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Bosque de Oma photo

The Bosque de Oma (Forest of Oma), also known as the ‘Bosque pintado’ (Painted Forest), is a work of art in nature created by the painter and sculptor from Bilbao Agustín Ibarrola.

⚠ NOTICE: ACCESS TO THE BOSQUE DE OMA REMAINS CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE AND CONSERVATION OF THE TREES THERE, AS WELL AS FOR VISITORS’ SAFETY.

Closed to the public – the future of Ibarrola’s painted trees

Since spring 2019 the Bosque de Oma has remained closed to the public in order to look after and maintain the forest, and for safety reasons due to the risk of falling trees.

Despite the closure, many visitors have continued to ignore the warnings and enter the ‘enchanted wood’ in search of a photo of one of the emblematic spots in Biscay, or simply to enjoy a walk in a setting that combines art and nature. As a result, the Diputación Foral de Bizkaia (Territorial Administration of Biscay) closed the area in February 2020, asking people to respect the prohibition of visiting Oma and explaining the reasons for the closure and the future plans for the woods to keep Ibarrola’s work alive while respecting the natural environment

Ever since Ibarrola created the Painted Forest – one of his most famous works – it was known that it was ephemeral art due to the life cycle of the trees there. Moreover, most of these trees have been affected by the ‘brown-backed cockroach’ pest, so the Deputation has been working in two areas: environmental and cultural:

  • As part of its commitment to the environment, it is a case of saving as many trees as possible and replanting the woods with local species.
  • As part of its commitment to art it aims to save the artistic ensemble of Oma (which has become an image and symbol for Biscay). The intention is to keep Ibarrola’s work alive by opening as many parts of the forest that can be saved as possible and, in the future, creating a reproduction of the Painted Forest.

The idea is to reproduce the paintings of Oma in another forest nearby that is accessible and has the same characteristics, while caring for the environment. A group of experts is working on the project, but the future location has not been decided yet.

Get to know the artistic ensemble of the Bosque de Oma (‘the painted forest’)

As mentioned above, visits to the Bosque de Oma are prohibited for the time being. However, you can get to know all the details of the site, one of the favourite excursions of people from Biscay until recently.

Ibarrola’s work consists of paintings on tree trunks that simulate geometric, human and even animal figures. Most of the trees used by the artist are pines.
The charm of these paintings lies in that they are seen from different angles. One trunk alone does not convey a message, but if you stand in a certain place -defined by the author- the trunks make up other images. The work changes according to the perspective as you walk through the woods. It is a spectacular way to combine art and nature.

With 47 figures, the Bosque de Oma was a favourite place to spend a day with the family. The route to the woods is along a path from a nearby car park that takes about 40 minutes to walk. Once inside the woods, the route is quite easy to follow: it consists of a 7-kilometre circular path that can be walked in about 2 hours, plus the time you may want to contemplate the work and the natural landscape that surrounds it.

The Painted Forest is located in Kortezubi, very close to the Cuevas de Santimamiñe (caves), another emblematic place in Biscay.

The Bosque de Oma was created between 1982 and 1985 and is part of the contemporary trend known as Land Art, an artistic current that works directly on the natural environment, with the landscape as the painter’s canvas. 

How to get there (but do not forget that visits to the Bosque de Oma are prohibited until further notice)

By car: follow the road from Gernika to Lekeitio and take a turning off to the right before reaching Kortezubi. There is a sign to ‘Cuevas de Santimamiñe’. Further long the road you reach a car park next to the Lezika restaurant. You have to leave your car there and continue the route on foot. Public transport: the bus service drops you in Kortezubi and you have to complete the route on foot.

Establishments nearby

Lezika Restaurante Asador

Basondo, 8 (Kortezubi)

Restaurants

0.87 km

Baserri Maitea Restaurante

Barrio Atxondoa - Caserío Alluntz (Forua)

Restaurants

2.32 km

Oiz Bide Bar

Don Tello, 34 (Gernika-Lumo)

Bars and cafés

2.67 km

Bake Eder Bar

Pablo Picasso, 11 (Gernika-Lumo)

Bars and cafés | Night life

2.87 km

Ermintxo Jatetxea

Bº Elexalde, 30 (Natxitua) (Ea)

Bars and cafés | Restaurants

2.88 km

Sonsierra Bar

Industria, 7 (Gernika-Lumo)

Bars and cafés

2.92 km

Musutruk Kafe Antzokia

Industria, 10 (Gernika-Lumo)

Bars and cafés | Night life

2.93 km

Etxarte Bar

Barrencalle, 6 (Gernika-Lumo)

Bars and cafés

3.11 km

Accommodation nearby

Castillo de Arteaga

(Gautegiz Arteaga)

0.94 km

Itsasmin Ostatua

(Elantxobe)

4.05 km

Gametxo

(Ibarrangelu)

4.59 km

Portuondo

(Mundaka)

4.77 km

El Puerto

(Mundaka)

5.33 km

Zubieta

(Lekeitio)

6.78 km

Piñupe

(Lekeitio)

6.80 km

Trinkete etxea aterpetxea

(Lekeitio)

6.89 km

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