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1-05-2013

Things to do on a holiday with children in the valley of Roncal


You go on holiday with your children, want to escape from your daily routine and enjoy beeing in nature together.  Inhaling the fresh mountain air and resingt in the shade under a tree. Culture, history and nature bound together and not having to think ahead or plan anything. Doesn’t this sound like the perfect holiday!? That is why we have made a list  with  things to do together with your kids to enjoy your holiday in the valley of Roncal to the maximum.

 

Day of adventure in France
From the village Isaba, it is only 23 km to the border of France, so it is definitely worthy to tour a day through the Pyrenees at the French side. The amazement starts already at the pass, the Puerto de Belagua. This protected area is the most special and distinctive ecosystem of the Spanish Pyrenees. Here are many underground caves, strange rock formations in the karstic mountains and rare plants and trees. This is why Larra Belagua is famous for its unique atmosphere and wild beauty. You can make a small walk through the area, to feel and experience the natural beauty of this place. In the meantime the children can look for Néde, the only bear remaining in this part of the Spanish Pyrenees. For culture and history, the way leads you over the pass to France, to the lovely village of Saint Engrace, where the famous old church deserves your visit. This visit can be made complete with a lunch in the garden of one of the taverns. Of course also there should be a little thrill during a holiday. Therefore you drive to the cave Sala de la Verna’ and the Gorges of Kakuetta, where you will be surprised during you walk through the gorge by an impressive waterfall which emerges at 80 meters high from the cliff. Of course, the kids would like to cross the bridge in the equally famous Gorge of Holzarte. The way to return over the Puerto de Larrau is at itself an experience, with its many sharp bends in the road and its dramatic beautiful panoramas.

A day of playing and discovering
On a rainy day, it is a good idea to go to the village of Roncal and visit the interpretation center of Nature. Here, you can enjoy beautiful images and pictures of nature in the Roncal and Belagua valley together with your children. The children can discover, while playing with the interactive screens, about the ancient role of nature in the valley. When they haven’t seen Néde on their walk though the Larra Belagua, here they can learn more about him and the other bears. The route through the interpretation center can be followed in Spanish, English or French. In the same building there is also the local tourist office located for more ideas.
More information: www.cinroncal.es (only in spanish)

A day full of refreshing water and birds
At the beginning of the valley (seen from the side of Pamplona) is the beautiful Yesa lake located. Here you can swim, float and play in the refreshing water. Children can build dams while you take a dip in the cool water. For those who do not want to swim, it is possible to walk from north to south along the steep limestone cliffs of the Sierra de Leyre (it is important to use the lake as a landmark, because there are no marked routes). When everyone is fresh and dried again there are near the lake several natural and cultural attractions to visit. The gorge of Lumbier for example (20 km from the lake),  is a perfect place to take a walk with children. The trail goes through the gorge where the raptors fly directly over your head, it is very exciting. For those who have paid good attention, in the interpretation center in Roncal to the various raptors, can now call them by name and perhaps even recognize them by sound. Furthermore, near the lake is the castle of Javier, where the patron saint of Navarra, Francis Xavier, was born. Here you can follow a tour through the various rooms of the castle and there are numerous exhibitions of art from the 15th to 20th centuries and historical documents. From the monastery of Leyre you have a magnificent view over the lake Yesa while you can listen to the Gregorian chants from the monastery halls.
More information about the castle of Javier

A day full of excitement
For children aged 10 +, it's great to discover nature in the spectacular way of canyoning. This is an active tour through a gorge, often with water, by walking, abseiling, swimming, jumping and climbing. Through this kind of sport you experience the area from a whole different perspective. In the valley of Roncal, there are several possibilities to get acquainted with the sport at a easy level. For people with more experience, there are challenging trails in the surrounding valleys. It is important that you hire a professional guide for your tours. More information

A day walking through the fantastic nature
In this impressive area it is a must to walk one or more of the many beautiful walking trails.

For all ages, there is a beautiful route starting from the village Isaba through the mountains and forests to the Belabarze waterfall. The trail is not too long and suitable for all ages. The final part of the route to the waterfall is a little tricky because you have to jump from rock to rock to get accros the stream, but this makes it an exciting trip for anyone who is not afraid of wet feet. During the way back you can see the high mountains of the Pyrenees in the distance, discover the cave of Ibón and you will pass two different Roman bridges. In short, it's definitely worth to do this hike of about 11 km, to get a good picture of nature in the Roncal valley.

For the slightly more experienced hikers there is a beautiful route along the ridge from Isaba to Belagua. This is an old smugglers route, hidden far from the main road. These old smugglers paths are preserved and turned into a wonderful walking trail. The part  towards the ridge is a tough climb through forests and past ruins of farms. But at the top of the ridge you will be rewarded with a fantastic view over the whole valley.

A nice and quiet day at the campsite
Of course it is also very nice to spend a day doing nothing and relax on the campsite itself. Green camping Asolaze is the right place for this. There is a river close by, where children can build dams and rafts, splash and swim, or they can build huts in the forest. There you can quietly sway away the day in a hammock with a book. Or just take a nap in the shadow under a tree. At camping Asolaze children have enough space to play adventurous on the extansive grounds while you take  the space  to enjoy your rest.
More information

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