The Painted Forest of Oma – Basque Country

The Painted Forest of Oma is one of the Basque Country’s best kept secrets.

On our most recent trip to Spain we did a road trip in the Basque Country (Euskadi, in Basque) from Bilbao to San Sebastián with a couple of stops along the way. Among our favorites was the Painted Forest of Oma, located in the natural reserve of Urdaibai, near the town of Kortezubi.

The trees are painted to create an illusion of unity.
Northern Spain called the Basque Country

We parked at the top left of the map and hiked the trail as marked by the red line up to the forest. Screen shot taken from Google Maps.

The trek to the painted trees.
The first signs of the Painted Forest.

Once you arrive you’ll find a stationary map marking the image locations, and for more guidance there are yellow triangular markers on the ground which you should stand at to see the image properly.

Ibarrola used strokes of color on multiple trees at different depths, and by standing at a particular point one can see the image take shape.

Gradually, more and more images reveal themselves.

My personal favorite is the rainbow, extending across countless trees.

We were so relieved to only come across a small handful of people the entire 45 minutes or so that we wandered through the Painted Forest. After taking it all in, we continued down the path through the forest until we reached what is technically the “entrance.” At that point we thought we’d seen it all — but nay! We headed west on the road through the valley with picturesque views of the kelly green farmlands, livestock, and traditional Basque houses of white stone, red or brown trim, and flowers decorating the windowsills.

From the forest to the car, the walk was about an hour or so. We might have passed all of 5 cars walking back. It was a serene, peaceful ending to our hike.

We’ll be bringing you future posts on Bilbao, San Sebastián, and our stops in between. Thanks for stopping by, and we hope to see you in the future! Please comment if you like what you see! – Brandi Bondesen

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