Road trip in the South West #3 : a stop in Bardenas, Spain


Here we are finally in Bardenas Reales desert located in the South West of Navarre in Espagne and only 4 hour drive from Bordeaux.

To celebrate my 30th birthday we wanted to go somewhere exotic for a few days where the weather was nice. We first thought about Sicily and Morocco but we decided to go there another time. The Boyfriend remembered this desert in Spain that I talked to him about several times, why not going there and doing a road trip in the South West of France at the same time ?  Bingo !

Bardenas is now quite known in the blogosphere, many bloggers had been there like Sunrise over sea, Mamie Boude or Miss Etc but apart from that it’s a place unknown to the public.

It’s a natural park of wild beauty listed as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. This semi-desert landscape of 42 500 hectares offers unique landscapes in Europe and is caracterized by incredible rocky structures from erosion. This place makes us travel to a world almost moon-like in appearance, fashioned by gullies, smooth plateaux and solitary outcrops. It gives you the impression to stroll in the iconic landscapes of American West : there’s nothing like it!

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The sols are high in clay so it is not recommended to go there when it’s raining, the rain churning the ground to a heavy and tacky mud that can be dangerous. We were lucky because in the morning it was a bit foggy but then the sun came out!


About fauna, you may see wild boars, foxes, wild cats etc but we only saw eagles and sheeps. :)

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As you’d expected, there are no inhabitants and the roads are tracks of rocks accessible by mountain bikes but also by regular cars (you don’t need a 4X4). For example we had no problems with the Fiat 500, we just had to drive slowly and clean the dust afterwards. Let me take this opportunity to share with you my impression about this new Fiat 500 that Motorvillage lent to us. Even though I’m a big fan of vintage Fiat 500 as you all know, this one was very confortable and fun to drive and so much the better since we drove about 2000 km with it!

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Look at these far west spectacular landscapes! It’s so hard to believe we are still in Europe!

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Castil de tierra is the most emblematic rock formation of Bardenas Reales.

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In a few words, I couldn’t have wished for a better place to celebrate my 30th birthday. We were so happy to be here and to pretend we were in the US we even listened to some country music and made some cowboy dances in the middle of the road (you will see more of it in the video that will be in the last post). For the accomodation, we didn’t go to the famous Aire de Bardenas hotel because we didn’t want to spend 200€ for 1 night so instead we’ve been to this  simple Airbnb. When we arrived during the night in this empty village like it has been abandoned, we weren’t sure anymore we made the good choice but after all the rooms were clean, the host nice, it was close to the park and we only paid 50€ for 1 night.

The next night we slept in San Sebastian in Spain, a 2 hour drive from Bardenas. I must admit that I didn’t fell in love with the city, maybe it was because we had so much fun in Bardenas, or because it was the night of my birthday so I was more exigent or because we had to go to the pound for parking accidentally on a residant space. Well, the town didn’t made me want to come back but the sunset was spectacular!

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You see, next time you wanna change of scenery, you don’t need to go very far, in Europe after all we can find all sorts of landscapes and we are so lucky for that, let’s make the most of it!

You can read again the 2 previous road trip destinations with St Emilion, Biarritz and Bayonne here and Bordeaux here.


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