The Bardenas Desert by Motorhome: rentals, tips, areas, itineraries

bardenas-espagne

Ever dreamed of driving along Route 66? You don’t have to go all the way to the USA! Here, in Spain, you’ll be able to enjoy the thrills of the Bardenas desert by motorhome.

The Bardenas Desert is located in the south-east of Navarre. The natural shapes of the Bardenas Reales are the result of rain and erosion over the last few million years. Plains, lunar rock massifs, ravines and hills, come and discover a landscape that’s out of the ordinary!

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of Spain’s most beautiful natural sites. It is the 2nd largest desert in Europe. It covers 42,500 hectares. And yet, it wasn’t very popular until the 1980s. Indeed, the Bardenas desert gradually revealed its charms and potential to hikers over the following decade.

What did they like? Find out in the article below. So, let’s get going and find out how to visit the Bardenas Desert by motorhome.

How do I park in the Bardenas Desert with a motorhome?

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – Iakov Filimonov

Spending a day in the Bardenas desert: parking lots

To begin with, there are two parking lots in Arguedas:

  • One is next to the information point, where you can get advice from the hostesses and maps of the desert. The parking lot and information point are located at the entrance to the park.
  • The other,  » Parking Parque Senda Viva « , is at Parque Senda Viva, further into the park. Both parking lots are free, with 48-hour parking available. Ideal for visiting the Bardenas Desert by motorhome.

Alternatively, another parking lot is Carcastillo, located at Calle Carretera 75. This parking lot is next to the swimming pool and sports complex. Free use of pool showers, park entrance 8 km away, Carcastillo center 250 m away. Need wifi? It’s free! As is your pitch.

To spend several days on site: campsites

Only one campsite remains: Camping Bardenas. The address? Ctra NA-660 PK 13.431330, Villafranca. It has an outdoor swimming pool, and bike hire is also available. And if you need more, internet and parking are free. For €20 a night, enjoy a location close to the Bardenas desert!

However, if you prefer peace and quiet, take advantage of the surrounding areas. The campsite pitches are located along the road.

Motorhome parks around the Bardenas desert

Aire Argentina in Tudela

For your motorhome tour of the Bardenas desert, the Argentina area in Tudela is ideal. Chemical toilet disposal, sewage disposal and water available, all free of charge. The good news? You can stay for 72 hours! The address? Avenida de la Argentina 20.

Motorhome park in Arguedas

Like the Argentina area in Tudela, you can use the various services free of charge. However, you won’t be able to stay on site for more than 48 hours. Address: Calle Bordón.

How and where to rent a motorhome in France?

Would you like to explore the Bardenas desert in a motorhome, but don’t have your own vehicle? It’s now very easy to rent these vehicles between private individuals, especially in France. There are a number of online rental platforms, such as Yescapa.

How does it work?

  • First, you need to choose the motorhome in your city (e.g. Bordeaux, Nantes, Toulouse, Paris, Montpellier or Marseille).
  • Make sure you choose unlimited mileage, check the number of berths available and whether international travel is possible.
  • Make your rental request online and share your travel information (dates, rental options, mileage, etc.) with the owner.
  • If your request is accepted and after payment, you will have access to the owner’s contact details to arrange a first meeting.
  • On the day, present your driver’s license and pay the deposit.
  • An inventory of fixtures is drawn up and a rental contract is signed by both parties. You’ll need to sign it as soon as you return from Spain, and once you’ve done that, you’re all set!

Itinerary ideas around the Bardenas desert

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – ESB Basic

Having trouble deciding which points of interest to visit? Do you think the area is too big to see everything in a weekend? Or would you prefer to go away for a whole week?

So here are three different itineraries: two for a weekend and one for a week. It’s up to you to arrange them according to your interests.

Weekend itinerary

If you want to discover the desert over a two-day weekend, there’s no better way than to visit two of its most emblematic spots:

  • Day 1: El Rallon, a 500-meter-high hike with a sublime view of the entire desert. Allow 4 hours 30 minutes to complete the walk;
  • Day 2: laguna de Pitillas, stroll through this 216-hectare marsh and discover birds of all kinds, including storks, grebes, bee-eaters and marsh harriers.

Itinerary for a weekend between city and nature

Visiting the Bardenas Desert in a motorhome also means taking a trip between the city and nature. So, for a weekend based on these two themes, here’s our ideal itinerary:

  • Day 1: Mirador de la Ribera, for an unparalleled view of the desert. As an added bonus, you’ll have access to a barbecue area and a children’s playground on site;
  • Day 2: Nuestra Senora del Yugo chapel, visit this magnificent 17th-century building;
  • Day 3: Castildetierra, in the heart of the desert, admire the Fairy Chimney, whose strange shape is caused by wind erosion.

One-week itinerary

Are you a nature lover who just wants to visit this facet of the Bardenas Desert in a motorhome? But also want to see the wonders the desert has to offer? Then we’ve got the perfect itinerary for you for a whole week.

  • Day 1: The Arguedas caves, a visit to these ancient houses dug out of the rock to shelter inhabitants who could not afford a house at the time;
  • Day 2: Cabezo de las Cortinillas, a hike in a unique setting with breathtaking views from the summit. You’ll need to be prepared, however, as you’ll have to climb no fewer than 219 steps. But you won’t regret it once you reach the top;
  • Day 3: the Piskerra, an even more challenging hike than the previous one, with a 300-meter vertical drop over 10 km. It takes around 4 h 30 and is a real challenge. Please note that it is not signposted and is only open from September to the end of January;
  • Day 4: Monasterio de la Oliva in Carcastillo, visit this former monastery, still occupied today. This building combines Gothic and Romanesque architecture, and is considered one of the most perfect examples of the Hispano-Languedocian school. A visit not to be missed;
  • Day 5: Visit the Royal Palace of Olite, once home to the court of the Kings of Navarre. This is one of the most luxurious castles of the Middle Ages. Even today, it is richly decorated and occasionally hosts medieval festivities. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time for a day;
  • Day 6 and 7: Tudela, visit Navarre’s second-largest city, rich in heritage and history. Enjoy its incredible mix of cultures, both in architecture and food! Indeed, the city’s mix of typically European buildings and Islamic architecture is a delight to the eye. And of course, don’t forget to visit the old town, a must-see when visiting the Bardenas Desert in a motorhome.