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Excursion to the Bardenas Reales de Navarra

Excursion to the Bardenas Reales

Excursion to the Bardenas Reales de Navarra!

Navarra is one of those regions that I love to return to again and again. It holds all kinds of surprises and it is a very varied region , so when we decided to go to Pamplona and take an excursion to the Bardenas Reales, I couldn’t be happier because this is one of those objectives, of those landscapes seen in photos, who always had in mind to go to meet and photograph. Today I bring it to the blog to put the honey on your lips if you do not know it. 

It is true that time did not accompany us. It had rained a lot the night before and that day the clouds threatened to discharge again. The ground was heavily soaked, muddy, and flooded in many areas. When we arrived it was clear that we would not be able to hike, or access some of the viewpoints in the Bardenas.

Nor is the idea of ​​going to and from Pamplona the best to visit the Bardenas Reales. It is not that it is very far, but there is a distance and this implies a round trip to add to the day. Therefore, notice to boaters :

If you want to have time to explore this place as it deserves, spend the night in Tudela or in some other nearby town, and enjoy as it deserves what was the land of the Dothraki in Game of Thrones . If possible, incorporating a sunrise and / or sunset 😉

Some information about the Bardenas Reales 

  • This semi-desert has more than 40 hectares.
  • It is located in the Southeast of Navarra and borders Aragon, forming part of the Ebro river basin.  
  • Its landscape has been forming in the last 20 million years , especially with the accumulation of sediments in the Tertiary and subsequent erosion in the Quaternary.
  • It was declared a Natural Park in 1999, followed by the status of a Biosphere Reserve in 2000. 
  • It also belongs to the Natura 2000 Network, thus being a Special Conservation Area (ZEC). 
  • The bandits and soldiers who fought in the wars of Aragon and Castile took these places as a refuge and perfect setting for their misdeeds. 
  • The erosion process of the Bardenas Reales continues today, being a land as alive as the most. 
  • You can read and watch videos with all these details on the official website . 
  • By the way, do not say “bardenas” because you will fall into the error. It is a plain word without accent.

Legend has it that Sancho de Rota stole from the rich to give to the poor . I don’t know if he got his fame because he called himself King of the Bardenas , or because he commanded 30 bandits and they showed great strategic skills so as not to be captured. The fact is that, in the end, the forces of order did manage to surround him and Sancho, known as “Sanchico Rota” decided to take his own life. His body was paraded through various towns in the region and was finally exhibited in Tudela, hanging from the gallows, as a warning sign for anyone who was thinking of emulating this character. 

A simple excursion to the Bardenas Reales will not leave you indifferent, despite being that, simple 

I think it was at the Mirador de la Blanca , in Alto de Aguilares , where we stopped to see the Bardenas Reales for the first time . Some emotion invaded me, and also the sun seemed to want to come out a little bit through the clouds. I couldn’t wait for us to get closer. 

Then yes, we continue along the narrow road that is approaching the main claims of the Bardenas Reales. In reality we are only in one of the three areas in which this territory differs: the Bardenas Blancas , a name that comes from the outcrops of salt and the scarce vegetation that can grow there. 

We passed the Three Brothers , three heads separated by a few hundred meters from each other, which were once united forming a great mountain.

The heads are natural elevations of the terrain, isolated in the landscape

The one in the middle is the one I like the most, aesthetically speaking, with its beret-shaped rock crowning a slope of sinuous lines that fall as if they were the folds of a skirt. 

The mud and the threat of rain threatened, as I have already said, our excursion through the Bardenas Reales, but we decided not to give up trying to glimpse a little of this landscape that reminded me so much of the Monegros desert . In fact, the similarities are more than I thought at first, but it is true that the Bardenas Reales are larger, more extensive and in a way majestic. It is like the older sister of these “deserts” that are not so. 

Gravels, sands, clays and silts have given rise to the colorful limestone and gypsum formations that are like an open book of geology .

I love the perfection of Nature in its linear, regular and symmetrical patterns. The perfection of machinery that makes life possible , including ours.

I take this opportunity to put a little piece about respect for the environment : we must not forget that we are and live thanks to Nature, and that if we do not take care of it we will have a hard time and we will have a very bad time. 

Castildetierra (Castillo de Tierra) is the most popular “head” of the Bardenas Reales and it is not for less. This fairy chimney (pretty nickname), is a spectacular column of sediments that is crowned by sandstone rocks that protect it from erosion. I love how the base unfolds into gullies that look like the fingers of a giant’s hand . It is best appreciated by observing it from a distance. 

upper part of the head of castildetierra with four limestone rocks one on top of the other in the upper part and sands of reddish tones

Los Blanquizales is another point to stop at. Its undulating shapes stand out in the sky, and the textures seem to call you. By the way, the oldest clays and plasters are at the top, and the “newer” at the bottom. I think this is called geological discordance.

In the blanquizales the vegetation is almost non-existent, and that is why they are also known as badlands or “bad lands”.  

It was left in the inkwell to go up to the Mirador de Juan Obispo , walk through the Barranco de las Cortinas , and also through the Bardenas Negras , among other corners.

The truth is that the Bardenas Reales last several days and even then we probably will not have seen more than a small part of all its wealth. But as I was saying at the beginning, this post is about putting honey on your lips as it happened to me.

It remains to go “as God intended” and when it does, I will tell you in great detail 😉


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