This article was translated by John R. Bopp


It’s not easy to explain what you feel when you travel through the different parts of our land.  But if we had to define what we felt while traveling through the Bardenas Reales, we’d have to use words like emotion, admiration, surprise, happiness..

Our regular readers will know that in November, we visited the southern part of Navarre, the Ribera region, to “pay off a debt” we had with that part of our land.  Our visits to this Basque territory have always been more focused on the north.  We’ve made many visits to that part of the Pyrenees, on both sides, in Upper and Lower Navarre: Pamplona, San Miguel de Aralar (we promise we’ll dedicate an entry to this place that’s so important to the Basques), and the area around Estella.  But the area of the Ribera we’d only gone through.

So, making the most of getting lucky enough to meet Santi Lorente, the creator of the touristic project “Tudela Turns Me On” (Tudela me pone), we decided to take a weekend getaway to get to know this city with him, and pay a visit to the Bardenas.  Luckily, it was a trip that allowed us to get to know these two destinations as well as the “bonus” of one of the most pleasant surprises ever (which we’ll tell you about).

The Bardenas Reales were declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2000.  And just by visiting it, you can get a true perspective of its importance and value, especially if the visit is made accompanied by a guide who knows the area well and who takes you to places that you’d never see or ever discover in a million years among its 39,273 hectares (97,000 acres).  We don’t know how to thank Alfonso Aranda for his immense knowledge, patience, and kindness during this visit. On top of this, he’s not a professional tour guide, making our gratitude even greater.

It was also a special day weather-wise, between light showers and partly cloudy skies.  This gave us the chance to enjoy this incredible landscape in dramatic lighting with extraordinary colors.  You can see this in some of the photos we’ve shared, along with the wonderfully beautiful flora that we were lucky enough to get to see.  We even got to see a herd of boars just as we started out on our journey.  That was a good omen, signalling that our trip would be unforgettable.

Roasted pigs’ feet at Belén Floristán’s Brasserie
Roasted pigs’ feet at Belén Floristán’s Brasserie

As is usual with us, we’re sharing some video and photos of some of the sights we got to see in our visit.  We always say it: we’re not experts in the places we visit, just mere tourists.  So, alongside the images, which we hope will inspire you to visit this area, we’ll leave you with some useful information to help you prepare that visit.

We’ll also leave you with the address of the “Bardenas Guides”, because, as we said, it’s worth it to make a visit guided by someone who really knows this fascinating place.  One recommendation: if you’ve never been to the Ribera region or to the Bardenas, don’t let 2018 go by without visiting southern Navarre.  It will not be disappointing in any way: its landscapes, its cuisine, its towns, and its people are amazing.  And if you have been, go back!

The Bardenas Reales website
Tour Guide Company of Bardenas Reales
Bardenas Reales, Wikipedia
Information on the Bardenas Reales at the Navarrese government Tourism website
Folleto sobre la Ribera de Turismo de Navarra (PDF)

Even though we paid for the rights to use the Dylan song in our video, we’ve run into some copyright issues. While we’re working this all out, we’ll leave another video here that should be “less controversial”