What do castles have that are a source of love, emotion and inspiration? The Royal Palace in Olite, Navarre, certainly is. Walk through the streets of the medieval village and get to know its historical heritage: the Royal Palace, Santa María and San Pedro Churches, San Francisco and Santa Engracia convents, the fortified medieval and Roman areas and the medieval galleries.
The best thing we could do is to let ourselves go through the streets which are the same as in the XIII century and still keep their medieval names. During the stroll we will appreciate the different “neighborhoods” inside and outside the Roman area and the different palaces and shields. Nevertheless, the most important thing to see is the Royal Palace.
The Royal Palace in Olite is one of the most important historical and artistic complexes in Navarra, which used to be one of the most luxurious ones in Europe. The building opened to visitors was built between 1402 and 1424 by Charles III “the Noble”, who was the King of Navarre from 1387 to 1425 and was better known for his love for culture and palace life rather than for his military campaigns.
His family enjoyed life in the Olite court until Navarre was conquered by the Castilian Crown, which was the beginning of the deterioration of the Palace for being used as an occasional home by viceroys, governors and noblemen. During Independence War, in 1813, the Palace was set on fire by the Navarran general Espoz y Mina in order to avoid French troops taking it. The palace remained ruined and empty until it was restored in 1937.
The complex is divided in three parts, the Old Palace (now a state-run hotel worth visiting for lunch or just for a drink), the Saint George Chapel ruins and the New Palace, the part available for visiting being the entrance at Charles III Square, can’t get lost there.
Olite is also land of wine, so it would be a good idea to visit the Wine Museum as well or even one of the well known vineyards around (normally having arranged the visit in advance).
Enjoy your visit!