding streets, visit the C13 cathedral and enjoy a spot of lunch in the square - try one of the local specialities - Menestra de Verduras or the local asparagus, red peppers and artichokes.
Day 5 - Free day
Today we recommend a trip to the impressive Roman site at nearby Los Bañales, followed by a visit to the famous village of Sos del Rey Catolico. Wander the old, narrow streets and stop for lunch in one of the many cafes or restaurants, visit the birthplace of King Ferdinand II and enjoy wonderful views as far as the Pyrenees from the town’s old church. If you need to kill some time during siesta, head up into the Parque Eólico for a walk along the high ridge, underneath some rather humbling wind turbines - the views across the region to the Pyrenees beyond are just incredible!
Day 6 - Pigalo and Sibirana 9km/6mi/3hr or 14km/9mi/4.5hr
Starting with a walk along the River Arba de Luesia, a 10km drive from Uncastillo, you’ll follow woodland paths into the hills, heading towards Malpaso (the bad pass). Descend along a dry river bed, and your track rises above the forest to grant superb views up to Puy Moné - the highest point of the region - and the treacherous rocky pass of Malpaso. Thankfully you’ll turn downhill before you reach it, heading instead to the beautiful natural pools at Pigalo, a secluded and picturesque swimming spot and a great place to stop for a picnic! After lunch we suggest a walk (or short drive) to the crumbling defensive towers of Sibirana, which once stood on the front line between the Spanish north and the Moorish south.
Day 7 - Puy Mone 14km/9mi/5hr
After a 13km drive from Uncastillo,it's a top-of-the-world feeling today as you make your way from Luesia up to the horseshoe-shaped ridge which runs along the top of the Luesia Valley. Follow the ridge along and as you reach the region's highest point, Puy Mone, you're rewarded with jaw-dropping views across the Pre-Pyrenees mountain range to the high Pyrenees beyond, as vultures swoop and circle overhead. As you survey the entire region, spread out before you, you'll notice the rocky back of the imposing Malpaso which you viewed from a completely different perspective earlier this week! Tear yourself away from the spectacular view and follow the fragrant, pine-tree-lined route back to the valley floor.
Day 8 - Leave Uncastillo
Where you stay
This single-centre holiday is based at the following hotel. If you'd like to extend your stay here, or upgrade your room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.
Posada la Pastora , Uncastillo (3 Star)
Situated in the heart beautiful mediaeval Uncastillo, in the little explored region north of Zaragoza is the wonderfully rustic, lavender scented Posada la Pastora. The building sits just off the village square next to one of Uncastillo’s most important churches (there are nine in total, standing testament to its one time importance) and is surrounded by history; parts of the village dating back beyond C14.
The hosts Miguel and Imma provide an informal atmosphere and perfectly blend the modern and the rustic, offering rooms that are decorated in a contemporary style but with hints of the traditional. Dinner here is cooked by the hosts in their relaxed restaurant and dishes typically reflect the region.
Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Reviewed by Mr Horne on 22/08/2016
Fantastic location with a variety of interesting and diverse walks in an unspoilt part of Spain. The hotel, hospitality and food can't be faulted and Miguel and Inma are fantastic hosts with detailed knowledge of the walks and surrounding area.
Reviewed by Mr Doublet on 15/06/2016
'This is a wonderful holiday for couples looking to visit an unspoilt region of Spain. Although the location was remote it proved great walking with varied scenery. The hotelier, Miguel was extremely helpful and provided daily information regarding the walks and places to visit in the area. Overall we would definitely recommend this holiday'
Reviewed by Mr Sherrard on 01/06/2016
The holiday was booked as it offered a wide variety of scenery and it didn't disappoint. Driving to walks in the first week of May was pleasurable as the roads were virtually empty, the landscape interesting and tourism minimal. I was pleased to have the satnav for the drive from Bilbao to Uncastillo. The wild flowers at this time of year were stunning; the Puy Mone walk being the star. The vultures and kites were seen in the Lumbier gorge and at other times. Smaller birds including larks, fly catchers and bee eaters were seen and added interest to the dramatic scenery of the Las Bardenas walk. Miguel, our hotelier, provided map printouts to compliment the Headwater route directions and advised on the walks to do each day depending upon the weather. The home produced salads and meats used in the pack lunches were delicious.
Departure dates & prices
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Self-guided walking, single centre. Managed locally by hotelier.
Saturdays from 15 Oct '16 to 14 Oct '17, for 8 days (7 nights). Non standard departures are possible on this holiday; please call for details.
All continental breakfasts and all evening meals included.
Starting your tour
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