Deserts in Spain

Tabernas desert

If we talk to you about deserts in SpainYour first reaction is probably surprise. When we think of these arid landscapes, we take our minds to places like Egypt, the Sahara o China, where is the famous Gobi.

However, there are also desert areas in our country. At least if we understand these as places with a dry climate and sparsely populated by both flora and fauna. In any case, they all make up unique ecosystems in the Old Continent and visiting them will fascinate you. For all this, we are going to talk to you about deserts in Spain and what you can see in its surroundings if you come to visit them.

Tabernas, the most popular of the deserts in Spain

Tabernas Castle

The castle of Tabernas

This desert space is, perhaps, the most famous of those that exist in our country. This is largely due to the film shoots that were made and continue to be filmed in its realistic west town, now converted into a theme park.

As you know, Tabernas is in the province of Almería and occupies an area of ​​almost three hundred square kilometers. Its temperatures range between zero degrees on winter nights and fifty on summer days. Likewise, its rainfall is very scarce and, when it does occur, it is usually torrential.

In any case, this desert has a huge wealth for science. Thousands of years ago, it was a surface covered by the sea. And for this reason there have been many Fossil remains of both animals and plants. In addition, it has more flora and fauna than we might think. The first ones represent the woody shrub, endemic to the area, the salicornia or the prickly pear. Regarding the second, you can see in Tabernas mammals such as the fox or the rabbit and birds such as the red partridge or the eagle owl.

On the other hand, since you are in this desert, we advise you to take the opportunity to visit the western town that we mentioned, a theme park in which you will feel like Clint Eastwood en El bueno, el feo y el malo. But you can also see the Tabernas castle, a Nasrid-style Muslim fortress built in the XNUMXth century, and the hermitage of San Sebastián, a small Gothic-style temple built in the XIII. Finally, go to the beautiful town of rowanberries, with its white houses and its spectacular karstic landscape.

Los Monegros, a desert in Aragon

Lands of the Monegros

Los Monegros, one of the deserts in Spain

This desert area is in full Ebro valley and covers 276 hectares. Likewise, it encompasses thirty-one municipalities and forty-nine towns. But the most important thing about this space is that it constitutes a unique ecosystem in western Europe, more typical of the eastern steppes.

You can visit Los Monegros touring some of the many hiking and biking trails What does it offer. Thus, you will see impressive landscapes, with ravines and special protection areas for birds, but also with bunkers from the Civil War.

Its climate is semi-desert and, as in the case of Tabernas, it has flora and fauna. Regarding the first, juniper, bushes and certain cereal plants stand out. As for the second, you can see wild boars, foxes, rabbits and birds of prey. But, above all, scientists have found in the Monegros up to 120 species of new arthropods and more typical of the steppes of Asia.

On the other hand, we recommend that you take advantage of your trip to Los Monegros to visit some of the towns in the area. we could talk to you about Torralba de Aragon, Bujaraloz, Polenino o Alcubierre, but we have chosen two others: lecinena y Villanueva of Sigena.

The first is a town in the province of Zaragoza with barely one thousand one hundred inhabitants. In it, you have to visit the imposing church of Our Lady of the Assumption, built in the XNUMXth century combining Gothic and Renaissance classicism. And also him Sanctuary of the Virgin of Magallón, whose origins date back to the XNUMXth century, although it was completed in the XNUMXth. Finally, leaving the town has The Three Strikes, a set of trenches from the Civil War.

For its part, Villanueva de Sigena is known because it was there that Michael Servetus. You can visit the house of the Renaissance theologian and scientist. But even more interesting is the Royal Monastery of Sigena, built in the XNUMXth century and which houses a very relevant pictorial ensemble.

The Bardenas Reales

Royal Bardenas

The Bardenas Reales

We are not going very far to talk to you about this other desert area, since it is between the communities of Aragón and Navarra. It is currently protected by declarations of biosphere reserve and natural park. In terms of its dimensions, it has almost forty thousand hectares.

It has clay, sand and gypsum soils eroded by water that have created unique forms of ravines, plateaus and hills. It has a cold semi-arid climate and, from a geomorphological point of view, it is usually divided into three zones. The Plane It is located to the north and is a plateau where cereals and rosemary grow. The White bardena, in the center, is the most desert. And finally the Black bardena, to the south, has extensions of Aleppo pine and scrub.

As for the fauna, you can see in this desert area birds such as the curlew and the Dupont's lark, reptiles such as the leprous pond turtle and the Iberian lizard, snakes such as the ladder snake and amphibians such as the marbled newt. But there are also some very interesting towns. we could talk to you about Arguedas, Cabanillas, Carcastillo o Corella, but we have chosen one from Navarra and another from Aragón.

The first is Villafranca, which belongs to the Merindad de Tudela and which has an extraordinary Baroque monumental complex. In part or in whole, included in this style are the parish church of Santa Eufemia, convent of Our Lady of Carmen and Basilica of Our Lady of the Portal. As for the civil constructions, do not forget to see the own Town Hall ni the palaces of Rodezno and Bobadilla.

On the other hand, the second is Ejea of ​​the Knights, belonging to the Aragonese region of Cinco Villas. visit in her the churches of Santa María de la Corona and San Salvador, both Romanesque, and that of Our Lady of Olive, baroque. But we also advise you to see the Aragonese-style mansions that are found in its streets. For example, the Venture House and of the Carlist.

Los Coloraos, one of the least known deserts in Spain


Gorafe, with the desert in the background

It occupies a large space in the municipalities of Gorafe y Villanueva of the Towers, in the province of Granada. As you may have guessed, it owes its name to the reddish color of its semi-desert soils subjected to erosion for thousands of years. The result is an incomparable landscape of canyons, gullies and boulevards. It is included in the Global Network of Geoparks and offers you beautiful routes for hiking, cycling or horseback riding.

As for what you can see, from Gorafe there is a route that takes you to the so-called Megalithic Park, an archaeological site that includes thirty-seven dolmens. You should also visit the remains of the castle and the Raven Fortressas well as a Parish Church of the Assumption, a Mudejar jewel. All this without forgetting the cave houses, a group of dwellings carved into the rock that have been preserved since the Almohad era.

On the other hand, you can also visit Villanueva de las Torres. In this, we advise you to visit the Alicun baths, whose medicinal waters are used today by a spa. And also the St Anne's Parish Church, inside which there are several images of the school of Alonso Cano and a Christ from the times of the Catholic Monarchs.

El Jable, in Lanzarote

The Jable

Jable Desert, in Lanzarote

Actually, much of the Canary Island of Lanzarote it could be considered desert because it is composed of volcanic ash and dry lava. But we are going to talk to you now about the Jable desert, a very unique space. Because its soils are not made up of sand, but of crushed sea shells that the wind has deposited on this earth.

Due to its lack of rainfall and the richness of these soils, it is a suitable place for dry farming. But, in addition, it is an area of ​​special protection for birds and a terrain with numerous hiking trails, as well as offering you some very beautiful villages.

This is the case of Teguise, a beautiful villa in the purest Canarian style. In it, you must visit the castle of Santa Barbara, a fortress built in the XNUMXth century that today houses the curious Piracy Museum. To the same period belongs the Mother Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, while the hermitages of Santísimo Cristo de la Vera Cruz and San Rafael have been documented since the XNUMXth century.

The convents of San Francisco and Santo Domingo They are examples of Canarian religious architecture. And the Spinola Palace It is a stately mansion from the XNUMXth century. Finally, the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, in Famara, houses the image of the Patron Saint of the island of Lanzarote and the Cactus Garden, in Guatiza, is a unique work of César Manrique.

In conclusion, we have shown you some of the deserts in Spain. However, apart from Tabernas, the rest are rather desert areas. But, in addition, there are others. For example, him Jandía Natural Park, with its dunes, in Fuerteventura or the call maggot desert, of almost sixty thousand hectares, in Jaén. Don't you think they are very curious places?

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