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Urederra: A Fairytale Hike in Navarra, Spain

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A few weeks ago I found myself in the strange position of having a rental car in Spain! Like most young expats here, I don’t own a car, but I get by just fine with the great public transportation system or with my friends who have pity on my.

Luckily, my best friend who’s living in Switzerland hopped on down to sunny Spain to visit me for a week! For the special occasion, we decided to be grown-ups and rent a car.

With all of northern Spain at our feet, I decided to take C to some of my favorite spots in the Basque Country and around La Rioja. However, there was one place in Navarra that I had been dying to go to for a year: Urederra (make sure you roll the double rrs like a good Spaniard-Urederrrrrrrrra)!

Now I first saw pictures of Urederra last fall when some of my American friends went hiking there with locals. An hour from Logroño, it makes for the perfect day trip if you are looking to do some hiking in Spain.

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Nacedero del Urederra is a national park and it’s part of the bigger Parque Natural de Urbasa-Andía chain in Navarra. It’s next to the tiny village of Banquedano, and it’s probably one of northern Spain’s best kept secrets! The village itself is quaint and charming, filled with medieval little houses, narrow crooked streets, and overgrown gardens that smell like lavender.

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We got completely lost trying to get there, even with a GPS as there are no signs, but eventually we found it! The women at the info hut in the visitors parking lot spoke to me in Basque before Spanish, which should give you some indication of how unknown this place really is! In fact, Urederra means “beautiful water” in Basque, and here is why:

The park is a series of connected pools and waterfalls in the woods, but it’s the color that is really shocking-it’s the brightest, clearest blue you have ever seen. It looks fake! In fact, the only other place I have seen like it are the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, which are actually very similar. I think it is the special karst and minerals found in the water that gives it that color.

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Walking around Urederra felt like walking in a fairytale land. The bright green of the leafy trees creating a cool shadow over glowing blue pools makes for a surreal and magical atmosphere. It is a really easy and peaceful hike, and even though you can’t swim in the water, you can easily sit next to it having a picnic and relaxing for a while. The hike ends at a series of waterfalls at the foot of a huge crescent shaped cliff surrounded by the Urbasa mountains.

Luckily, I befriended the women at the info desk, who was quite shocked to meet an American. She let me in on a little secret, a place called Balcón de Pilatos (Pilate’s Balcony), which is at the top of the crescent cliffs. We made up the winding switch-backs and arrived a long field leading towards the edge of the cliffs. Literally on top of the world, we sat down and stared out in the distance, taking it all in. Ironically, the place looks exactly like the Creux du Van in Switzerland, near C’s house. Having C with me seeing a place like in Spain was like coming full circle.

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As we made our way back to the rental car, we both had silly smiles on our faces that can only come from a great day trip out in the country and experiencing a place so beautiful and so unknown.

Tips: go to Urederra in the fall when the leaves are changing or in summer when everything is blooming bright green. The water will also look better and brighter blue in sunny weather. Wear regular tennis shoes and bring snacks and water as there are basically no places around it. Try to go on a weekday and you’ll have the place to yourself.

Have you ever been somewhere so beautiful and so unknown? Have you ever seen water that blue? Do you want to go to Urederra in now?
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18 Responses to Urederra: A Fairytale Hike in Navarra, Spain

  1. Lauren of Spanish Sabores August 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Looks amazing! Could you take dip?

    • Elizabeth Carlson August 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

      no it was prohibited :( actually the water kind of freaked me out and it was really still. who knows whats lurking in there!

  2. KW August 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Just amazingly beautiful. I want to go there now. And it does remind me of a fairyland like the movie Legend.

  3. Susan Wescott January 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    Looks fabulous ! How long is the hike from where you park to the blue water and back? Looks like a great stop between Logrono and Pamplona for me and my kids :). Thanks for the info, your website is nice.

  4. Liz January 23, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    Not very long, maybe an hour or so, we took our time and had a picnic! It’s the perfect stop between Pamplona and logroño :)

  5. Nicholas Love March 19, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Hi. So basically this is a must! myself and 3 other friends are taking a road trip from april 22nd to april 30th through northern spain. gijon,oviedo,picos, cantabria, san sebastian, logrono etc. any i could personally get in contact with one of you and maybe we could all meet up for a drink? and maybe show us the way to this amazing place? 3 of us are from the US. seattle, california, new mexico and one other from finland. we all live in santiago de compostela at the moment. we would love to meet up if possible and have youbtell us about this amazing place! and meet some new people with what some common interest.

    • Nicholas Love March 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

      Sorry for the horrbible spelling lol. i am on my tablet and its harder to type on this! i have facebook as well as 2 others if that would be better to contact eachother. Look me up. Nicholas Love from Plattsburgh, NY (originally from cali) Thanks hope to from you soon.

  6. tiffany July 31, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    hi liz,

    these pics and review are absolutely fabulous. my boyfriend dave and i are planning on staying in zaragoza on 8/14, then doing Urederra as a day trip before heading to san sebastian where we would stay the night. do you think that is doable or too rushed. we only have 5 days to squeeze in northern spain and we want to do everything! (so far we’ve settled on zaragoza, san sebastian, santillana del mar, potes (picas de europa cable car and hike), and salamanca)…

    thanks!

  7. Sarah LaBounty September 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Hi! Thanks to your post on northern Spain, we did this amazing hike. It was a great day!

  8. Pedro September 16, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Does anyone leave trash in the trails in Spain? Cause it happens a lot here in Brasil and it makes me mad.

  9. Leah Cranston September 27, 2013 at 12:17 am #

    Hi Liz

    We are an Australian family traveling to spain in January and are really interested in the hike in Underra. Can we do it in winter?

    Our son is a massive football fan and we are trying to secure tickets from here in Australia. The websites all look legitimate but it is large amount of money and want to be sure we have secured tickets. Is the Spanish ticket bureau the best one to use?

    Would love your feedback and really love your blog.

    Kind regards
    Leah

  10. Karen R. March 1, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    Hello Liz,

    Love your blog. Great info!!

    I know it’s been awhile since you posted this article, but we are planning a trip to Spain in June. We(self, husband & 2 teenage daughters) will be visiting Northern Spain from June 5-11, 2014. We will be driving in from Barcelona on the 5th, staying overnight somewhere along the way(not sure yet where, trying to avoid toll roads) and arriving at our place of accommodation near Durango on the 6th.

    This hike looks amazing and we would love to try & work it into our schedule. Do you have any tips or specific directions that will help us find the trail head?

    Thanks,
    Karen

  11. lissa March 3, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    HI my husband and I are going to Spain in late June, we are 1st going to Barcelona, then San Sebastian and day trips all over, then visit Bordeaux, and unfortunately fly home after a night in Madrid.

    I would love any information you can offer us, we love the idea of hiking, wine tasting, beach areas, castles, history. We are in our 50’s keep in mind, but very adventurous and so excited visiting the Basque area.

    We will have our own car, so no problems getting around there, our main hub will be San Sebastian.

    Any help is appreciated,
    Thank you

  12. Catherine July 30, 2014 at 2:27 am #

    Hi Liz, et all

    We are road tripping from the UK in August for 2 weeks and hoping to cover some of Northern Spain. After your blog we have decided we must see these pools!
    Just wondering how much it is to park and also if any of you who mentioned you are going this year, actually went?

  13. Matt September 22, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Thanks for that interesting info… This is about 1.5 hours drive from where I live, gonna head down there next week and have a wander,

  14. Rashid Sabzali October 21, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Hi

    Thank you for your great information. Actually I’m traveling to Spain on 28th, October 2014 for 10 days. My main reason is landscape photography. Any advice or other locations I can photograph ? and any recommendations where to stay ?

    Thank you

  15. S. Martín October 27, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    Now, you need a permit to visit this wonder of nature. Recently, the regional government has limited the capacity of daily visitors. Here’s the link for more information on how to access this little paradise. Enjoy the visit worthwhile. http://www.nacederourederra.com/reserva%20entradas%20urederra.html

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