You're sure to have discovered the merits of sea therapy, but have you tried “forest therapy”?
It originated in Japan in the eighties, and is called Shinrin Joku in Japanese. This therapy is right on your doorstep and aims to free you from stress and anxiety
through quiet walks in the woodlands, while you connect with nature using all five senses..
It sounds good and easy! And even more so in Navarra where 64% of its surface area is covered by woodland, making it an ideal destination to discover this practice. How about coming here and judging for yourself? You can walk between majestic, centuries-old beech and oak trees, and immortalise the seasonal changes with your camera. Cross streams, collect wild berries, breathe fresh air and delight in the shapes and colours of the woodlands. .
Below is a small selection of the main forests in Navarre from east to west. All have routes of varying length and accessibility which you can adapt to suit your preferences.
Bosque de Quinto Real
• The Irati Forest (accessible from Orbaitzeta or Ochagavía) is one of the most extensive and best-preserved beech-fir forests in Europe and shelters within it the Irabia reservoir. It provides refuge and habitat for various animal populations such as red deer, famous for their haunting autumn rutting ritual - one of the most special events in this beautiful forest.
• The Quinto Real Forest, located in the north-west of Navarre next to the Eugi reservoir, is a spectacular beech forest which hides numerous natural springs and striking rivers such as the Arga, not to mention unique sites such as the ruins of the Royal Munitions Factory of Eugi or the Odia beechwood.
Parque Natural de Bertiz
• The Señorío de Bertiz Natural Park
(Oieregi) is a deciduous forest located in the Atlantic Pyrenees. It contains a unique botanic garden
which is more than a hundred years old comprising both indigenous and exotic species. Various routes take us deep into the natural park and enable us to enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna found within.
• The Leurtza Forest
(Urrotz de Santesteban) is a typical example of the Navarran Atlantic forest. Filled with oak and beech trees, the area holds two mountain reservoirs
declared National Recreation Areas - a pretty discovery in the midst of a relaxing landscape which also offers several routes adapted
for people with sensory diversity.
Bosque de Orgi
• The thousand-year-old Orgi Oakwood
(Lizaso) has been declared a Natural Recreation Area and is the only remaining testament to the Navarran wet oakwoods
. It has a picnic area and a trail adapted for people with reduced mobility and the blind.
• Leitzalarrea (Leitza)
is a predominantly beech and oak forest, though grasses and ferns are also abundant. The ancient monuments
scattered across the land and the remains of the old foundries along the trails speak to us of the history and ethnography of this place.
Selva de Irati
• Sierra de Aralar
: (accesible from Lekunberri or Uharte-Arakil) a huge limestone massif where chasms, caves and canyons alternate with evergreen pastures and beech forests that contain a kaleidoscope of colours. But it's not just a beautiful landscape, there's a mythological and spiritual side to Aralar as well. Dolmens, legends, witches and the sanctuary of San Miguel in Excelsis
(metaphorically and literally "in the highest place ") will also delight culture lovers.
• The Urbasa-Andia Natural Park in the north-west of Navarre is a transition zone between the mountainous and upland areas of the region. This karst plateau is covered mainly with dense beechwood and mountain grasses. The beautiful spring head of the Urederra River is found here - the natural point of exit from the important aquifer formed in the heart of the forest.