3 Tourist Routes in the City of Estella
By Gabriela Noguez |
Follow these three routes to discover the most beautiful attractions of the city of Estella in Navarra, a Spanish city full of Medieval charm.
Where is Estella?
In the north of Spain, only an hour away from Pamplona,the small city of Estella is waiting for you with open arms. It is a place that welcomes anyone who wants to discover a city that looks straight out of a fairytale. In this article we’ll tell you everything you can’t miss if you visit this small but fascinating city of Navarra.
Tourism in the City of Estella in Navarra
Without doubt, Estella is a very charming destination. With every step, it reminds you that traveling in time is possible. Estella was born during the Middle Ages, and since the beginning it became part of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Crossed by the Ega River, Estella is covered with beautiful buildings and squares that invite you to spend an unforgettable day. For this reason, we want to propose you 3 tourist routes to discover this beautiful city of Navarra.
Route #1 Squares in Estella
Plaza de los Fueros (Fueros Square) is Estella’s star meeting point. Every Thursday, it is covered with countless produce stalls, attracting dozens of locals and travelers. Only a few streets away from Plaza de los Fueros, a seven-minute walk away along Puy Street, you’ll find the neighborhood of San Pedro de la Rua. There, you can visit San Martin Square, which is popular for its sixteenth-century fountain known as the Chorros Fountain. Only a few steps away, you’ll find the marvelous church of San Pedro de la Rua, a seventeenth–century construction whose cloister is a great example of Romanesque architecture in the region. Right in front of it, you can find the Palacio de los Reyes de Navarra (Palace of the Kings of Navarra). Known nowadays as Gustavo de Maeztu Museum, this is the only example of Romanesque civilian architecture in the region.
Only eight minutes away from there, walking along Curtidores Street, you’ll find the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, whose construction began in the twelfth century and ended in the fourteenth century. On the façade, you’ll find a beautiful representation of the Passion of Christ.
Route #2 Estella on the Road to Santiago de Compostela
As we said in a previous article, the Road to Santiago is a pilgrimage route that leads to the city of Santiago de Compostela, whose cathedral houses the relics of the apostle Santiago. The road was created during the Middle Ages, when pilgrims visited the sanctuary to honor this apostle. Nowadays, there are several different routes that pilgrims can choose from. They are listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.
The beautiful city of Estella is part of the French road which starts at St. Jean Pied de Port. It runs across regions such as Roncesvalles, Logroño and Burgos. Pilgrims arriving at Estella come from Villatuerta. From there, they head to the streets of Curtidora, Rúa, San Nicolás and Camino de Logroño before heading to the next stop in Ayegui.
The main activities along this route include visiting the vineyards of La Rioja, and photographing the mountain landscapes of León. In Estella, you can also walk one of the few parts of Roman road that remain intact.
Route #3: Estella and the Jewish Quarter of Spain
Apart from the Squares Route and the French Route to Santiago de Compostela, DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, recommends you a third route along the Jewish Quarter of Elgacena.
Estella housed the third most important Jewish quarter in the Kingdom of Navarra: the Elgacena Jewish Quarter. It was located along the Ega River and was abandoned in the early twelfth century. Afterwards, the Jewish community moved near the Castle of Belmecher, so it ended up as a walled quarter on the east, south and west ends. The convent of Santo Domingo was located north of the quarter.
Nowadays, the most emblematic attractions of the Jewish Quarter of Estella-Lizarra are the church of Santa María Jus del Castillo (a former synagogue), the convent of St. Domingo, the church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Wall of the new Jewish Quarter.
Medieval Week in Estella
Every July, Estella is transformed into a medieval city. Banners and torches decorate the streets, and people in knight costumes enjoy the celebrations of the Medieval Week in Estella.
In this festival the city hosts several activities, including theater performances and medieval music concerts. The celebration begins with a proclamation by the kings of Navarra. Then, actors perform representations of witch burnings, dragon hunts, and the Templars’ oath. The festival also hosts a medieval dinner to which people can attend with medieval character costumes. If you want to know more about this event or more, click here.
What to Eat and Drink in Estella?
Gorrin asado is Navarra’s most popular dish. It’s similar to the traditional grilled piglet of Segovia. In winter, calbotes are the perfect choice. This dish is prepared with red beans and bacon. In summer it is prepared with overripe beans. In spring, don’t miss the chance to try fresh regional asparagus or a vegetable soup. You should also try pimientos del piquillo (red peppers) filled with meat or fish. Bacalao ajoarriero (cod) is also a delicious dish you can enjoy any season.
Pair your meal with a bottle of the best Spanish wine. In Estella and Navarra you must also try the Pacharan. It’s a typical beverage elaborated with anise and cranberries. Given its digestive properties, you can drink it after your meal.