OLITE, 42km south of Pamplona, is as gorgeous a small town as you could ever hope to stumble across, all the more unexpected a pleasure in that its larger neighbour Tafalla is quite unremarkable, and the town itself is surrounded by ugly modern developments. Its dominant feature is a former royal palace, the Palacio Real de Olite, but it also holds a couple of fine old churches, Romanesque San Pedro and Gothic Santa María.

Olite’s exuberant Fiesta del Patronales takes place from September 13 to 19, and there’s a medieval festival the second weekend in August, leading up to the saint’s day of Olite’s patron, the “Virgin of the Cholera” on August 26, which commemorates the town’s salvation from the cholera epidemic of 1885.

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