Hi travellers and adventurers! My name is Silvia from the Instagram profile @cualquierdestino. Welcome to my guide on the epic Bardenas Reales.
I’m a passionate traveller who was born and raised in Zaragoza – a beautiful city in Spain. At the age of 21, I met my partner and moved to the southern coast of Catalonia to live with him. Being closer to Barcelona’s airport also brought me the opportunity to travel more often which I relished.
I worked for many years as an accountant for an international firm but I felt unfulfilled. So I left this job to start working as a content creator and travel planner. I also share my travel experiences on my blog Cualquier Destino.
My first memories are from our family trips that we took when I was 4 years old. Since then, I’ve never stopped adding new ones from different countries. Travelling has always been a big part of my life. It defines me.
As I became an adult, the desire to explore the world got stronger and stronger. Now, I’m always wanting to experience new adventures. My passion for photography started when I was a kid too. I remember when I was 8 years old, I asked my parents for a camera for a school trip to France.
They bought me a disposable camera with a film of 36 photos. I wanted to capture everything and so I spent it on the first day! Fortunately, nowadays, digital cameras are almost limitless. In the last ten years, my inspiration for photography has increased thanks to platforms like Instagram.
Exploring my own Backyard in 2020
Because of the pandemic, I wasn’t able to travel abroad. So I used this opportunity to focus on my own backyard of Spain. We are lucky to have different kinds of landscapes here all within a few hours drive. I decided this year would be the perfect time to plan a road trip through Northern Spain.
I discovered on Instagram the desert of Bardenas Reales and I knew this place would be an incredible addition to my itinerary. It’s located in South Navarre, a region full of contrast. Mountains and forest in the north and desert in the south – all less than two hours drive between them.
Sounds crazy, right? Most of this year’s road trip was focused on Navarre.
Road Trippin’ in Bardenas Reales
The desert of Bardenas Reales is not massive. We spent less than a day there. Probably the most interesting points can be visited by car along a 34 km road called “Circuito La Blanca” . And that’s how we saw the badlands.
We started our trip at the Bardenas Reales Information Office to get some practical information about the place. Then we headed off on the route – an unpaved road that goes through the most stunning landscapes. We made several stops to take pictures and admired the endless rocky desert.
Favourite Places in the Desert
My favourite parts of Bardenas Reales were the lunar landscapes Blanquizales de Pisquerra and the canyons of Rincon de las Rallas. We took amazing photos at these spots! It was like a movie set. Popular films/series have been shot here such as Game of Thrones and James Bond.
The rock called Cabezo de Castildetierra is the most popular spot and usually shown on photographs of Bardenas Reales. It was an impressive sight and what’s better – the rock formation looks even bigger in real life!
Best Things To Do in Bardenas Reales
What you can see by car in Bardenas Reales is just a small part of the desert. If you want to spend more time there, you can choose from 10 different paths to go mountain biking. You can hire bikes in Arguedas, the closest village, and have an awesome adventure in the desert.
If mountain biking isn’t your cup of tea (like me), then there’s a series of short hikes which you can take like Cabezo de las Cortinillas and Barranco de las Cortinas. For a unique experience you can jump in a buggy vehicle and go exploring. I didn’t get the chance to do this but it looks cool!
Photography lovers, don’t miss the opportunity to capture every special moment. Stay until golden hour and sunset to be creative with the light.
Where to Stay in Bardenas Reales
We stayed in Pamplona, the capital of Navarre which is located just one hour from Bardenas Reales. It’s perfectly situated to visit all the different places in the region on day trips. As we were there for a whole week, we could enjoy many places nearby, not just the amazing Bardenas Reales.
When I travel, I like to feel like a local. So I always try to exchange homes. There are different methods but the main concept is to stay at someone’s house while they stay at yours. Our host in Pamplona was really kind and gave us amazing tips for us to take advantage of. We felt right at home.
Need to Know Before you Go
It’s important to take into account the weather of Bardenas Reales. In summer, the desert is hot and in winter it’s cold (oftentimes snowing). Make sure you pack appropriate clothing and good shoes for hiking.
This landscape has been formed by strong winds so try to avoid short dresses or hats if you don’t want to run like my boyfriend did! Of course, bring some water and food for the hikes and mountain bike rides. There are no places in the desert to buy food. It’s just you and the desert!
Visiting Bardenas Reales is free and perfect for everyone including families with kids, groups of friends, couples and solos. The only thing you will be asked to do is not litter and respect this wonderful place.
My trip here was just awesome. It was like being transported to another planet at times. The desert is quite different from anything I have ever seen. I can’t recommend Bardenas Reales enough. Enjoy your visit!