Driving through Bardenas Reales, one of only a few deserts in Europe
Bardenas Reales is a desert natural region located in southeast Navarre in the northern part of Spain. It’s one of only a few deserts in Europe and is definitely the most impressive of them all.
The area can be discovered by several 4x4 tracks made up of clay, chalk and sandstone. The road is subject to strong winds and rapid weather changes. Be prepared for the cold and wind! High winds blow here all year long. The landscapes are the result of a very special climate made up of hot summers, cold winters and long dry periods interrupted by heavy rain. There is also a particular wind current that runs through the area, called “cierzo.” Right in the middle of the park, fenced off behind warning notices, is the biggest military zone in western Europe. If you can aim to spend a full day here exploring the countless tracks leading off the main route, there are 100,000 acres to play with, so a SatNav or an old fashioned compass and map would be essential. The journey offers an exhilarating driving experience, with superb views. An incredible journey, an unforgettable experience. The park is characterized by its semi-desert landscapes, which are very unusual for the region and in sharp contrast to the lush, green landscapes of northern Navarre. This is definitely one road trip that you want to record with lots of photographs. There are lots of viewpoints, official and unofficial. The road is a delight to drive, with every kind of twist and turn. There are two routes most commonly used by motor vehicles: from the north, taking the earth track that leaves the Carcastillo-Figarol road (el Paso) and joins the earth track that runs alongside the shooting range (at 22 km), and from the west by the tarmacked track that goes from the petrol station on the outskirts of Arguedas that joins the above track that goes round the military firing range.
The ride is rather remote, so you need to be prepared. In case of a breakdown, there is very little in the way of passing traffic or inhabitants around, and no cell phone service in parts. The area featured in dozens of films: James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, Game of Thrones, etc. It can be a reasonably easy drive in favourable dry conditions, but also has the potential to be a very difficult muddy and slippery track -and at times impassable- after wet weather. Bardenas lacks urban areas, vegetation is scarce and the many streams that cross the territory have a markedly seasonal flow, staying dry most of the year. Despite its bare and inhospitable appearance, is home to great natural values.
Pic&more info: http://www.roadtrooper.com/brilliant-motorcycle-rides-the-bardenas-reales-badlands-of-north-west-spain/