Like I told you in my latest article, I grew up watching westerns and my idol was Clint Eastwood. I always dreamed about road tripping in the american Grand Canyon, but logistically, it’s not the easiest trip to plan… So when I heard about the Bardenas Reales natural park, kind of like a mini version of the Wild West’s landscapes but located in the Navarra region in Spain, two hours away from the French border, the road trip was planned in a day !
We decided to go by car directly from our primary vacation spot near Toulon, France. We planned on 9 hours of driving, but unlucky us, it took us 12 hours to finally arrive in Tudela, a city close to the park where we booked our hotel. It was very hard for us, and especially for Joey, who was of course, part of the trip.
But the second we arrived in the Bardenas Reales desert, the chaotic trip from the day before was forgotten in a minute ! The landscapes was even better than everything I had imagined : we left the world we knew when we crossed the park borders and started imagining ourselves in those old westerns that are so dear to our hearts, with all those impressive rocky formations, those little sheds made of wood and mud coming from another time, and all those plants and reliefs that we had never seen before… Joey was thrilled too, he could run everywhere and explore those wide and free spaces… If we could have, we would have stayed so much longer… There’s too many things to see over there !
It was the perfect occasion to VLOG again, I loved it so much when I was in Strasbourg, and I wanted to bring y’all with me to discover the Bardenas Reales and the city of Tudela that we also quickly visited the morning after.
I also vaguely tried to select the best pictures to show you how beautiful is this place, but it wasn’t easy because I took over 2000 pictures that day, so I’m sorry in advance for the amount of pictures there !
I hope this will make you want to discover the Bardenas Reales by yourself someday, and if you do, find out all about what you need to know after the pictures 🙂
Photos : Alban & Me
In Bardenas Reales
There are two different tours to explore the Bardenas Reales : the blanca and the negra. We took the Blanca tour, close to the city of Tudela (10kms away) where we slept (the Negra tour was South of the park). The main entrance is by the city of Arguedas, where you’ll find an information center and maps of the tours, which I highly recommand !
The tour is usually done by car, or by bike if you’re feeling brave enough ! The tour by car usually takes 2 hours if you never stop. It took us 7 hours all in all, we drove slowly, stopped regularly, walked a bit to explore and enjoyed everything we wanted to see !
As far as the gear is concerned, you won’t need a Four-by-Four, the roads are outlined (there’s no asphalt, but they remain negotiable), and you’re usually not allowed to leave them. No need for good shoes too : I escalated rocky formations with Birkenstocks without any trouble, like shown in pictures !
DO NOT FORGET WATER : with the heat and dust, you’ll get thirsty fast, and there’s no water source over there (except in the information center in Arguedas) ! Same for the food, plan a picnic, it’s really nice to eat in the shadows of the old sheds ! We bought some delicious sandwiches at Trufas in Tudela, really close to our hotel ! Take two per person, it’s quite small !
Weather wise, don’t forget it’s a desert and the weather is not the same inside. The day we went there, it was 28°C outside (82°F), but a lot of areas were really windy which made the temperature way more bearable ! It gets colder really fast when night falls ! And don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun, you won’t feel it but you’ll get some pretty bad burns !
Dogs are allowed, don’t unleash them if the “come” order is not acquired, it’s easy to loose them… And don’t forget to bring enough water to water them and cool them down ! And don’t forget any pet needs a passport to travel Europe (you’ll get the passport at your vet when you vaccinate your pet against rabies).
If you can, stay until the sun goes down, the light is absolutely gorgeous ! But be careful, the park holds a military base and closes around 8pm !
Photos : Alban & Me
We stayed at the Sercotel Tudela Bardenas *** hotel, 10mns away by walk from Tudela ‘s center and 10km away from the Bardenas Reales desert. It’s well placed, very clean and comfy and allows pets. The staff is absolutely adorable and speaks many languages (by the way, big up to Guillermo who was the nicest person ever !). WIFI is free everywhere in the hotel, there’s a private parking on demand and the price (we booked via Booking.com) was ridiculously low for the two wonderful nights we had there ! Would definetely recommand the place !
To eat, we tried the delicious sandwiches from Frutas, super close to the hotel and perfect for our little picnic in Bardenas Reales. The first night, we had diner at the Number Sixty pub, belonging to the hotel but also reachable from the outside, a very cool and fun place with an irish pub look, where you’ll find generous (and delicious) meat & cheese boards at crazy low prices : I ate a huge slice of bread soaked in olive oil and garlic with iberic ham on top… pure heaven and I only paid 6€ ! The staff is absolutely adorable, it’s a must try ! The second night, we tried eating outside, at Strauss Concept on the Plaza de los Fueros… TO AVOID : we waited for one hour and never received the freaking menu ! We left and came back to the Number Sixty pub that we loved so much and had a blast again !
To visit the city, you just need to stroll around and loose yourself in the streets, it’s very unique : some buildings are modern, some are falling apart… The Catedral and the Iglesia de la Magdalena are both beautiful and you’ll be able to see them from various places of the city. I also noticed lots of huge street art pieces, it’s gorgeous when you came across one of these inside a very small street. Finally, in the town center, you can enjoy the magnificent Plaza de los Fueros, and very close by you’ll find a few shops like Mango, Bershka ou Stradivarius, where you can do a few shopping before leaving ! But be careful though, everything is closed from 2 to 5pm !