The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country – Family Travel in Spain

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The Oma Painted Forest was our only hiking in Basque Country, but it’s an easy place to recommend to just about anyone. It’s not the easiest or flattest path, but it’s not overly strenuous either. More than that, the views you’ll get in the Oma Painted forest are unlike any other. If you want to do some unique hiking in Basque country, this is the place for you.

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The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country — Family Travel in Spain

THE OMA PAINTED FOREST

After two great hiking experiences in the Asturias region  — the Ruta de las Xanas and the Lakes of Covadonga — we were keen to do some hiking in Basque country as well. Hiking to the Bosque Animado (the animated forest) was near the top of my list of things to do in Basque Country. Why? Well, look at these pictures and see for yourself. After seeing a few pictures like the ones I took here, I wanted to capture it with my own camera.

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country — Family Travel in Spain

WALKING TO THE OMA PAINTED FOREST

Located inside a Basque biosphere reserve, the Oma Painted forest takes some effort to visit. You can’t park a car in front of it and walk in. You have to walk about an hour each way, and there’s a lot of uphill and downhill to contend with. When we visited, the front entrance was closed due to some routine maintenance.

Because of this, we took the return route both ways. Here you follow a road and paved sidewalk through verdant landscapes of horses and farmland. The kids wanted to stop more than once to feed goats poking their heads out of nearby fences. Is this true hiking in Basque country? Perhaps not, but there was more to come.

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country — Family Travel in Spain

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain, goat

AN UPHILL CLIMB TO OMA PAINTED FOREST

Once we arrived at an entrance to the Oma Painted forest, the road became dirt and gravel. It starts as an uphill climb too, and the incline didn’t let up for 15 minutes. It’s not overly steep, but we were all winded after the climb. I don’t know about the front entrance, but I think you could push a rugged, big-wheeled stroller this way. Folding strollers with small wheels will be a nightmare in some rocky parts of the path.

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain

BEAUTY IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY

Basque artist Agustín Ibarrola painted large swathes of the forest with bright colors. He used a variety of patterns and designs that are best seen at specific angles. For example, look at how the yellow lines on the trees below form a square when seen from the right spot.

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain
The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain

There are lots of others like this: circles, lines and zigzag patterns adorn the pines.

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain
The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain
The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain



To see these as the artist intended, follow the map and look for small yellow arrows on the ground. It’s not hard. They’re everywhere.

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain

What can be more challenging, however, is to find the exact angle to view the patterns laid out on the trees before you. This is because not everyone is the same height, and a little shift to the left or right can make a big difference.

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain
The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain

HOW TO GET TO THE OMA PAINTED FOREST

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain

It’s best to park in the lot adjacent to Lezika restaurant. We bought sandwiches and ice cream here, too. Directly across the street from the restaurant is the main entrance. The route that we took (what most people only use as a return route) is on a road off the left (to the left if you’re facing the entrance). This route also had plenty of signage along the way.

NEXT TO THE OMA PAINTED FOREST

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain, The Oma Painted Forest Cueva de Santimamiñe entrance

If this wasn’t enough hiking in Basque country, I suggest taking the stairs up to the Cueva de Santimamiñe. Located just a few hundred meters from Lezika restaurant, this cave is a UNESCO World Heritage site with 47 cave paintings.

The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain, The Oma Painted Forest Cueva de Santimamiñe entrance
The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country— Family Travel in Spain, Art, Nature, Mountains, Northern Spain, The Oma Painted Forest Cueva de Santimamiñe entrance

HAVE YOU BEEN HIKING IN BASQUE COUNTRY?

We’re always looking for new places to hike. The Oma Painted forest and Cueva de Santimamiñe are a great day out, but where should we go next in the area? It’s going to be hard to top the Ruta de Las Xanas, but we’re open to any and all suggestions.

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The Oma Painted Forest: Family Hiking in Basque Country — Family Travel in Spain

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you with your journey, especially if includes the Oma Painted Forest or family hiking in Basque Country.

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