Along with spring, autumn is the best season by far for walking and exercising outside. And where better to do that than in a beautiful setting out in nature?
While the beach is great for the summer, I much prefer cooler times of the year when the weather is perfect for walking in the mountains or in some of Spain’s beautiful forests.
Living in the southeast of Spain, I forget what it’s like to be surrounded by trees and greenery, which is probably one of the only things I miss about the UK. However, Spain also has some amazing forests, where the leaves of the trees turn all shades of brown in autumn, laying a carpet of golds and browns on the ground as they fall.
And, it is true that many of Spain’s largest and most stunning forests are located further north of the country, so if you are planning a trip to the regions located within the top half of Spain, why not stop off at these beautiful forests.
The Moncayo is actually the highest mountain within the Sierra de Moncayo located within the Iberian range, but it is also part of the Natural Park of Moncayo, a stunning area of nature with many diverse landscapes that range from deep forests of oaks, pines, juniper and beech trees to glaciers at the very highest points. The forest is located in the township of Tarazona in the province of Zaragoza, on the border of the regions of Aragón and Castille and León.
El Hayedo de Montejo
This beautiful forest and nature reserve is full of hundreds and hundreds of beeches. There are more than 650 types of this tree, but the Hayedo de Montejo is predominantly made up of the common variety. Visiting the forest in spring or autumn, you’ll be enveloped in yellow, gold and brown as the leaves from the trees shimmer in the branches and on the ground. The Hayedo de Montejo is one of the most southern beech woods in Europe, covering some 250 hectares of land within the Sierra de Ayllón in the township of Montejo de la Sierra in Madrid.
Hayedo de Otzarreta
So, this beech forest located within the Natural Park of Gorbea, on the border of the Basque provinces of Vizcaya and Álava, may not be the largest forest you’ll ever come across, but it may just be one of the most photogenic. There are only around 100 trees in this area, but the surrounding landscape, made up of running brooks, scattered leaves and contorted branches, is unique. When all of this is captured in the morning fog, the view before you is enchanting.
Bosque de Muniellos
The forest of Muniellos is located in the Parque Natural de las Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña e Ibias in the northern region of Asturias. It is an area of protected woodland that has been declared a Biosphere Reserve and Integral Nature Reserve by Unesco. The forest consists of 5,488 hectares of mainly oak trees, and is, in fact, the largest and best preserved Quercus rober forest in the whole of Spain. However, entrance to the forest is not that easy, due to the protection programmes in place. Only 20 visitors a day are allowed in to follow the signposted route around the park, and entrance must be booked well in advance.
This is the only Biosphere Reserve located in the region of Cataluña, and the Natural Park of Montseny has been certified with the European Charter of Sustainable Tourism. It is situated close to Barcelona, covering the municipalities of Vallés, Osona and La Selva. In the form of zones, and as the altitude rises, the characteristic Mediterranean plant formations are found in the lower parts (holm oaks, cork oaks and pinewoods), rainy middle mountain types higher up (mountain holm oak and oak), Central European environment at over 1,000 m, (beech woods and groves of fir), and finally sub-alpine habitat at the summit (thickets and high meadows). If you’re visiting Barcelona but want a break from city life, why not go and enjoy the best that nature has to offer in this natural park?