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The Magic of the Oma Forest: Art and Nature in Bizkaia

Immerse yourself in the magic of the Oma Forest, a canvas of nature and creativity in Urdaibai. Art and cultural hiking in the heart of Bizkaia.
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The Oma Forest, also known as the animated forest or enchanted forest, has become one of the most fascinating tourist destinations in Bizkaia, in the Basque Country. This unique place in the world mixes the majesty of nature with human creativity, offering an unparalleled cultural hiking experience. In the heart of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, the artist Agustín Ibarrola has turned a traditional forest into a living canvas, where art merges with the trees and the landscape. Prepare your senses to immerse yourself in the magic of the Oma Forest, a spectacle of colors and shapes that invites reflection and amazement.

How to Get There and Best Hiking Routes

To get to the Oma Forest, located near the small town of Kortezubi, you can do it by car from Bilbao, taking the BI-2238 road towards Gernika-Lumo and then following the signs to the forest. If you prefer public transport, there are bus lines that connect Bilbao with Kortezubi, but keep in mind that it may be necessary to walk a distance to reach the start of the hiking trails.

Once in the area, you will find several signposted routes that will guide you through the “painted forest.” These trails are designed not only to appreciate the works of art, but also to enjoy the natural environment and the tranquility it offers. The main route of the Oma Forest is easy to navigate and can be completed in about two or three hours, depending on the time you stop to contemplate each work and the landscape.

Agustín Ibarrola: Nature and Creativity Intertwined

Agustín Ibarrola is the artist and visionary behind this project, which began in the 1980s. His works in Bosque de Oma represent a fusion between art and nature, provoking a dialogue between the viewer, the landscape and the work. Ibarrola uses tree trunks as canvases, on which he paints geometric figures, animals and human forms that, when viewed from certain angles, create surprising three-dimensional images.

Ibarrola’s art does not remain on the surface; He seeks to provoke reflection on the relationship between human beings and the environment and how both can coexist in harmony. Walking through Oma Forest, one feels part of a total work of art, where each step reveals a new perspective and a new message.

Oma Forest

Tips for a Respectful and Safe Visit

To ensure an enriching and environmentally friendly experience, it is important to follow some tips:

  • Respect the signs and do not leave the established trails.
  • Do not touch or damage the paintings on the trees; They are fragile works of art and exposed to inclement weather.
  • Wear appropriate footwear for walking through the forest and clothing appropriate for the weather.
  • Avoid playing loud music or making excessive noise; Part of the charm of the forest is its tranquility.
  • If you are visiting the forest in a group, consider a guided tour to gain a deeper understanding of the works and their meaning.
  • Respect the flora and fauna of the place; Remember that you are in a Biosphere Reserve.
  • Keep the forest clean; Take any waste with you until you find a suitable place to dispose of it.

The Oma Forest is a manifestation of Basque cultural heritage and an example of ecological tourism. The Provincial Council of Bizkaia, aware of the importance of this place, supports its conservation and promotes environmental and cultural education among its visitors. Furthermore, to improve the experience on your website, the cookie policy provides clear information on their use and management, ensuring efficient and personalized navigation.

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Oma Forest is more than a tourist destination; It is a space for reflection and connection with nature and art. If you plan to visit it, remember to inform yourself properly and follow the visiting regulations to guarantee the preservation of this unique place.

To complement your visit, don’t forget to explore the nearby Santimamiñe Cave and its archaeological wealth. And if you are still wondering what the Oma Forest means, the answer lies in the personal and non-transferable experience that each visitor lives when entering this world of colors, shapes and messages intertwined with the natural environment.

People also asked

The Oma Forest continues to be a prominent tourist destination in Bizkaia, where art mixes with nature thanks to Agustín Ibarrola’s paintings on the trees.

You can visit the Oma Forest following signposted hiking routes and, for a better understanding of the works, it is recommended to obtain prior information or participate in a guided tour.

The time to visit the Oma Forest can vary, but it is recommended to dedicate at least half a day to fully enjoy the experience and the works of art.

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Irene was born and raised in Bilbao. She has a deep rooted passion for her country and culture. She has a Bachelors degree in education and has traveled to over 85 countries throughout the world.
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Zachary was born in Michigan, USA. He has lived in the Basque Country for over 10 years, and fell in love with the natural beauty and quality of life found here. He earned a Bachelors degree in economics from DePaul University in Chicago.