An explosion of colour
Painted Forest of Oma: Art, sport and magic in a single place. It will blow you away!
In the heart of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, there is an enchanted forest designed by artist Agustín Ibarrola: the Painted Forest of Oma.
Far from the madding crowd, somewhere between the Basondo and Oma Valleys, he presented Euskal Herria with its most famous forest.
In Ibarrola’s forest you will find references to art and nature, but, more importantly, you will be part of the work itself.
Before walking around, you should know that you will have to put colours and shapes together in the tree trunks. You will make a 3D mural that will depend on your point of view. An experience for the whole family!
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Plans for the whole family
The Painted Forest of Oma is an experience for the whole family where point of view plays a key role. Depending on their perspective, each visitor will get a different perception of the forest.
Art is universal, but perception is highly subjective. You can put this statement to the test at the Painted Forest of Oma, a work of art that can be understood in a zillion ways.
Unlike traditional painters, Agustín Ibarrola did his job on a highly peculiar canvas, cylindrical and made of wood: tree trunks. Thus, the colours and shapes you can see on the trees are brought to life according to each visitor’s point of view, creating a 3D mural.
Oma is a place where every family member will have fun. It is a forest filled with colour and magic, but it also affords great views of the Basondo and Oma Valleys, with their meadows, farm animals and baserris (farmhouses).
The forest can be explored in a two-hour loop walk, whose starting point is the Lezika grillroom. Oma is a perfect half-day plan, especially if you are coming with kids. It is mostly a flat course along the Oma Valley, a place where you will find all the peace and quiet you need.
Affording wonderful views of the valleys, it will be a great hike for every family member
This otherworldly walk begins at the Lezika grillroom, an old baserri (farmhouse) converted to a roadside restaurant by the BI-4244.
A steep trail leads to the forest path across the southern slopes of the Oma Valley. This is where Ibarrola’s geographical references come from: the valleys (Oma and Basondo), the caves (Santimamiñe), the meadows, the pre-Roman towns…
After a few kilometres, you will be at the entrance to the Oma Forest, the place where the laws of nature and the laws of art intersect. Before embarking on your hike, take a look at the map showing the types of works you will find along the way. There are three types of references: the language of art and art movements; references to geography and nature; and representations of man.
The walk proceeds downhill, stopping by the stones marking where you should stand to take a look at the paintings. Upon leaving the forest, continue down the hill to reach the road to Basondo and then turn left (to the northwest). Walk by the river, past the baserris, the green meadows and the grazing animals, which your kids are going to love.
A final uphill stretch leads back to Lezika. The grillroom is a good place for a quality meal in the Basque tradition. There is also a picnic area by the car park where you can have food you bring from home. A few metres away is the cave of Santimamiñe.
How To Get ThereThere are several ways to reach the Painted Forest of Oma. The fastest option is to come to Lezika by car, at the far end of road BI-4244, far from the BI-2238. You can also come by bus to Kortezubi, where you can take a taxi or walk for half an hour to get to the beginning of the walking tour.
The closest bus stop is in the neighbourhood of Elexalde, in Kortezubi, served by bus lines A-3513 and A-3526. Once off the bus, there is a 2km path across the district of Terlegiz to Lezika.
Upon leaving Bilbao, drive onto Corredor del Txorierri (N-637) towards San Sebastián. After some time, the road becomes the A-8. Take exit 100 in the direction of Gernika. At Amorebieta you will come to a roundabout. Take the second exit and drive on towards Gernika, past Muxika and Gernika itself. Continue along road BI-2238 to Lekeitio and then, before reaching Kortezubi, along the BI-4244, whose signs show the way to Oma and Santimamiñe. The road will take you to Lezika, where there is a car park.
Where to eat
If you like grilled food, your best option is Lezika, a roadside grillroom by the BI-4244. If offers a wide range of typical dishes from Urdaibai, such as alubiada (beans with bacon, black pudding and chorizo) or stuffed peppers. In the seafood department we recommend txipis (baby squid) or cod with bell peppers. If you are more of a beef person, they serve a finger lickin’ good entrecôte. On egin! (Enjoy!)