Warning: this post contains many, many photos. In general I try to behave myself when it comes to the amount of pictures I upload on any given post, but this time, it could not be helped since I visited one of the most incredible castles I have ever been to in Europe and I went a little photo crazy!
Ok, I am history dork, I admit it. I was a medieval studies major in college for god’s sake! I hear the words “knights, princes, queens” and a little tingle goes up my spine. I read 14th century epic poems and romances in my free time. I studied Old English in college for fun. My idea of a good time traveling is vising ancient ruins, castles, cathedrals and maybe a museum or two. So when I first saw pictures of a castle in little town in Navarra called Olite, my first reaction was where the HELL is that place and how SOON can I get there. Since Navarra is basically on the opposite end of the Spanish peninsula from Córdoba, I had to wait until I moved up north for the chance to visit.
Olite is about an hour and a half from me driving, but since I don’t have a car nor can I drive manual, L and I were left to take the bus. Again. There are several buses a day that make the short trip from Pamplona to Olite Besides the palace, there is not much else to see in this 3,000 person town, but there is a cute wine museum inside the tourist office which is worth a trip, if only to laugh at the funny English translations. In the main square this are a few little cafes, restaurants and bakeries, in one of which we splurged on a bar of honey-flavored chocolate-so good! I had never heard of this before, have you?
But the castle, oh the castle! Make sure you save a few hours to explore its many towers and hidden rooms, though my favorite parts had to be the hanging gardens, with walls and walls of ivy beginning to turn red for the fall as well as all the breathtaking views from the tops of the towers.. L and I had a big lunch in the main square in the sunshine before heading to the castle during the afternoon, knowing that there would be less tourists in that time (though in hindsight, climbing all those stairs after stuffing yourself with food probably wasn’t the best decision). Olite doesn’t seem to be well-known outside of Spain; we were some of the only foreign tourists which is another reason that I love it; I’ll take this castle over the Alcazar in Segovia any day. Founded in Roman times, the castle was built up in the 15th century and was the seat of the kings and queens of Navarra (that’s right, queens, you can probably guess that I was very happy to hear that!) Seriously, Olite looked like something straight out of a fairytale and it has slowly worked itself up high on my list of all-time favorite castles. If you ever make it to northern Spain, it should definitely be on your to-visit list.
Have you ever been to Olite? What did you think of the castle? If not, what’s your favorite castle that you’ve been to?