East of Pamplona, the Navarran Pyrenees bite a hundred-kilometre-wide chunk out of France. While the frontier itself is lined with jagged 2000m peaks, most of this area consists of lush green uplands rather than impenetrable mountain fastnesses. For travellers, it’s most readily explored as a driving day-trip from Pamplona, though several of the pretty and fundamentally similar villages along the way can also make appealing overnight stops. Each tends to have at least one little hotel, to cope with the steady trickle of pilgrims en route to Santiago.

Ever since the Middle Ages, the obvious route between Navarra and France has been to follow the Roncesvalles pass. As immortalized in the Song of Roland, Charlemagne was retreating this way in 778, after laying Pamplona to waste, when Basque warriors ambushed his forces and killed the noblest of his French knights, Roland himself.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Spain features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Why you should visit Palma in 2017

Why you should visit Palma in 2017

Forget package holidays: Palma is far more than just the gateway to Mallorca’s beach resorts. The Balearic capital is a dynamic city of stylish restaurants, c…

28 Feb 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month