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Navarra Foodie Guide

(What To Eat, Regional Produce, Wines, Recipes, And Travel Tips.)

Written By: Byron | October 16, 2023
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The Navarra region is defined by a rugged yet picturesque landscape, with the Pyrenees mountains bordering France to the east, and fertile zones along the Ebro river which is considered a lifeline to the many farms along its banks. 

The population of Navarra is around 650,000 people, with the majority of the population living in the capital city of Pamplona. The region is home to a diverse range of people, with a mix of Spanish, Basque, and French cultures, which is evident in many of the dishes from Navarra. 

This Navarra foodie guide will explore the most popular dishes from this region in the north of Spain, plus look at famous produce from the region, drinks, desserts, and wines. We’ll also cover how to get to the Navarra region, and what is not to be missed once you are there! 

Navarra regional map

Geography and Landscape

Navarra is located in northern Spain between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Ebro River, making it a diverse and beautiful region with plenty to offer everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to foodies. 

The Pyrenees mountain range runs along Navarra’s northern border with France, offering spectacular views and a range of outdoor activities. The region is also home to Bardenas Reales, a desert-like area characterized by its rugged and barren landscape. This natural park is a popular destination for hiking, cycling, and nature watching.

Navarra is also known for its picturesque medieval towns and cities, such as Pamplona (the capital of the region and a major stop along the Camino de Santiago), Estella, and Olite. These towns are home to lots of historic buildings and monuments, such as the Palacio Real de Olite, a 15th-century Gothic castle.

Tapas and Pintxos in the Navarra Region

The tradition of tapas (or ‘pincho/pintxo’ as it is most commonly referred) in Navarra is not just about food; it’s a way of life, a celebration of local ingredients, and a testament to the joy of sharing good food with loved ones. 

Navarra’s tapas & pintxos culture offers a unique way to experience the region’s culinary heritage and connect with its people. Whether you’re a food enthusiast or a traveler seeking authentic cultural experiences, the tapas and pinchos culture of Navarra is a true reflection of the region’s soul. 

Tapas and Pintxos: What’s the difference? 

A ‘pintxo’ is a portion of food that is served (sometimes) with a cocktail stick as a small aperitif (“pincho” literally translates to “spike” in English). You will see a colorful display of pintxo on the countertops of many bars and restaurants. Pintxos usually cost a Euro or two and very in ingredients from one venue to the next. 

 A tapa is typically a smaller sized portion of a main dish and you’ll find this traditional type of dish served all over Spain. In some regions of Spain, a tapa will often be served alongside an alcoholic drink such as beer or wine and is often free, while some other cities offer tapas, although for a small fee.

Mushroom skewers are served on a bar counter

Navarre Pintxo week (Semana de Pintxo)

The spring doesn’t only bring flowers. With it also comes Navarre Pintxo Week, a gastronomic event in which for 10 days numerous bars and restaurants from the entire region compete to make the best haute cuisine pintxo. 

If you’re passionate about gastronomy, finger food and a good atmosphere, this is for you. This special week is held in various Navarrese towns and villages although nowhere more than in the capital, Pamplona. The event usually occurs around the middle of March each year (check the official website for more details). 

some arroz con leche sits in an earthenware dish with some ground cinnamon sprinkled on top

How to Get to The Region of Navarra 

Convinced you should visit this stunning region of Spain? We’re excited to guide you on how to reach this gem of Spain with ease. From convenient flights to scenic rail journeys and flexible road trips, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few travel options for getting around the Navarra region of Spain. 

By Air: Flying to Pamplona

The quickest way to reach Navarra is by flying to Pamplona Airport where connecting flights to smaller regional airports are available. 

By Train: Scenic Rail Journeys

If you prefer a leisurely journey, consider traveling by train to Navarra. Spain’s Renfe network offers extensive connections, and you can enjoy scenic routes that showcase the beauty of Spanish landscapes. 

  • Madrid to Pamplona takes between 3-4 hours by train. 
  • Barcelona to Pamplona takes between 4-6 hours by train. 
  • Bilbao to Pamplona takes around 4 hours (with one change)

By Car: Flexible Road Trips

For the ultimate flexibility and the chance to explore at your own pace, consider a road trip to Navarra. Road conditions are good in most parts of the region, although it is always best to check with local authorities during the winter months as snow is common in the mountains. 

Rental cars are available in all major towns and cities in the the Navarra region, as well as at Pamplona airport.

Learn the secrets of the Mediterranean Diet –

It’s no secret that the Mediterranean diet is healthy. It has been proven in numerous studies from all corners of the world, it aids weight loss, reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as a growing list of other health benefits.

Find out what’s most exciting about the diet and create some incredibly tasty and simple Spanish recipes. 

Looking for more travel inspiration?

Check out our other Regional foodie guides from all over Spain!

The Basque Country

Straddling part of the border between France and Spain, the Basque Country (País Vasco) has an incredibly diverse landscape that extends far beyond the renowned foodie capitals of larger cities such as San Sebastian and Bilbao. While the region is small, it has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world per capita.

Galicia

Exploring the far northern Galicia region by food is like opening a foodie treasure trove. With a rugged coastline that divides two seas, undulating hills, and large fertile plains that benefit from the highest annual rainfall in Spain. Galicia is blessed with exceptional quality fresh produce, seafood, meat, and dairy products at every turn.

Galician cuisine is perhaps most famous for the stunning dessert, the Tarta de Santiago, but visitors to the region should take time to explore the many delicacies and dishes that are made in the region. 

Madrid

They say that all roads lead to Madrid and a small stone slab lies discretely within Madrid’s Sol Plaza celebrating the geographic kilometer ZERO of Spain. But, it’s just a short stroll in any direction where you’ll find the rich aromas of authentic Spanish food wafting from the alleyways and narrow cobbled streets that are lined with Madrid’s famous tapas bars and prestigious restaurants. 

Madrid is not only the geographic center of Spain but also the renowned melting pot where Spain’s culinary cultures merge. This is no more evident than in the enormous range of Spanish and international cuisine on offer throughout the capital, and with nearly 10,000 restaurants within the Madrid region, you’re spoilt for choice! 

The Valencia Region

With its white-sand beaches and turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea, the Valencia region harbors some of the best cuisine and fresh produce in Spain. Orange groves are dotted all the way up and down the region, and the rich fertile soil makes for ideal vineyards, producing excellent wines. It’s also one of only two UNESCO-listed locations for gastronomy and is home to many of Spain’s most renowned restaurants.

Catalonia / Cataluña

The Catalonia region is perhaps best known for its thriving capital, Barcelona, but a close second when you mention Catalonia is the food. The region offers a wealth of authentic Spanish cuisine that has resonated all around the world. 

With its borders spanning from the Mediterranean Sea in the east, to the stunning rugged grazing plains of Aragón, to the picturesque mountainous zones of the Pyrenees mountain ranges, the Catalonia region has it all!

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