Located at the top of a mountain range that dominates the plains of Navarra, Ujue It is a town that stands as one of the most beautiful treasures from this region of northern Spain. His sanctuary-fortress with its imposing silhouette, its labyrinthine streets and its stone houses that are grouped on the mountainside, are just some of the charms that make Ujué (Uxue in Basque) an unmissable destination for those seeking authenticity and history in a privileged natural environment. Not in vain, it is included in the prestigious list of The Most Beautiful Towns in Spain.

The legend of the shepherd and the dove

The history of Ujué is marked by a intriguing legend which explains the origin of this beautiful town nestled in the heights. The story goes that it all started with insistence of a dove that entered and left a cave in the mountain. A shepherd, intrigued by this behavior, tried to scare away the pigeon without success.

Finally, he decided to enter the grotto and what he found there was amazing: the effigy of the Virgin of Ujué. A temple was built over that grotto and the locals gathered around it in search of refuge. The name Ujué, which derives from “Uxoa” in Basque, meaning dove, pays tribute to this persistent bird that led to the discovery of the Virgin.

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The Sanctuary-Fortress of Santa María

The heart of Ujué is its fortress-sanctuary of Santa María, which has evolved over the centuries. In its origins, it was a small pre-romanesque chapel, on which a Romanesque temple was built in the 12th century. The highlight of this church are the three apses with barrel vaults that are still preserved. Later, in the 14th century, a wide Gothic nave was added, fusing two architectural styles that reflect the historical evolution of the place.

Visiting Ujué is always a good option at any time of year and spring is not far behind.  Quiet atmosphere, medieval essence and historical architecture will be what we will find in the town.
Streets of Ujué.

The Portico of Santa María

The portico of Santa María is a architectural gem that adorns the church-fortress. It presents a pointed and flared scheme with ten richly ornamented archivolts. In the central tympanum, you can see representations of the Last Supper and the Adoration of the Three Wise Menscenes full of dynamism and detail.

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The Patio de Armas and the Paseo de Ronda

In front of the north door of the church is what was once the parade ground of the 9th century castle. The Muslims considered this watchtower as impregnable in the kingdom of Pamplonaand today only the cistern that stored water for times of siege remains, a testimony of the defensive history of Ujué.

This beautiful medieval town with narrow streets and steep slopes is a leap back in time and allows you to delve into history.  It is also an imposing viewpoint over the Pierenaic mountain range.  You cannot miss the fortress sanctuary of Santa María de Ujué.
Ujué covered in snow.

He Round Walk It was used by sentinels to secure the castle perimeter. From here, you can enjoy impressive views of the Ribera de Navarra, which add a special charm to the visit.

Narrow streets, stone houses and the hermitage of San Miguel

The town of Ujué extends across the steep slopes of the southern slope of the mountain, and its narrow and labyrinthine streets They are a reflection of its rich medieval history. Walking these streets and exploring the passageways is almost a must after visiting the sanctuary, and offers a unique experience of immersion in the past.

Built in the 13th century, The Hermitage of San Miguel has been in a state of ruin since 1806 due to the poor condition of its vault. Despite this, it preserves the doorway with the oculus, the sword with the holes for the bells and, above all, the charm of the panoramic views of the sanctuary that can be enjoyed from its ruins.

This beautiful medieval town with narrow streets and steep slopes is a leap back in time and allows you to delve into history.  It is also an imposing viewpoint over the Pierenaic mountain range.  You cannot miss the fortress sanctuary of Santa María de Ujué.  (Photo: Wikipedia/Adbar)

History, pilgrimage and gastronomy of Ujué

The history of Ujué dates back to the Bronze Age, when it was a center of pagan worship. During the Middle Ages, it became the first defensive bastion of the Kingdom of Pamplona. Today, Ujué preserves its rich history in every corner of the town, where time seems to stop.

La Gomera Parador.

The incredible Parador on the edge of a cliff facing the sea

The pilgrimage that takes place during the month of May It is an outstanding event, where nearby towns make pilgrimages to Ujué with their black robes and crosses to sing their devotional songs before the Virgin. The traditional food iIt includes the delicious shepherd’s migas, sugared almonds, artisan bread, local wines, oil, pastas and donuts.

The landscape of Ujué: a quiet paradise to discover

Collegiate Church of Santa María la Grande in Ujué (Navarra)
Collegiate Church of Santa María la Grande in Ujué (Navarra)

The outstanding location of Ujué, located on one of the elevations that make up the mountain range of the same name, offers an exceptional environment for contemplation. On clear days, the view extends from the Pyrenean mountain range in the north to the plains of the banks of the Ebro and the silhouette of Moncayo to the south.

The vegetation present in this enclave presents characteristics typical of the Mediterranean climate, with areas of Aleppo pine, dense thickets of aromatic plants and grasslands where they still graze around 2500 heads of sheep. These landscapes are intertwined with farmland dedicated to cereals, olive trees, almond trees and vineyards.

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On many occasions, the cultivation areas are staggered into terraces, adapting to the undulations of the terrain sculpted by the farmland over the centuries. It is impressive to imagine the considerable efforts that farmers made to build these cereal terraces, using primitive tools and farm animals.

The Sierra de Ujué It appears as an appendix detached from the mountainous complex made up of the Sierras de Alaiz, Izco and Orba, extending from north to south, from Izco to Murillo el Fruto. The waters that descend through the mountains are divided, some flow towards the Aragon river and others towards him Zidacos Riverthus establishing a partial hydrographic divide.

How to get to Ujué

To get to Ujué, you can use different means of transportation, such as car, train or bus, depending on your location and preferences.

By car from Pamplona: You must leave from the capital of Navarra heading south on the AP-15 highway. Then you must continue along the AP-15 until exit 51 towards Tafalla. Once in Tafalla, follow the signs to Ujué. The approximate distance between Pamplona and Ujué is around 60 kilometers.

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