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Las Bardenas Reales, on another planet in Spain

wow, wow, wow!!! Never expected to see such a special landscape in Spain.

Spain is of course well known for its impressive coastlines, beautiful bays, extensive sandy beaches, the high and green mountains of the Pyrenees, Gaudi in Barcelona and the New York of Spain, Madrid. But what is usually not on this list is this impressive desert in Spain; Las Bardenas Reales.

Where can you find Las Bardenas Reales, the Navarre desert?

Navarre is a region in the north of Spain. In the southeast of Navarre you will find Las Bardenas Reales, an impressive semi-desert of no less than 42,000 hectares of land.

You can drive and walk different routes through this desert. In total there are no fewer than 700 paths and roads that you can follow. The most challenging route is a route of 70 kilometers long, which will be physically demanding, but you will definitely see all the beauty of Las Bardenas Reales. But there are also routes of 14 and 43 kilometers, where you can just stay in the car and stop at the most beautiful parts of Las Bardenas Reales.

This entire route you drive through a kind of lunar landscape that you can not help but be impressed. Erosion has changed this landscape into a landscape that you will not see anywhere else in Spain.

Las Bardenas Reales, a special piece of natural history

The history of Los Bardenas Reales goes back a long way. It goes all the way back to the tertiary era when the European and Iberian plates collided with each other and formed the Pyrenees. This collision created a giant water basin with no access to the sea. For years the water flowed with great force from the mountains into this water basin. This flowing water formed the landscape at the bottom of this basin

Ten million years ago, a road to the Catalan coast emerged from this basin and the water basin emptied. The area that had formed under water for years now came to be above water. The soil of Las Bardenas Reales consists of clay, chalk and sandstone. The erosion of water and wind has created a special piece of nature here. An impressive landscape, a landscape that seems like a piece of another planet and is different from everything in Spain; Las Bardenas Reales.

The two parts of Las Bardenas Reales

Las Bardenas reales consists of several parts. The main parts are La Bardena Blanca and La Bardena Negra. Two landscapes that are both special and yet form a stunning contrast to each other.

La Bardena Blanca, the lunar landscape of Las Bardenas Reales

La Bardena Blanca is perhaps the most impressive part of Las Bardenas Reales, because this part really does seem like you are on another planet and you are taking your first steps on the moon. The mainly clay landscape consists of impressive ravines and hills with rocks on the top, such as Castildetierra.

La Bardena Negra, the greener side of Las Bardenas Reales

La Bardena Negra is unlike the name suggests the green side of Las Bardenas Reales. The landscape of La Bardena Negra consists of green pines, which show you the clear contrast with La Bardena Blanca and show the natural diversity of this special landscape in Navarre. Or discover the special cracks that have arisen here in the earth, which are no less than 270 meters deep.

Bird Watching in Las Bardenas Reales

Although Las Bardenas Reales is a semi-desert and there is little green to be found, more than 20 different bird species live in Las Bardenas Reales. For example, you can see the eagle owl, the Egyptian vulture and for example the griffon vulture. So if you are curious about the different bird species, be sure to bring your binoculars to Las Bardenas Reales. On the high points of Las Bardenas Reales you can see the shelters of these animals and you can see the vultures soaring around.

The 43 kilometer route through Las Bardenas Reales

During our visit to Las Bardenas Reales we took the route of 43 kilometers, which is easy to drive by car. You can stop as often as you want and in as many places as you want. On average, this route will take you about two to three hours and you will pass the main highlights of Las Bardenas Reales. When you enter the Las Bardenas Reales Natural Park, you will receive an overview at the reception with the different routes you can drive.

Las Bardenas Reales on the white screen

To finish this off, a fun fact about Las Bardenas Reales. Did you know that Las Bardenas Reales is also a famous filming location? Las Bardenas Reales has been used as a location in Game of the Thrones, The World is not enough and The counselor, among others. Unfortunately there are no real dragons to be seen in Las Bardenas Reales.

When is the best time to visit Las Bardenas Reales?

You can visit Las Bardenas Reales all year round. This region in Spain is known for its dry winters. It can get cold here in winter. In the summer it is of course a lot nicer with the sun, but it can also get very hot here. 40 degrees is no exception in this area. The best period to visit Las Bardenas Reales is, in our opinion, spring or autumn. It is therefore a lot less crowded in terms of tourists.


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