Found on the south side of Ereñozarre Mountain, Santimamiñe cave is the greatest ethnographic treasure of the whole Biosphere Reserve. Discovered in 1917, excavation under the direction of the Arazandi-Barandiaran-Eguren team took place from 1918 to 1926. Both the unrivalled geology of the area and the esteemed archaeological sites attract considerable interest from all around the world. Dating to the Magdalenian or Upper Palaeolithic period, the close to 50 cave paintings are an invaluable depiction of prehistoric fauna, such as: bison, bovid, brown bear, wild boar, some horses and carp, and a deer head.


In 2008, the Santimamiñe cave, together with a number of other caves found along the Cantabrian coast, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Presently, the interiors of the Santimamiñe cave are accessible solely for the purposes of scientific research and remain closed to the general public in order to preserve the cave paintings. There is instead, an interpretive room where visitors may take a virtual tour of the cave in the Santimamiñe hermitage. Another cave of note, among others, is the Kobaederra cave in the same Ereñozarre hill range.

For further information on archaeological excavation, Palaeolithic Art, visits and prices, please see the Santimamiñe official site of the Provincial Government of Bizkaia.

The Painted Forest


Painted in the mid 1980s by the Basque artist Agustin Ibarrola, the pino insignis forest was converted into a canvas for an original work called “The Painted Forest”. The paintings are spread out over a number of trees in different areas, with each thematic block displaying distinct movement and depth.  forest invites direct visitor participation who, by changing their physical position, can either create or destroy the scenes viewed. This work converts three-dimensional figures into one-dimensional canvases, which can be appreciated when the visitor is standing in the correct place. The forest covers an area of almost 5 hectares and is located on the north side of Basobarri Mountain descending toward Oma.

For further information on the paintings, trails, photos or guides, please see the Bizkaia Provincial Government site on the Oma Forest.


Logo Basondo

A refuge for wild fauna under threat of extinction, Basondo’s 60,000 m2 of fields and forests provide a home to the main species of wild animals in the area: wild boar, roe deer, fox, mountain cat, civet cat, otter, migratory birds and birds of prey, reptiles, and many more. Other species now extinct in this area are the wolf, the lynx and the European bison.

It is possible to observe all animals up close and take photographs.

For further information on Basondo, please click here.

Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve

Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve

The Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve is the only Biosphere Reserve in Baskland and is the most valuable natural area along the Basque coast. Formed by the watershed of the Oka and Golako Rivers, there are a total of 22 municipalities within its territory, Kortezubi being among them. The river path cuts and shapes a landscape that travels from mountain pastures, the Atlantic countryside, forest lands, Cantabrian oak groves, meadows and marshlands, sand dunes and coastal cliffs, until reaching the sea.

The Biosphere was declared a UNESCO Reserve in 1984.

For further information on the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, please see the official Basque Government site.

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