Gorbea Natural Park. Spain
Gorbea Natural Park is called the mystical forest of Spain. Look at the pictures and your imagination will draw an image of a mystical creature behind every tree, some kind of dwarves or elves. Do you see?
This natural park is situated between the provinces of Alava and Vizcaya in the Basque Country in northern Spain. It covers an area of 20,016 hectares. Its territory occupies Villaro municipalities, Castillo and Elejabeitia, Orozco, and Ceberio Ceánuri in Vizcaya and Cigoitia, Zuya and Urcabustaiz in Álava. Gorbea and Gorbeia is also a name of the highest mountain peak in this area, 1482 meters above sea level. In 1994, this mysterious forest was declared as a national park.
The park consists of limestone and ground waters, so there is a lot of caves and grottos on the territory. The history of this mysterious forest began about 100 million years ago. Ancient moss-covered trees (oak, English oak, beech, pine, cypress) shrouded in thick fog create a particularly mystical spectacle – through the haze they can be mistaken for strange alive figures.
However, Gorbea Natural Park is not only the dense thickets of trees. Deep forests gradually turn into spacious, covered with green and tall grass, meadows. Further, you will see a wetland area, and it is also attractive in its own way. There are about 500 caves on the territory of the Itxina complex, adjacent to the park. You can use more than 10 footworn trails and find a variety of monuments, forest huts, waterfalls, Museum of honey, small temples, Museum of Traditional Basque pottery, old mills, chapels and many other attractions, created here by man over the past few centuries.
The forest may seem inhospitable and even dangerous, but you are lucky enough you can see here, just in a few meters, some real proprietors of the park – deer, wild cat and marten, Alpine newts and stone lizards, lynx, mink, spotted woodpecker, hawk and vulture.
If you’re a fan of such landscapes, you will appreciate the Gorbea National Park. It has become a place of entertainment for locals and tourists. Here you can ride a mountain bike, enjoy hiking and horse riding, fishing, extreme sports (rafting, bungee jumping, mountain climbing) and more.