The third season of the year has many attractions. Among them is the leaf drop which, as well as promoting nostalgia, generates a beautiful colour palette. Walking on these soft or crunchy remains is a great option for this time of year. That is why we bring you some of the best beech forests in Spain to walk through this autumn. Many of these beech forests are located in Natural Parks which are in themselves of great interest. In addition, several have been recognised as World Heritage by UNESCO.
The most important in Castile-La Mancha, it is one of the most visited beech forests in Spain in autumn. It is located in the extreme north of the province of Guadalajara, in the heart of the Sierra de Ayllón. It is part of the Sierra Norte de Guadalajara Natural Park, in the surroundings of the black villages. The forest is one of the southernmost of its kind and a World Heritage Site. It has two main routes, one with free access and another which requires a booking via the web. Given its location in the Sierra de Ayllon, near the Pico del Lobo and the Ocejón, it is not a good idea to visit Tejera Negra in winter, as the chances of snow are very high.
It is time to go to the Cantabrian community to see the beech trees in the Saja-Besaya Natural Park. This area is notable for the wide slopes created by the rivers that give it its name. With peaks of more than two thousand metres, the lower areas are covered by oaks and the upper areas by fir trees. In the middle are the beech forests, which show their best appearance in autumn. A great variety of fauna and remarkable viewpoints make the different routes possible. The reference point in terms of populations is Bárcena Mayor, the only one located within the park itself.
Together with the Lizardoa forest, it is one of the two Navarrese beech forests that are a World Heritage Site. In this case, it is associated with the Roncal Valley, specifically with the Belagua Valley environment. The main feature of this place is that it is the only glacial valley in the province of Navarre. This means that there are impressive routes through the karstic massifs that overlook the landscape. With access from Isaba, all this makes Aztaparreta one of the best beech forests in Spain to visit in autumn. Not in vain, it is among the best preserved in Europe.
Like many of its peers on this list, the Pyrenees are the environment where the Ordesa beech forests are located. As their name suggests, they are part of the National Park in Huesca. Complemented with fir trees at the highest altitudes, walking through them is one of the best options for getting to know the park in autumn. A blanket of reddish leaves guides the hiker to landmarks such as the famous Cola de Caballo waterfall. The villages of Bielsa, Fanlo and Torla stand out as access points.
Back in the Pyrenees awaits this marvel. It is the third World Heritage forest in this article, a prominent part of the Irati Forest. This beech forest in Spain, perfect to go in autumn, has its visitors’ centre in Ochagavía. From there, various types of routes are organised through the forests that extend over the slopes of the La Cuestión and Zabaleta mountains.
This segment of the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park has several outstanding beech forests. The Altzania mountain range is particularly noteworthy, with landmarks such as Mount Irumuga, which means the three mugas or borders. Navarre, Guipúzcoa and Álava are the territories that converge. The San Adrían, Zalduondo and Zegama tunnels are very close by. Thanks to the climate and geographical location, the place is home to an outstanding forest. As with other beech forests in Spain located in the mountains, it is better to visit them in autumn than in winter, to avoid snow and bad weather.
As Tejera Negra, this forest is located in the extensive massif of Ayllon, is a World Heritage Site and is among the most southern in the country. Along with the large beech trees in the Montejo beech forest, there are also firs, cherries, birches and oaks. A harmony of great beauty which generates a beautiful chromatic palette in autumn. Therefore, the limited visits to the place are extended during October and November. Unlike the rest of the year, on Mondays of those months it is open to the public. In any case, it is necessary to book in advance to obtain access to this reservation from the Community of Madrid.
These wide mountains of La Rioja are home to some of the best beech forests in Spain to visit in autumn. These forests are distributed over the two divisions that the complex has, Camero Nuevo and Camero Viejo. You can also visit the Sierra Cebollera, the only Natural Park in La Rioja. Another advantage is that Logroño can be used as a base for overnight stays, as many of the areas to be visited are less than an hour away by car.
Very close to that of Asotín, it is also a World Heritage Site as part of the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe. It also shares the border with Altzania, as it is located between León, Asturias and Cantabria, in León’s Picos de Europa. Watched over by the Moledizos, the Cuesta Fría beech forest runs at the foot of the slope where the Dobra River is located. A whole in which the autumn ochres contrast sharply with the surrounding living limestone mountains.
Continuing with the beech forests in Spain to be explored in autumn, it is time to turn our attention to Catalonia. Between Barcelona and Girona, the magnificent Montseny Natural Park expands. Although the lower areas are dominated by holm oaks, as you climb you will come across large areas of beech trees. The most striking is that of Santa Fe, associated with the reservoir of the same name. Its popularity makes it easy to access even from Barcelona itself, which is just over an hour away.
The access to the Asotín beech forest, located in the channel of the same name, is more complicated than in the case of Cuesta Fría. To enjoy the views of one of the most beautiful beech forests in Spain in autumn, you have to walk for a while. From Cordiñanes you have to take the Senda de la Rienda. Therefore, it is convenient to have some hiking experience as well as to watch the weather before visiting this natural wonder. In any case, it is well worth the effort.
As we have already seen, the Central System is very suitable for beech trees. Thus, in the surroundings of Riaza, La Pedrosa beech forest is located. From the slopes that host the forest you can get great views of the Riaza basin. One more incentive to visit the town of the province of Segovia.
The last of this review of the beech forests in Spain to go to in autumn is that of Orlé, in Asturias. Following the valley of the river of the same name, in the Redes Natural Park, the forests stretch out between meadows and hills. This linear route reaches Pendones from Orlé and is of easy difficulty. Despite this, you must bear in mind that it is not circular and you have to go back 10 kilometres.
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