Valle de Guesalaz

Located in the Natural Park of Urbasa and Andía and surrounded by the Alloz Reservoir.

The Guesálaz Valley is composed of 14 Councils:  Arguiñano; Arzoz; Esténoz; Garisoain; Guembe; Irujo; Irurre; Iturgoyen; Izurzu; Lerate; Muez; Muniain de Guesalaz; Muzqui; Vidaurre and Viguria.

14 councils

Turismo Rural Navarra Iglesia San Roman Arzoz

Historically Salinas de Oro was also part of the Valley, but it separated as an independent Municipality in the nineteenth century.

The Guesálaz Valley has 465 inhabitants, and is located to the North-East of the merindad of Estella, sheltered by the southern foothills of the Andía mountain range and between the crags of Etxauri and the Yerri Valley, the southern border with the Guirguillano Mountains.  Its name comes from the “Río Salado “, that crosses its territory from north to south, feeding its waters and Alloz Reservoir, located in the southern part of the valley.

The highlight of much of this regeneration, are the young people giving new life to Guesálaz.  A new development has emerged for the Valley - tourism.  There is numerous accommodation and Rural Houses, as well as the campsite called Aritzaleku, on the banks of the Alloz Reservoir, in Lerate.

The Valley is full of nature (rivers, reservoirs, mountains, etc), full of history, rich in beautiful stone mansions and palaces, customs and local festivals that are maintained since time immemorial, Rural Houses caring for the guests right down to the last detail.  The best of all, neighbours who love their Valley and want you to share in this small area.

One of our greatest resources is the Alloz Reservoir where the Sailing School of Navarre is set-up and where there is a complete range of water sports such as sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and paddle sup, along with major sporting championships every year.


It is noteworthy that some documents of the era, are attributed to Viguria home to the first “Vascón” (Basque) King of Pamplona, Iñigo Arista or Ariesta (the “ardiente”-burning and not the “roble”-oak/resilient) as some medieval documents find that it was Bigorria o Bigoria, today Viguria.

The Valley has been inhabited since prehistoric times, judging by the pieces of the Neolithic or Bronze Ages found in the Municipal of Guembe, but more important are the Roman finds, located in Garísoain, Lerate, Muzqui and Muez.  In Roman times, agriculture was gaining new momentum with the introduction of the plow, the use of new crops,… and improving communications.

From the sixth to the eighth centuries, until the Muslim invasion of 711, Gothic Kings clashed with the ideas of the Basques they did not agree to the unification of the Iberian Peninsula.  Some fled, but those who remained had had an increase of population in the Valley by the people fleeing the Goths.  It was a time when things began to change, the advancing of Muslim troops led to the Battle of Valdejunquera, in the year 920.  It took place between Muez and Salinas de Oro, where the troops of Sancho Garcés I and Ordoño II received a major defeat by Abd al-Rahmann III.

By the late thirteenth century, Valleys were emerging, Yerri was separated from Gusesálaz following the divide of the Ubagua River.  The plagues were overcome in 1348 and 1362 and the last in 1599.  Once the area became stable, the Romanesque churches were replaced with larger and more slender Gothic churches.  Later, the Civil War in Navarre in the fifteenth century, between Agramontese and the Beaumontese, rocked the Valley caused by the extreme costs of war.

The sixteenth and seventeeth centuries were prosperous, they planned trade with Estella, the main market, everything seemed stable, until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the Napoleonic submission of Navarra took place, the Valley remained outside this conflict.  The Carlist faction arrived later and it took its toll on the area and its people.

Finally, in the twentieth century, they continued to keep the family farms, together with the animals and vegetable gardens for their own consumption.  The Civil War caused much devastation.  In the fifties there were predominantly wheat fields, greatly increasing the work of each house up to the sixties, where the rural exodus began, the village houses were left deserted and the young move to the cities.