MADRID – More than a third of Spain – a country famous for its beach holidays – is covered in forest. Some forests are more densely covered than others, but the amount certainly offers sufficient choice for those who like to be among trees.
While it can be too hot in summer for a brisk walk in the woods, winter is an excellent season to explore the most beautiful forests in the country. It is also positive that you can find a forest in every corner of the country to get some fresh air. In autumn and winter, the forests transform into magical landscapes. First due to the wide palette of autumn shades that they show and later due to frost and in many cases snow. In this article we hope to inspire you to take a winter hike with a list of some of the most beautiful forests in Spain.
Parque Nacional de Garajonay, Tenerife
Garajonay, on the island of La Gomera, is known for its unique laurel forests. It is an ancient and moist subtropical forest that was typical of large parts of Europe and North Africa millions of years ago. These forests are rare today and contain a rich diversity of plant species. In addition, many endemic plant species grow there, which makes the area ecologically very significant. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986, this forest offers hiking trails through a historic wonderland, especially since fog often prevails.
Parque Natural de los Alcornocales, Cadiz
Cádiz is home to the Parque Natural de los Alcornocales, one of the largest cork oak forests in the world. Thanks to the different microclimates on the border of Atlantic and Mediterranean influences, this park offers impressive nature. If you walk in higher parts, you even have a beautiful view of the African coast. Meanwhile, the many babbling brooks and other water sources form a beautiful acoustic backdrop.
Bosque de La Dehesa, Teruel
In Teruel is the Bosque de La Dehesa, part of the Puertos de Beceite Nature Reserve. This forest is ideal for relaxing in nature, with several hiking trails that highlight the beauty of the area. Routes such as Fuente del Berro, the Ruta del Enebro, del Bosque de los Aromas and of the abandoned villages are popular among hikers. You will see a variety of holm oaks, Portuguese oaks and Aleppo pines.
Bosque de la Herreria, Madrid
Near Madrid is the Bosque de la Herrería in the Sierra de Guadarrama. This forest offers people who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city not only a rich flora and fauna, but also proximity to cultural heritage in the form of the famous Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial. This royal palace has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The combination of natural beauty and historical interest makes this area particularly attractive to visitors.
Bosque del Cobre, Lugo
In Lugo you will find the Bosque del Cobre, an enchanting Atlantic forest known for its cascades, rivers and moss-covered trees. The forest offers fantastic photo opportunities, from the lush vegetation and water flows to the beautiful autumn colours. Bosque del Cobre means ‘copper forest’ in Spanish, referring to the spectacular colour change in autumn. It is part of the European Natura 2000 network and offers spectacular scenery.
Bosque de Muniellos, Asturias
Starting in Asturias, the Bosque de Muniellos invites you for a serene walk. It is one of the largest and best preserved oak forests in Spain, a haven for nature observers. There is a chance to see brown bears or Iberian wolves here. With robust oak trees over 400 years old, this forest is a must-see for any nature lover who can travel along a well-marked network of hiking trails. Please note that access is regulated. You must request authorisation via this website (in Spanish) about three weeks before your visit.
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Sierra de Cazorla, Jaen
In the northeast of Andalucia lies the largest protected nature reserve in Spain and also the largest contiguous forest. This is where the Guadalquivir, the most important river of Andalucia, originates, along which the cities of Córdoba and Seville are also located. Despite its southern location, this area has plenty of water all year round thanks to the many water sources. Numerous companies offer activities such as rafting, kayaking, and other outdoor pursuits. Due to its popularity, the nature reserve offers excellent facilities, such as hotels, campsites, a Parador, and other accommodation options. They are mainly concentrated in and around the villages of Cazorla and Arroyo Frío. When evening falls you regularly come face to face with deer, foxes, and wild boars. With limestone rock, deep gorges, and spectacular waterfalls, it is ideal for walking.
Bosque de Oma, Vizcaya
In Vizcaya is the Bosque de Oma, also known as the ‘Bosque Animado’ or ‘enchanted forest’ in the Basque province of Vizcaya. This forest is unique because of the impressive paintings on the trees, made by the Spanish artist Agustín Ibarrola. The colourful images and patterns on the trees have enchanted many hikers since the 1980s. By changing your angle, the art you see also changes.
La Fageda d’en Jordà, Girona
In Girona lies La Fageda d’en Jordà, a forest that grows on volcanic soil. Due to its location on a lava flow from the Croscat volcano, the forest has a unique and rare character. The landscape is dotted with beech trees that take unique, whimsical shapes, resulting in a spectacular setting. The unique aesthetic of the forest has inspired many artists and poets, including the famous Catalan poet Joan Maragall.
Sierra de la Demanda, Burgos
In Burgos, the Sierra de la Demanda offers a rich combination of nature, culture and history. With its diverse flora, fauna and rugged rock formations, it is an ideal destination for an adventurous walk with challenging climbs, but the not so ambitious hiker will also get his money’s worth. In winter there is skiing here. In ancient times, the Romans searched here for minerals. Traces of Roman roads and buildings have been found, as well as objects.
Selva de Irati, Navarre
In Navarre you will find the Selva de Irati, a forest that enchants visitors with its vibrant colours and fairytale atmosphere. It is the second largest and best preserved beech and spruce forest in Europe, after the Black Forest in Germany. Hikers and photographers can indulge themselves in this vast wilderness, rich in biodiversity and home to many animals such as deer and wild boar. There are also many routes for mountain bikers.
La Font Roja, Alicante
In Alicante is the Parque Natural del Carrascal de la Font Roja, a natural park known as the best preserved natural jewel of the Valencia region. What makes La Font Roja special is location in an area with volcanic origins. This has led to a unique soil composition, which contributes to the growth of a specific flora that has adapted to these geological conditions. Historic iron mines have also been found in the area below the peak of the Sierra de Menachaor.
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