Unusual destinations in Spain: Estella and the ‘Park of the Skulls’

Unusual destinations in Spain

Are you seeking unusual destinations in Spain? When traveling in Navarra in the north of Spain, one small and attractive town stands out. Estella (its Spanish name) or Lizarra (as dubbed by the Basque people) is located close to the border with La Rioja and Álava and is southwest of Pamplona, city of the famed “Running of the Bulls.” 

For pilgrims traveling down “El Camino de Santiago,” or “Way of St. James,” Estella is a very welcome stopover. The traditional and beautiful Romanesque architecture in the town comprises of palaces and churches and the surrounding countryside is beautifully scenic. However, this town can be considered one of the more unusual destinations in Spain.

The eerie “Park of the Skulls” in Navarre, Spain

Besides its obvious beauty and hospitality, the town has another unusual attraction in the way of an artscape, lying on the outskirts of town. “El Parque de las Calaveras,” which translates to “Park of the Skulls” or “Park of the Unveiled,” is an unusual and rather eerie place, located on a farm around 2 kilometers outside of the town.

This amazing place was created by the artist Luis García Vidal, who used wood, fabric and paint to create huge skull structures or sculptures, carefully positioned alongside cars rescued from traffic accidents. Vidal started the project back in 1971 and, reportedly, along the way, a lot of his work has been damaged or destroyed by vandals. Despite this, Vidal continues to repair the work and keep the artistic site going.

Vidal also had a problem when he first introduced smashed cars into his work back in 2002. Reportedly the local government decided to tow away what they thought were merely wrecked and abandoned vehicles, not realizing they were part of an artistic display.

According to the artist, it takes him around five years to complete each sculpture and he has been working on the unusual destination for more than three decades. The site is free to visit and makes a fascinating artistic tour on a visit to the countryside of lovely Navarra, Spain.

Take a video tour of “El Parque de las Calaveras”

There are many more unusual destinations in Spain, especially when touring as a pilgrim on “El Camino de Santiago.” In the meantime, enjoy a tour of the “Park of the Skulls” in the video included below in the company of the videographer’s dogs.

Photo by Javier Hermoso De Mendoza/CC BY-SA 3.0


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