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The Mountains

Three sub-zones

This area occupies the north of Navarre and its southern boundaries are formed by the Urbasa, Andia, Sarvil, Perdon, Alaiz, Izco and Leire ranges. There are three separate sub-zones: Navarre Húmeda, in the northwest, the Valles Pirenaicos and Cuencas Prepirenaicas.

The Navarre Húmeda, in the Northwest

Featuring a temperate, humid coastal-type climate and an average annual temperature that ranges between 11 and 14.5ºC and a rainfall between 1,400 and 2,500 mm, with evenly flowing rivers, it is however very varied in terms of both geology and terrain.

Roncesvalles

Roncesvalles.

It is formed by the valleys that belong to the Cantabrian slopes – Cinco Villas, Urumea, Leizarán, Araitz, Basaburúa Menor, Doneztebe/Santesteban, Bertizarana and Baztán– and to the Mediterranean or Ebro watershed –Burunda, Aranaz, Arakil, Larraun, Basaburúa Mayor, Imotz, Atez, Odieta, Ultzama and Anué–.

The main rivers are the Bidasoa, which rises in the Baztán, the Urumea, the Leizarán and the Araxes, which empty into the Bay of Biscay, and the Arakil, the Larráun and the Ultzama, which flow into the Mediterranean. As for the vegetation, there is a prevalence of Atlantic deciduous species – oak, beech, chestnut -, meadows and scrubland with common gorse or furze, heather and ferns.

The Valles Pirenaicos

This district occupies the northeast of Navarre, from the Pyrenees to the north, to the Leyre hills and the basins of Lumbier-Aoiz and Pamplona, to the south, and from the valley of the Arga through to the Ansó valley in Aragon, running from south to east. Its terrain is more even and is shaped by the backbone of the Pyrenees, from which valleys spread out at right angles, such as Arga or Esteríbar, Erro, Arce, Aezkoa, Almiradío de Navascués, Salazar and Roncal.

Altitude increases from west to east –1,459 m on Adi to 2,438 m on the Mesa de los Tres Reyes–. For this reason, there is a north – south climate transition from a wet and cold continental climate with much more extreme temperature conditions, including heavy snowfalls, to another with cool Mediterranean conditions. The average annual temperature ranges from 7 to 12ºC and rainfall between 900 and 2,200 mm. The main rivers, with a fast-flowing and regular rainfall discharge regime are the Arga, Erro, Urrobi, Irati, Salazar and Esca. The vegetation consists of the common pine – intermingling with beech and fir to the north –, boxwood, hawthorn and natural high-altitude meadows.

The Cuencas Prepirenaicas

Lying to the south of the Navarre Húmeda and to the valleys of the Valles Pirenaicos is the region of the Montaña, the Mountains. It is a pre-Pyrenean depression that is a continuation of the Berdún channel in Aragon, consisting of two basins: one is Lumbier-Aoiz, drained by the Irati River and its tributaries, and the other is Pamplona, drained by the Arga River. Its southern limits are the mountain ranges of Andía, Perdón, Aláiz and Izco; and to the east, the Leire range.


Arbayún

Foz de Arbayún.

Regarding the prevailing weather, the Cuencas Prepirenaicas are areas of transition between a cold Mediterranean climate and a temperate Mediterranean system: rainfall ranges between 700 and 1,400 mm. and the average annual temperature fluctuates between 10 and 13ºC. As its very name suggests – cuencas means basins in Spanish –, the main rivers in the Mountains join up with their drainage courses, the Arga and Irati, already fast-flowing and with a regime somewhere between rainfall discharge and Ocean discharge.

The climate transition is reflected in the vegetation, dominated by Mediterranean deciduous – holm and gall oaks, the common pine and scrubland of boxwood and scorpion’s thorn.

Government of Navarre

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