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Last updated : Nov 2009
Navarre and Aragon
Navarre and Aragon -
These two medieval kingdoms are located southwest of the French border, with the Pyrenees to the northeast. The landscape offers spectacular views, the mountains contrasting with the lush valleys of the lower ground. This is a popular area for skiing and winter sports. The main resorts include Astun, Candanchú, Cerler, El Formigal, and Panticosa.


Pamplona has been inundated with tourists ever since American writer Ernest Hemingway put the town on the map with his novel The Sun Also Rises (1927). His fascination was with the Corrida, the running of the bulls, at the Festival of San Fermín , July 6th - 14th. During this week, brave or foolhardy visitors join the young men of the town in trying to outrun a large herd of bulls that stampedes through the town’s narrow, closed streets. Visitors should book early and expect relatively high prices. Outside the fiesta season, Pamplona’s main attractions are its old walled quarter, Renaissance Cathedral and imposing Citadel.


Aragon rose to prominence in the late 15th century when its kings resided at Zaragoza, now the regional capital of Aragon. Located on the River Ebro, it is a university town with a medieval Cathedral, a 17th-century basilica dedicated to the Virgin of Pilar (a focus of pilgrimage and celebrations in the second week of October) and the Aljafería, a Moorish palace dating from the 11th to the 15th centuries. The Museo de Zaragoza has finds dating back to the city’s Roman foundations. In the surrounding countryside there are several areas noted for their wine production, such as Borja and Cariñena, and several castles.

Huesca, located in the foothills of the Pyrenees, is an important market town. There are several attractions within easy reach, including the Ordesa National Park, excellent walking and climbing country. The popular summer holiday resort of Arguis in the Puerto de Monrepós region. The spa town of Balneario de Panticosa, and the high-altitude resort and frontier town of Canfranc.

The third and southernmost province of Aragon is Teruel. The provincial capital is sited on a hill which is surrounded by the gorges of the Rio Turia. It has a pronounced Moorish influence (the last mosque was not closed until 10 years after the end of the Reconquista in 1492), and there are several architectural survivals from its Islamic period. Nearby is the small episcopal city of Sergobe, spectacularly situated between two castle-crowned hills.