Otzarreta Forest is located in the well-known Gorbeia Natural Park, in the territories of Alava and Bizkaia. The Otzarreta beech forest is a protected area, the largest in the Basque Country.
The magical feeling provided by the surroundings is also reflected in its vegetation. The curious thing about the Otzarreta forest is that its beech trees grow in a way that is unusual for this type of tree. Its branches grow upwards when in this species they normally grow horizontally.
The views in this forest are so awesome that it seems as if everything has been designed to measure. A visual spectacle led by the green of the moss on the bark of the trees. An orange colour can be seen on the ground in autumn when the beech trees change their cover. And the impressive stream of the Zubizabala river offers a deep blue color that snakes through the trees. A Basque legend has it that it is in this territory that the mythical Basajaun lives.
Quite apart from its natural beauty, this forest has a huge cultural significance. You need only look at the branches of the beech trees, whose gigantic branches reach up towards the sky like candlesticks instead of growing out to the side. This is due to years of successive pruning, mainly to obtain charcoal, using the pollarding technique. The charcoal obtained from pollarding has been the main fuel used to develop the steelworks and shipbuilding industries that drove the Basque economy, since the 15th century at least.
Strolling among the enormous trees and scrunching into the fallen leaves is one of the immense pleasures in store for us during our visit to the Basque Country.
According to the Internet