Castildetierra in the Bardenas Reales
The Bardenas Reales Park is divided in three main zones:
- The Bardena Blanca (White Bardena) is the central plain of the park and the one that is most desert-like. It is characterized by deep gorges and white ground, due to the large presence of of salt.
- The Plano (plane, flat) is a small plateau that is almost completely flat. Its soil is different here due to the Aragón River.
- The Bardena Negra (Black Bardena) is located along the border with Aragón. It is characterized by having plateaus of different altitudes and some streams at the bottom of the cliffs. The name originated from the dark soil located here. The Bardena Negra has two types of vegetation on it: on one side there are Mediterranean forests with oaks and pines and on the other side there are grain fields.
There are some smaller but interesting zones in the Bardenas such as the domain of Eguaras, or Peñaflor as it is also often referred to as. Separated from the rest of the Bardenas Reales by its elevation, it could be considered an oasis due to the large amounts of vegetation. There, you will find the ruins of the Peñaflor Castle. This castle is also known as the castle of Blanca de Navarra. Rumor has it that Blanca’s father locked her in the tower of the castle because she didn’t want to marry the prince of Aragón.
If you are interested in birds of prey, you might also want to visit the areas called “rincón del Bú” or “caídas de la Negra.” Both are known for having plenty of golden eagles, golden and Egyptian vultures, stone curlews and black bellied sandgrouses. In the “caídas de la Negra,” there are also foxes, wild cats, amphibians and reptiles.
One last area of interest in the Bardenas Reales Natural Park cannot be visited. This is because it is a bombing range used by the Spanish Air Force. Here they train and carry out bombings (without explosives inside). So, don’t be surprised if you see fighter jets soaring above your head. Sometimes, all the acrobatics going on above can make for a nice, free air show.
The Bardenas Reales can be visited from 8 am until one hour before sunset. The information center and main entrance to the park can be accessed from the road N- 134 just south (approximately 3km) from the town of Arguedas. This is the best entrance since most of the road is paved and if you are in a car you won’t have to worry about getting stuck.
There are multiple routes for visitors. It is possible to visit the park by car, 4-wheel drive, foot or bike. There are paths for both cars and bikes, and it is possible to walk through all those paths unless it is indicated otherwise. More detailed information about existing routes can be found in the website of the Bardenas Reales.