Bardenas Reales, Southeast Navarre, Spain (with Map & Photos)

The Bardenas Reales in Spain is one of the most impressive and somewhat unknown places that you can find in the Iberian Peninsula. We give you all the details.

Bardenas Reales Spain
Bardenas Reales Spain

If you are thinking of traveling to Navarra, one of the most spectacular visits you can make is to the Bardenas Reales natural park. It is located in the southeast part of the community, near the well-known town of Tudela. A place that is not well known but that, of course, will not leave you indifferent.

When we talk about Navarra, those green and beautiful landscapes of the Pyrenees quickly come to mind. We find several examples both in the Irati Forest and, for example, in towns such as Ochagavia. But Navarra is much more, in all aspects.

And you can also discover landscapes that seem to belong to Arizona itself. In these Bardenas Reales you have the opportunity to see a large number of rock formations, such as the one known as Cabezo de Castildetierra. It is time to find out what is behind this place.

Bardenas Reales Spain
Bardenas Reales Spain

What is the history of the Bardenas Reales?


These Bardenas Reales have been populated nothing more and nothing less than since the Bronze Age. Now, where does its curious name come from? Well, it has an explanation, and that is that these territories, in their day, came to be the property of the very kings of Navarre.

As if that were not enough, it should be noted that these Bardenas were very important during the 9th and 10th centuries. The reason? They became a boundary zone between the Kingdom of Navarra and the rest of the territories that were occupied by the Arabs, upon their arrival in the Iberian Peninsula.

It leaves many speechless to know that, among the owners of the Bardenas Reales, we find the Roncal and Salazar valleys. This means that this curious territory of Navarra does not belong to a single municipality. Moreover, it belongs to what is known as the Community of Bardenas, made up of 22 municipalities and valleys councils. Nothing more and nothing less!

Bardenas Reales Spain
Bardenas Reales Spain

The meetings are those of the Roncal and Salazar valleys. In fact, Roncal's was the first to have rights over the Royal Barcenas, back in the year 882. And all for a gesture of gratitude for the help given to King Sancho García of Navarra himself in his fight against the Arabs. The rest of the assignments, for the most part, were also for gratitude, either in wars or in financial donations to the Crown.

When the kingdom of Navarra was part of the kingdom of Castile, these 22 municipalities and the valleys did not undergo any change in terms of the rights they had over the Bardenas Reales. Finally, after the War of Succession in the 18th century, the so-called "congonzantes" bought from King Felipe V the perpetual transfer of the Bardenas Reales.

What are the Bardenas Reales like?


The main characteristic, without a doubt, is that we are facing practically almost desert landscapes. They are made up of sandstones and clays that have suffered the effects of erosion for millions of years. Therefore, due to this geological result, we can contemplate a series of rock formations that do not leave anyone indifferent.

If you are more than determined to visit the Bardenas Reales, we recommend that you do it in spring or autumn. Any season of the year is perfect, but even more so at those times. The landscapes are dreamy and, of course, you can feel that you are in Arizona without leaving Navarra!

Bardenas Reales Map