Beech forests of Spain: an autumn destination

Many people don’t realize it, but Spain is among Europe’s best autumn destinations. This is thanks to its vast mountainous forests – especially its beech forests. Each year in October and November, they take on all shades of gold, orange and red, making the hills and woodlands even more beautiful. In fact, these forests are so beautiful, they’ve even gained recognition by UNESCO. Bring your group to discover them!

Collective World Heritage

The beech forests of Montejo (Madrid), Tejera Negra (Castile – La Mancha), Lizardoa and Aztaparreta (Navarre), and Cuesta Fría and Canal de Asotín (Castile and León) are part of UNESCO’s collective World Heritage site: Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of Europe. These are just a few of Spain’s many beech forests, which were chosen for their age as well as their beauty. Here’s more about these great destinations.

Montejo beech forest

As part of the Sierra del Rincon Biosphere Reserve, this stunning area makes a great day-trip from Madrid, as it’s just an hour and a half from the city – although you’d never guess it. According to legend, this ancient forest is inhabited by goblins and fairies who turn human visitors into woodland animals. The story may not be true, but the Montejo Beech Forest is quite a living laboratory, thanks to its ecological value and diversity of species. With over 200 species of animals among the 500-year-old, 60-foot-tall beech trees, your group may see roe deer, wild boars, herons, and much more. Within the reserve, there are also beautiful hamlets like Montejo de la Sierra, La Hiruela, and Horcajuelo de la Sierra, all accessible and connected by well-marked trails.

Tejera Negra Nature Reserve

The Tejera Negra Nature Reserve in Castile – La Mancha is surrounded by the Lillas and Zarzas Rivers, which create a cool, humid atmosphere that is ideal for beech forests. This microclimate, together with its isolation, has helped to perfectly preserve the beauty of the beech groves. Apart from the centuries-old beech trees, this area is inhabited by many other protected plant and animal species. It is common to see creatures like foxes, wild cats, martens, badgers, and birds of prey while strolling through this forest.

Lizardoa and Aztaparreta beech forests

The Lizardoia beech forest forms part of the Irati Forest, which is among the largest and most environmentally rich forests in all of Europe. Located next to the Irati River, the beech forest is ideal for hiking and cycling excursions, with well-marked trails and fantastic routes. The Aztaparreta beech forest, on the other hand, is part of the Roncal Valley. It is considered to be the best conserved woodland in the Pyrenees, and is home to some unique bird species as well as bears!

Cuesta Fría and Canal de Asotín beech forests

The beech forests of Cuesta Fría and Canal de Asotín lie within León’s part of the Picos de Europa National Park. This incredible national park is full of natural wonders, and these forests are certainly among the highlights. There is an easy hiking route that covers the beech forest area, and also passes through some charming villages.

Your autumn tour

 Seeing the colors of autumn in Spain is an experience that your group will treasure. These above are just a few of Spain’s marvelous beech forests, but there are many more to choose from and there is sure to be one that suits your itinerary. Remember, as these are often protected nature reserves, you may need to book your visit in advance. We can help with all the arrangements – get in touch with us today to start planning!

Katharina Giesler

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