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A guide to Europe's unknown deserts
Posted on 14/06/2015 , Modified on 15/06/2015

NatureSpain

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DESERT: No need to travel far in search of a desert holiday, Europe has plenty desert destinations on offer.

What is a desert? Deserts are areas with an annual precipitation of less than 250 millimetres or areas where more water is lost through evaporation than falls through precipitation. On hearing the word your mind will undoubtedly conjures up images of endless sands of the Sahara of Gobi. However, you might be surprised to learn that not only do most continents have deserts, but they can even be found in Europe! And it is European deserts, or semi-deserts, that this list is dedicated to.

Tabernas Desert, Spain

Tabernas Desert, Spain
© Vetbonkie

The Tabernas Desert is located in Spain's south-eastern province of Almeria. It covers an area of 280 square kilometres and is a protected wilderness area. Because of its similarities with North American and African deserts, Tabernas has often been used as a location when making movies, specifically westerns.

Deliblatska Pescara, Serbia

Deliblatska Pescara, Serbia
© Dragan Stanojevi?

Deliblatska Pescara can be found in the Serbian province of Vojvodina. With an area of over 300 square kilometres it is Europe's largest desert. The Deliblato sands were once a part of a vast prehistoric desert that covered a considerable part of today's Europe. Within its hilly landscape numerous endangered plant and animal species can be found, including: 20 different species of orchids and the mole rat.

Bledow Desert, Poland

Bledow Desert, Poland
© Barry Martin

Poland's Bledow Desert covers an area of 32 square kilometres, with the majority of it located in the Silesian Highlands. Although smaller than the other deserts on this list, Bledow is considered Central Europe's largest deposit of loose sand away from the sea. What is perhaps even stranger than a desert located in the centre of one of Europe's greenest countries is the multi-million EUR project funded by the EU to preserve it, as the return on indigenous vegetation has led to fears that this oddity would one day disappear from Poland's landscape

Accona Desert, Italy

Accona Desert, Italy
© renzo dionigi

The Accona Desert is located in Tuscany, in the middle of the Crete Senesi. The Accona Desert is defined by calanques and dome-shaped formations known locally as "biancane", due to their white hue. Even though it gets on average more precipitation than the other deserts on this list, 600 millimetres annually, the landscape of the Accona remains mostly absent of any significant vegetation.

Monegros Desert, Spain

Monegros Desert, Spain
© PierreG_09

The Monegros Desert is a semi-desert located in Aragon, north-eastern Spain. The Monegros Deserts spans across the provinces of Zaragoza and Huesca. Perhaps its greatest claim to fame is the electronic music festival that it hosts annually. The Monegros desert festival, which is usually held in July, attracts numerous renowned Spanish and international DJs as well as thousands of revellers. Unfortunately, this year's event has been cancelled due to a conflict with one of the estates that ones the land where the festival usually takes place.

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