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Royal Palace of Olite

Castles/Palaces

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Royal Palace of Olite
icono pie de fotoRoyal Palace of Olite
Torre del Palacio y viñedos
icono pie de fotoTorre del Palacio y viñedos
Palacio Real de Olite
icono pie de fotoPalacio Real de Olite
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Meteorology

Notice

Con motivo de la entrega de los Premios Principe De Viana, el próximo 26 de mayo permanecerá cerrado por la mañana.
Abrirá en jonadas de puertas abiertas de 15:00 a 20:00.

  • AVISO PUENTE DE MAYO: los días 28, 29 y 30 de abril, y 1 de mayo, solo tendrán garantizado el acceso aquellas personas que hayan comprado la entrada online.
  • AVISO 26 DE MAYO: con motivo de la entrega de los Premios Principe De Viana, el próximo 26 de mayo permanecerá cerrado por la mañana. Abrirá en jonada de puertas abiertas de 15:00 a 20:00.

Royal Palace of Olite
The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) of Olite, the seat of the Court of Navarre until its union with Castile (1512), was one of the most luxurious mediaeval castles in Europe. A 12th-century German traveller wrote his impressions in his diary, now conserved in the British Museum in London: "Surely there is no king with a more beautiful castle or palace and with so many gilded rooms".

Looking at its majestic profile and the elegance of its whimsical towers, it is not hard to imagine oneself back in the mediaeval era and to feel the life of the Court in a palace that was richly decorated and had exotic gardens and even a zoo! Jousts and tournaments were held here, as were pelota games and even bullfights. Olite evokes that past today, in which it became the seat of the Court during the reign of King Carlos III 'el Noble', during its annual Mediaeval Fair.

The Royal Palace of Olite is proof of the splendour of the Court that Olite hosted during the Middle Ages. This historic town is located in the Central Zone of Navarre, 42 kilometres south of Pamplona. Declared a National Monument in 1925, it covers one-third of the old part of the town and is considered one of the most interesting Gothic complexes in Europe.

It was built over the remains of an ancient Roman fortress and underwent many transformations during the 13th-14th centuries. This part is known as the Palacio Viejo (Old Palace) and now houses the "Príncipe de Viana" Parador Nacional. Of the original building only the outer walls and the towers are conserved. Its façade is characterised by its large Gothic windows, the Renaissance main entrance and the watchtower.

Its greatest splendour, however, was in the early 15th century thanks to King Carlos III 'el Noble', who brought a number of Iberian and European master builders to work on the castle-palace. The Palacio Nuevo was built in the French Gothic style of civil architecture. The King, who was born in Nantes, came from a great dynasty of French nobles, whose influence spurred on his imagination and good taste in the Palace at Olite, which became his favourite residence.

The palace was partially destroyed when it was set on fire in 1813 by General Espoz and Mina to stop the French troops holing up in the castle during their retreat. Its current form is the result of a meticulous restoration carried out in 1937, which set out to give the palace its original appearance back. It is characterised by large stone walls along a perimeter of recesses and projections, and circular towers with slate roofs on each corner.

A large courtyard provides access to the interior, which can be visited with a guide. Next to this courtyard, an old grapefruit tree garden, are two others called the 'Pajarera' (aviary) and the 'Morera' (white mulberry tree). The centuries-old white mulberry tree in the latter has been declared a Natural Monument.

Behind these is the heart of the Palacio Nuevo, on whose 'noble' floor the King's chambers are conserved, with wide bell-shaped windows, and also those of the Queen. From the first chamber you access the Galería del Rey (King's Gallery), while the Queen's chamber communicates with a small patio called the 'Naranjo' (orange tree) or 'Jardín de la Reina' (Queen's garden).

Over this central part of the Palace that houses the chambers rises the silhouette of the castle's crenelated towers. The tallest and most spectacular is the 'Torre del Homenaje' (Tribute Tower), while the most whimsical is the one called 'Tres Coronas' (Three Crowns). The monarchs used to follow the tournaments from the 'Cuatro Vientos' (Four Winds) tower. There are no tournaments to be seen now, but the view is still beautiful.

In the shadiest area of the palace you will find the pozo del hielo (ice well), whose cover recalls a great egg shell. Snow was kept in it to conserve food, which is why it received the nickname of 'la nevera' (the fridge).

During your visit try and visualise the luxury that existed here. There were exotic gardens, some suspended 20 metres up, and a small zoo with lions in the (now disappeared) Jardines o Huertos del Rey (King's Gardens) to the east of the present Palace. Its walls were richly decorated with tiles, plasterwork and carved wood ceilings. After the fire, only the decoration of the room known as the 'Cámara de los Yesos' (Plaster Chamber) was preserved.

It was the scene of games such as pelota and rackets and, on special occasions, jousts and tournaments, like those organised during the wedding of Agnes of Cleves, Princess of Burgundy, and the Prince of Viana, son of Carlos III, whose title is now held by the Princess of Asturias.

And as well as the Palace...

From the square that acts as a kind of anteroom to the castle you go up a spiral staircase to the mediaeval galleries where there is an exhibition on the life of the Court of King Carlos III 'el Noble'.

You can round off your visit to the palace by entering the Gothic church of Santa María and the Romanesque San Pedro, which has a cloister and a graceful Gothic tower with a spire on top, rivalling the towers that mark out the profile of the Palace. You can also visit the most complete and best preserved Roman walls in Navarre if you walk out to the city walls. Stroll through the streets at leisure, but to finish your stay have a good meal of the area's specialities, accompanied by the reputed wines of Olite, which are produced under the 'Navarra' Designation of Origin. Do not miss the Wine Museum of Navarre, which is located in Olite.

If you want to step back in time to the Middle Ages, there is nothing better than the Mediaeval Fair held in Olite over three days in August. On summer evenings, part of the programme of the Classical Theatre Festival of Olite takes place outdoors just behind the Palace.

Location

Opening hours

Primavera:

  • Marzo: de lunes a viernes, de 10:00 a 18:00. Sábados y domingos, de 10:00 a 19:00.
  • Abril: de lunes a domingo, de 10:00 a 19:00.
  • Semana Santa (del 24 de marzo al 8 de abril): del 29 de marzo al 2 de abril, de 9:00 a 19:00. Resto de días, horario sin cambios. Debido a la gran afluencia se recomienda comprar la entrada online.
  • Mayo y junio: de lunes a viernes, de 10:00 a 19:00. Sábados y domingos, de 10:00 a 20:00.
  • Puente de mayo (del 28 de abril al 1 de mayo): de 10:00 a 20:00.

Verano:

  • Junio y septiembre: de lunes a viernes, de 10:00 a 19:00. Sábado y domingo, de 10:00 a 20:00.
  • Julio y agosto: de lunes a domingo, de 10:00 a 20:00.
  • Día 15 de agosto: de 10:00 a 20:00.

PRICES

Precio entrada: 3,50 €

Remarks: Consulta aquí los descuentos especiales para determinados grupos y colectivos. Entrada gratuita para personas con discapacidad y menores hasta 5 años.* Precio especial con la entrada combinada Palacio Real + Museo de la Viña y el Vino.

Guided visit

Description: distintos tipos de visitas: generales, familiares y teatralizadas.

Opening hours - Todo el año: consultar horarios y precios en www.guiartenavarra.com

Opening hours, dates and guide prices. We recommend you confirm with the entity in question.

Practical information

  • Locality OLITE
  • Zone The Central Zone
  • Address Plaza Carlos III El Noble
  • Website
  • Interesting links
  • Tel. 948741273 - 948740035
  • E-mail info@guiartenavarra.com
  • National monument PM_MONUMENTONACIONAL_SN
  • Guided visit Guided visit
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