Anything But Paella

The Painted Forest of Oma

This extraordinary sight in the North of Spain was originally blogged about in March 2013.

Painted Forest of Oma


A short drive from Guernika we found one of the most extraordinary sights we have seen on Northern Spain – the Painted Forest of Oma. To get there we had to park up in the small village of Lezika where we had lunch at the restaurant. If you have time you can also visit the Santimamine Caves. We didn’t have enough time but it looks like there are some impressive cave paintings inside.

Painted Forest of OmaFrom there you have to proceed on foot. We decided to walk up through the forest of Oma instead of taking the low road to the village of the same name. It was an easy to follow footpath and is quite well maintained. The only danger at the moment is the number of processional caterpillars. The barbs on their skin could cause quite a severe allergic reaction in many people! Nevertheless, it was quite impressive to see them making their way up the hill alongside us!!

Painted Forest of OmaAt the highest point of the path a signpost leads you downhill deep into the forest. Before you know it you are surrounded by bizarre colourful shapes in the trees and it all feels a bit surreal. Luckily there are yellow markers in the ground which tell you where to stand and which direction you should be looking in to get the best view of the paintings. After seeing the Guernica in the Woods painting a few months ago, I think we were expecting something similar. Unfortunately the paintings at Oma are not quite that impressive. Even so, it’s quite a bizarre experience wandering through the pine trees and seeing the random collections of shapes and colours come together to form recognisable shapes. There are far too many pictures to try to see and they cover a wide area up and downhill.

Oma Valley

After having our fill of psychadelic artwork we made our way further downhill leaving the forest at the tiny village of Oma. It’s quite traditionally Basque with its architecture and it was extremely peaceful away from the main road. About 3km along the path we were back at our car and heading home to Pamplona before darkness fell. Quite an experience really!

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