Spain has been and is the place of legends, myths and stories that leave more than one with goose bumps. Or with a smile on your face, if you are one of those who do not miss an Iker Jiménez program. We are in a great time for hiking, and this is the time when the leaves change color, the wind is cool but with the sun still in sight; it’s a pleasure to know natural spaces on foot.
As soon as the Day of the Dead is celebrated and thinking of the lovers of the occult, Nattule wants to make a little ambiance by proposing you to visit 6 places full of legends in Spain.
ZUGARRAMURDI, IN NAVARRA, MAGICAL PLACE BY ANTONOMASIA
Witchcraft, black magic, vampirism, cannibalism and dealing with the devil himself; rumors that have inhabited the lands of Zugarramurdi for hundreds of years. His fame has penetrated to the cinema screens with films such as Akelarre (1984) by Pedro Olea or the latest Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi (2013) by Álex de la Iglesia.
The story goes back to 1610, in Logroño, when there was an auto de fe in which the Spanish Inquisition accused dozens of women of being witches of Zugarramurdi, of whom 16 were condemned to die burned at the stake.
“Sorginen Leizea” or La Cueva de Zugarramurdi, located half a kilometer from the town of Zugarramurdi, is where it is said that they celebrated their pagan rites and that they were presented as irrefutable evidence of witchcraft. This impressive cave was created by the Regata de Infierno water stream, and you can visit it during your trip.
One of the sections that you can do is, leaving from this cave to the Urdazubi / Urdax village. Its duration of 3 hours and almost without any unevenness make it possible to be enjoyed by both families and people not used to hiking. Let yourself be enchanted by the magic of its chestnut and oak forests, and feel part of the most mystical nature.
NAVARRA: FOREST OF SAN JUAN XAR AND FORESTS OF THE REGION OF BAZTÁN
Navarra has places that are worthy of belonging to the filming of any of the films of The Lord of the Rings. Precisely one of them is the one that surrounds the municipality of Zugarramurdi: the Baztán valley. Crossed by the Bidasoa River, this valley is marked by ancient beliefs. In your villages, it is still possible that you will find some woman capable of reading your future.
Less likely (though you never know) is that you run into the goddess of nature Mari or the lamias, an aquatic species of nymphs with duck feet, while you follow the trekking route that leads to Xorroxin waterfall, birthplace of the Bidasoa river. It is a walk of barely 4 km long that starts in the neighborhood of Gorostapolo, in Erratzu.
Nearby, also in Navarra, we find the forest of San Juan Xar. This forest, in addition to being a Nature Reserve and containing the only Spanish hornbeam forest, conserves a grotto-hermitage with a magic fountain.
According to the villagers, this three-jet fountain emanates a healing water capable of healing skin affections. The ritual to follow would be to drink from the three jets and rub the affected area with a cloth submerged in its waters. To end the rite, you must leave the used cloth near the source for a priest to come, pick them up and burn them.
SORIA: NEGRA LAKE AND ÁNIMAS MOUNTAIN
The Black Lagoon of Soria, located in the peaks of Urbión, is a place full of legends. It came to inspire Antonio Machado for his famous poem ‘La tierra de Alvargonzález’. The stories that are told about it are many; like that under its waters there is no bottom or that in it lives a marine being that devours any human who dares to bathe inside.
This lagoon of glacial origin is 50 km away from the city of Soria. If you park in Paso de la Serrá, you can enjoy 2 km of climb through forests of pine forests and beech woods until you reach it. Once there, and if you dare to, you can see firsthand how true these stories are.
Another option to visit in Soria is to go to Monte de las Ánimas and meet the cloister of San Juan de Duero. Bécquer captured in his ghost stories, El Monte de las Ánimas and El Rayo de la Luna, the landscapes that your feet can meet now.
If we continue walking, about 3 km away from the city, following the right edge of Duero river,we find the hermitage of San Saturio. Along the way you will find laudas of conical graves that invite the traveler to rest, so be careful where you sit! You don’t want to disturb resting souls.
PINDO DE GALICIA MOUNTAIN
Mount Pindo, the Sacred Olympus of the Celts, is located right next to the beach of Carnota. This land is full of fabulous stories about treasures, beautiful princesses, fairies, sacrifices and secret routes.
The route begins just behind the church of O Pindo, near the beach of San Pedro. During your route you will find castles, mysterious caves, forts and remains of ancient hermitages.
Reaching its summit you will have 2 hours of medium-high difficulty climb (a total of 10 km). While ascending you can admire magnificent views of the coastline and mountains. At the top of the mountain you can see the Pedra da Moa and its natural baths, possibly where the Celts performed magical rituals.
BARCELONA: MONTSERRAT AND FOREST OF ORRIUS
Barcelona has a lot of fame, both national and international, for all the heritage that is preserved in this city, but do you know two of its most mysterious natural places?
Visiting Montserrat in Barcelona is an unforgettable adventure. And its monastery acts are a catalyst for its magical environment. There you will meet a La Moreneta (the Virgin of Montserrat), the stories of how the Nazis sought in their lands the Holy Grail, where possible healing sources or diabolical stories like the one that supposedly happened in the Cavall Bernat. You can even see UFOs on the 11th of each month with other ufology lovers.
In your mystery visit to Barcelona you can not forget to visit the Orrius Forest. Just half an hour away by car, in the village of Orrius of the Maresme region, you will be able to visit this enchanted forest full of legends and figures carved in rock. This forest will leave both adults and children open-mouthed, and that is where the sight rises will surprise you. Giant elephants carved in stone, moai and rocks reminiscent of human heads.
The route that crosses it is well signposted, and its route is quite easy with a duration of about 5 hours. Place of goblins and witches; who knows, maybe you’ll run into one of them on the way.
FOREST OF OTZARRETA (BASQUE COUNTRY)
Our last forest is located in the Basque Country, specifically in the Gorbea Natural Park, between Álava and Vizcaya. To get to the enchanted forest of Otzarreta, you have to follow the N-240 road to the Barazar hill. Once there, you will find the reason why it is said that this beech forest is enchanted.
The rarity of this forest is that the beech trees usually have their branches horizontally, but curiously the centennial beech trees of Otzarreta have their branches facing up the sky, almost like a private dance among trees. This, together with the green mantle of moss that grows on its trunks and the little light that enters its branches, make the appearance of this forest look like something out of a fantasy book.
There is a legend linked to the forest, as old as the beeches themselves. The forest of Otzarreta is the home of Basajaun, a giant that protects nature, herds and the forest itself. He is a friend of shepherds, and always warns them if there is going to be a storm with a ferocious growl. Let’s hope that the walkers do us the same favor.
As you can see, Spain keeps magic inside. From legends so old that you do not even know when they started, to popular stories told from parents to children that remain almost intact to this day. We do not know how much truth is hidden in them, but, meanwhile, we can travel these places and live our own adventure story.