Witch Caves of Zugarramurdi – Road-Tripping in Navarra

Trail to Witch Caves

Trail to Witch Caves

By Regina Winkle-Bryan

Navarra stretches from the border with France and the Pyrenees where it is green and mossy, to the dry red desert and fields that surround the Ebro River and the Bardenas Reales in the south. Navarra doesn’t draw too many tourists, save the faithful drunken few who head to Hemingway’s Pamplona once every July for San Fermin.

Witch Caves of Zugarramurdi

Witch Caves of Zugarramurdi

Besides Pamplona and the villages highlighted in Hemingway’s well-known book, Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises, this naturally diverse area has a lot going on if you are into food, wine, flora and fauna, and the simpler things in life. Starting in the north of Navarra near Bera, where many people speak Basque, we worked our way down through Navarra by car cutting right though the middle of the province one sunny week in June. We stopped at lush villages along the way, which held clusters of ancient homes painted in white with wooden beams and cherry-red shutters. Every home in northern Navarra seemed to have a garden, and every windowsill had a potted geranium; I don’t think I’ve ever seen such carefully cared for houses.

Picture-Perfect homes in Navarra, Spain

Picture-perfect homes in Navarra, Spain

In the north we visited Zugarramurdi where we came across its diabolical Witch Museum (entrance about $6.00). In the same village there is also an enormous cave complex surrounded by woodland trails which is open to the public. The caves, called the Witch Caves, are beautiful and were the site for magical activity for centuries before the Spanish Inquisition came along and spoiled all the fun. A witch festival takes place here each year on the summer solstice.

Witches

‘Witches’ dressed up for the solstice witch festival

For a stay in the north of Navarra, consider a night in a 15th century home in Bera. Hotel Churrut is a gorgeous three-star in the center of a typical village. If you book, make sure to note Churrut’s original wooden floor boards and ask for one of the rooms facing the gardens (not the street). Also, a word to the wise: when visiting northern Navarra, bring an umbrella. It rains in northern Spain even in the summer months and the weather is cool.

Hotel Churrut. A Boutique Hotel in Navarra, Spain.

Hotel Churrut

Hotel Churrut

Hotel Churrut

More:

Hotel Churrut-

Plaza de los Fueros, 2 – 31780, Bera (Navarra)

www.hotelchurrut.com

Caves and Witch Festival-

Zugarramurdi Witch Village

*Update: a movie (comedy) was made about the witches of Zagarramurdi

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4 Comments

  1. Kirsten Carpentier
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Loved this area which is full of unexpected beauty and earthly delights. I would highly recommend going to the Witch Festival in Zugarramurdi at the Summer Solstice. Very interesting and full of family-centered fun! The cobbled streets of this little town are lined with games for the kids, “witches” in medieval costumes, and lots of homemade goodies.

  2. Posted June 28, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I love the place so beautiful the picture are so cool nice view simple and clean..

  3. Posted May 12, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    It has been ages since I’ve been to Spain, but, I have wonderful memories of traveling there. I never made it to Navarra (though, now i’d like to) but I loved the city of Ronda, perched ever so dramatically over its massive gorge.

  4. Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Original soundtrack inspired on the Zugarramurdi cove.

    Zugarramurdi caves are located in the north of Navarra in the Basque Country, certainly, Zugarramurdi and its surroundings are a place of beauty difficult to overcome as equal their stories and myths, taking as topic these stories I have composed a original soundtrack music entitled “Zugarramurdi Caves” the music, expres from my optical the feelings of all those stories. Audio mp3, wav and others, stereo sound, instruments, piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, drums and other, you can hear the soundtrack on … http://bilbaomusic.net/Ancestors , you enjoy with the music.

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