Ibarrola oma forest Basque Spain

Oma Forest – Colorful And Fantasy Forest In Basque Country, Spain

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Go to the colorful Oma Forest

The first time I heard the name of colorful “painted forest”, I was very interested in it and yearning. This name is very alluring, it feels like entering a fairy tale world.

artist ibarrola forest painted basque

My friend and I set off from Bilbao and took a bus to the colorful forest. We were very excited and full of expectations and imagination along the way. Because the colorful forest is far away from the urban area and isolated from the world. Particularly, it has dreamy colors.

way street forest basque spain
trees green clouds basque spain

The colorful Oma forest is near Kortezubi in Basque Country, Spain. The forest is known as “Bosque de Oma” , “painted forest”, “Bosque Animado” ( “animated forest”), or “Bosque Ibarrola”.  The Oma forest was created in 1982 and completed in 1985. The forest is one part of Land Art movement.

kortezubi forest oma basque spain

Inside the Oma Forest

How is the Oma Forest?

After getting off the bus, we walked through some small paths and came to the colorful forest. The trunks are painted with various colors and patterns by the artist. It was a lot of fun to walk around and search for patterns in this little forest.

path forest green woods basque

There was almost no one in the forest that day except me and my friend. The quiet atmosphere sets off the uniqueness of this place, which is like an outdoor art museum and gallery.

ibarrola oma bosque painted spain

Take a walk in the forest to see the patterns, the colors, the sky, and the trees. Art and nature are integrated. The combination of human wisdom and the environment creates a fascinating space.

land art forest oma spain

This is a great place for those who love nature as well as art. The body and mind are relaxed. You can have rich vision, enjoy breathing the fresh air, and have fun outdoor activities.

forest oma pinted ibarrola kortezubi

There are some eye-like patterns in the forest. I found an interesting way to take pictures: hide the face behind the tree to reveal only half of the face, and then put one eye on the same level as the other eye on the tree. It forms a face that combines a tree and a person, which is very interesting.

Who created Oma forest?

Oma forest was painted with many colors by a Spanish painter and sculptor, Agustin Ibarrola. He was inspired by the cave art in the Santimamiñe caves that are near the forest. He wanted to apply the same cave art technique on the trunks in forest. His paintings are on many Monterey pines and he wants to show the harmony between nature and human.

colorful oma forest ibarrola basque

That’s why many paintings in the forest have shapes of human, animal and geometric figures. Some painting cannot be seen by looking at only one tree. Because some paintings can be seen form certain angle with combination of multiple trees. 

forest woods kortezubi spain basque

On the way back from Oma Forest

On our way back, it suddenly began to rain. We needed to take the bus back, only to find out that the bus was late. We waited a long time in the rain and there was still no bus until it got dark. Finally, we ended up waiting almost two hours for the bus.

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pony horse forest kortezubi basque

Everything went smoothly on the way here but waiting for the bus on the way back became a long way off. Fortunately, this is a very special trip, otherwise the despair while waiting for the bus would cast a shadow over the trip.

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Travel tips: I suggest that it is better to go to the Oma Forest by car, otherwise the uncertainty of relying on public transportation can cause difficulties.

trees leaves wood basque spain

Now Oma Forest is being relocated to a nearby Basobarri Forest. Because a fungal disease in 2019 was killing trees and destroying paintings.  The new painted forest is expected to open to public in summer 2023. Many people are looking forward to the reborn of the Oma forest.

Author: Hua

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