The Shepherd’s Way MTB

JOURNEY OVERVIEW

Pamplona – Burguete – Ochagavía –

Leyre – Bardenas – Tudela – Pamplona

The Shepherd’s Way MTB journey is an active adaptation of the shepherd’s seasonal route, where they herd thousands of sheep down the slopes of the Navarran Pyrenees to graze in the Navarran desert for the winter. It is a way to pay homage to this most rugged and ancient culture of nomadic pastoralism. This mountain biking adventure begins in Pamplona and sets you on a spectacular path, taking you from the lush woods of the Irati Forest to the barren plains of the desert below, making this cycling route one of the most unique in Europe. We follow the nomads’ route on two wheels, staying in  luxury accommodation, while venturing deep into the history, culture and gastronomy of the region along the way.

Accompanied by an assistance vehicle, we customize our routes so that the difficulty and distances are tailored to your abilities and personal challenges. This trip includes accommodation, bikes, if needed, and most meals.

CASTILLO DE GORRAIZ

We will stay at the luxurious Castillo de Gorraiz on our first night. Here we make preparations and set up the personalized materials for the trip. 

FOOTHILLS OF THE PYRENEES

Steep slopes, flower-bedecked meadows and lush valleys give us a sense of the breadth of the Navarran Pyrenees beneath our wheels.

 

CROSSING THE DESERT

We venture into landscapes of red and gold formations formed by wind and water.

NAVARRA MEDIEVAL LANDS

A visit to the Castillo de Javier transports us to the Medieval Kingdom of Navarra.

 

 

ITINERARY

Pamplona – Burguete – Ochagavia

– Monesterio de Leyre – Bardenas – Tudela – Pamplona

Day 1 : Pamplona

We start with a welcome picnic composed of all local products and drinks, followed by a presentation in the salon of the Gorraiz Castle. The presentation will introduce the routes using audiovisual media, where we can then adapt the trip to the specifications of the participants and their personal needs and challenges. This includes distributing E-bikes if so desired. 

 

Day 2 : Through the Foothills of the Pyrenees

We make an early start on our personally adapted bikes. We wind our way up through the gorgeous Navarran foothills, crossing the Lizoain Valley to where the Pyrennes begin. Riding on ancient Roman roads, we go up to the start of the Saint James Way trail on the border with France, all the while passing through the numerous picturesque towns of this area. 

Day 3 : Navarra's Irati Forest

We leave Burgete for Roncevalles, the site of many numerous and dramatic historical events through the ages. From there, we leave behind the green hills and pastures for one of the most important beech tree forests left in Europe. Here, a magical atmosphere permeates the thick groves and secret meadows, and wildlife thrives all around you, nestled deep in the Pyrenees mountains. The grand finale is a trip to the unique Santuario de Muskilda, combined with a fantastic regional meal, full of Pyrene-Navarran character.

Day 4 : Into The Medieval Ages

Reaching the middle stage of our trip, we cycle from the mountains to the central region of Navarra, offering a subtle transformation of contrasting landscapes and colours. Riding on historic pathways, we pass monuments representing ancient bygone eras as well as notable contemporary sites. We then enter the most medieval Navarran region, where kings and queens battled for dominion over the territories of Spain. We see some of the most impressive examples of regional medieval architecture, including a visit to the beautiful Leyre Monastery, and to the graves of Navarran royalty.

Day 5 : A Changing Landscape

The changes we see in the landscape become more dramatic as we glide from lush green woods and hills to the warm golden plains of southern Navarra. Continuing on, we enter an even more arid terrain, all the while still pedaling through medieval history. We visit the 10th century Castillo de Javier, where Navarra’s patron saint, St. Francis Xavier, was born and lived in the 16th century. From there we enter the Bardena Reales, one of Europe’s only deserts and a truly spectacular, almost surreal landscape. 

Day 6 : Across the Desert

The Bardenas desert boasts unique formations and abrupt landscapes, forming canyons and plateaus molded by a famous dry wind called the cierzo. The many layers of reds, golds, oranges and white reveal the erosion of clay, chalk and sandstone over the geological eras. We finish our journey in Tudela, where we are welcomed at a top hotel. We will relax and stroll around the beautiful old town, once the medieval crossroads of Christianty, Islam and Judaism in Spain. We combine this with a fine walking gastro tour to complete the evening and our time together.