The Umbra Forest

Curiosities:

  • In 2017, the Umbra Forest has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The Gargano can boast 2 UNESCO sites of the 4 total of Puglia, in addition to the Umbra Forest there is the Basilica of San Michele in Monte Sant’Angelo (info here)
  • In 2022 La Foresta was included in the list of the 10 most beautiful forests in the world (unique in Italy)
  • The name “Umbra” comes from the word “ombra” = “shadow”, in fact in the Forest there are places where the sun never shines
    There are 15 marked trails in the forest, some of which are suitable for beginners, others for trekking and mountain biking experts
  • In the forest there are 15 marked trails, some of which are suitable for beginners, others for trekking and mountain biking
  • In the Umbra Forest there are many areas where the telephone has no connection, if you have the idea of taking part in an excursion or renting an e-bike we recommend you contact us before arriving in the Forest
  • The karstic nature of the subsoil does not allow the formation of large natural lakes
  • The forest is a pristine habitat and protects extinct breeds of animals, among which the there is Capriolo Italico

Not to miss:

A MTB tour to discover the Umbra Forest

We recommend hiring MTB and E Bike to visit enchanting places in unspoiled nature.
Reservation is strongly recommended (book here).

In Foresta Umbra there are courses of different levels, from the Amateur level to the Expert level.
You can bring your E-Bike with you and recharge it at  Elda Hotel or La Cantoniera d’Umbra.

Rent your MTB

In Foresta Umbra there is a small naturalistic museum where you can find information on fauna and flora.
In the museum there is an information point.
The information center is not open all year. Contact us for information about.

The deer reserve in the Umbra Forest

In the museum, food for deer is sold.
The deer, despite being wild animals, do not delay to approach when they smell the food.
A unique experience to recommend.

Hiking through the forest paths

Bring trekking shoes, a jumpsuit and want to discover the forest trails.
Visits are possible with or without nature guides.
Contact us for information on the upcoming tour.

The trail map of the Foresta Umbra

The trail map of the Foresta Umbra

The paths have been traced without impacting with nature.
In fact, old mule tracks (trails for pack animals) have been recovered in full respect of fauna and flora.
Getting lost in the untouched nature of the Umbra Forest is a unique experience.

– Foresta Umbra for children

The Umbra Forest fascinates adults and children.
What activities to do in Foresta Umbra with children?
Among the recommended activities for children, we mention:
– The visit of the deer reserve;
– An E-Bike and Mountain Bike ride (click here), with the possibility of mounting the high chair for the little ones;
– The play forest, a small eco-sustainable theme park suitable for children;

Kids in the Umbra Forest

– Foresta Umbra, The animals you can find

In addition to the fallow deer that you can visit in the Fallow Deer Reserve, there is the possibility of seeing numerous other species including roe deer, wild boar, weasels, woodpeckers, squirrels, pheasants and hares and small rodents.
You will be able to spot numerous birds of prey both diurnal like the kites, the goshawk, the buzzard, the sparrow hawk and nocturnal like the owl, the great eagle owl, the tawny owl and the barn owl.
There are frequent encounters with many species of birds including the crow, the magpie, the blackcap, the nightingale, the robin and the blackbird
In Foresta Umbra there is a large presence of foxes and in recent years of wolves.

What to do if you see a wolf, a boar, or any other animal?
The solution is simple, calm and no sudden gestures.
Animals attack if they feel they are in danger

Turtles in Laghetto d'Umbra

Turtles in Laghetto d’Umbra

In the Umbra Lake, in the middle of the Forest, you can spot fish, turtles and frogs, allochthonous species.
This is a great experience for families with children.

– The Flora of the Umbra Forest

The Umbra Forest reaches 830 meters at its highest point and descends to 270 meters above sea level.
The morphology of the territory and the landscapes change, the vegetation changes so much that the Umbra Forest can be divided into 3 macro areas.

In the highest part we find the beech forest, where there is a prevalence of beech trees (approximately 84%) and to a lesser extent yews, maples and hornbeams.
The ancient beech forests of the Umbra Forest, in the Gargano National Park, have been recognized as a UNESCO site.

IThe Umbra lake in the upper part of the Forest

In the intermediate part, we find the oak forest, with a prevalence of turkey oaks and oaks and a smaller quantity of beeches, hornbeams, lime trees and maples.
The lower part is characterized by the presence of holm oaks and pines and can be defined as Mediterranean forest.

The flora of the Gargano includes around 2,300 species, or over 33% of Italian plant species, representing a true paradise for nature lovers and scholars.

– The Foliage in the Umbra Forest

One of the most fascinating times to visit the Umbra Forest is in the months of November and December.
In this period the Forest transforms and takes on breathtaking colours.
This is a unique period to be able to “steal author shots”.
Come and discover the foliage in the Umbra Forest.

Foliage in Foresta Umbra

Foliage in Umbra Forest

– Was the Umbra Forest exploited in the past?

If you visit the Umbra Forest today you will be surprised by the uncontaminated nature and the limited presence of man.
In the recent past, from the end of the 19th century to the mid-1900s, the forest was exploited to a greater extent for its valuable timber.

The wood produced was placed on wagons of a Decauville railway, a small gauge railway, and transported to the edge of the Umbra Forest, in the Mandrione area, where there is still a sawmill today.
The transport took place by “inertia” taking advantage of the favorable slope.

The Decauville Railway in the Umbra Forest

The wood produced was transported from the Mandrione sawmill to the port of Vieste and then reached markets across the world by ship.
The cutting of wood and its related activities gave work to at least 500 workers from all over the Gargano and represented great wealth for the entire promontory.
Market transformations and the evolution of technologies have led to the disuse and abandonment of the railway.
The tracks have been entirely recycled and now few traces of the ancient route remain.

To caress the ancient flavor of this era you can visit the exhibition area of the Villaggio Umbra where it is possible to observe a locomotive with some carriages.
Thanks to the support of a guide you will be able to discover valuable engineering works supporting the railway, such as the Scalelle bridge and the bridge in the Cava di Tufo area.

– The Gargano Green Card, discounts for green travellers

An incredible initiative was born in 2023 that will make the “green visit” of the Gargano easier.
This is the Gargano Green Card, a virtual card that allows you to have discounts on activities such as Ebike Tours, Trabucchi Tours, SUP, Yoga, Trekking and much more.

Click here to find out more about the Gargano Green Card.
If you love green experiences you cannot miss it.

– Foresta Umbra, Timetables and Prices

You may be wondering timetables and prices of the Umbra Forest,
Here you are satisfied! The Umbra Forest is always open and free, so it can always be visited.
Attention, in Foresta Umbra there are no public toilet facilities and the naturalistic museum opens in the summer months.
You can use the services of activities such as bars, restaurants, farmhouses, hotels.

– Park in the Umbra Forest

The Map of Trails

The Umbra Forest is considered the green lung of Puglia, with its over 100 km of marked trails.
As you can see from the map, the Umbra Forest is crossed by 3 main roads, coming from Monte Sant’Angelo, Vieste and Vico del Gargano.

You can decide to park in different points of the Forest.
We advise you to park your car near tourist facilities and refreshment points.
You can park at the Agriturismo Cantoniera d’Umbra (here the location), the Elda Hotel (here the location) or Trattoria d’Umbra (here the location) from where many of the tourist level trails start, also suitable for families with children.

Elda Hotel is the starting point for numerous excursions on foot or by E-Bike to discover the Umbra Forest

Departure of an E-Bike tour from Elda Hotel

You can park at the Rifugio Sfilzi (here the location) from where the Sfilzi path starts, one of the most beautiful in the forest, suitable for more expert walkers.

– How long does it take to visit the Umbra Forest

How long does it take to visit the Umbra Forest?
The minimum time we recommend is half day.
In this time it will be possible for you to follow one of the many paths in the Forest, on foot by MTB or E-Bike.
Do you want our advice?
You decide to spend an entire day (perhaps with a stay) in one of the structures located in the Umbra Forest.
It is a unique experience, to disconnect from everyday life and be enveloped by the beauty of this pristine place.

– The Umbra Forest, accessible with wheelchairs, baby carriages and animals

The Umbra Forest is considered the green lung of Puglia, with its over 100 km of marked trails.
Do we find paths suitable for walks with baby carriages and wheelchairs?
The answer is yes!
Near Laghetto d’Umbra (search on google maps “Laghetto d’Umbra”) you will find a path completely accessible and passable by wheelchairs and baby carriages.

Con il mio cane in Foresta Umbra

With my dog in Foresta Umbra

Can I bring my pet to Foresta Umbra?
The answer, also in this case, is Yes!
Please, use a leash in the presence of other people and / or animals and maximum silence,
The Forest is a very sensitive environment to “external noises”.

– Where to sleep and eat in the Umbra Forest

Sleeping in the Umbra Forest, waking up in nature, what a unique experience!
Here are our tips for a stay in the Umbra Forest:

– Elda Hotel
It is a hotel / restaurant that was born very recently. (info here)

Excellent cuisine, quality products, refined service.
It is an enchanting place where you can also make a short stop.
They have an electric car charging center.
At Elda Hotel you will find a bike rental and an electric bike charging point.
Request information for the many activities to do in Foresta Umbra.

– Cantoniera d’Umbra
Family-run farmhouse, with comfortable rooms and homemade breakfasts.
The cuisine is homemade, typical, to try.
At Cantoniera d’Umbra you will find an electric bike charging point.
The owners are very kind and will be able to show you the many activities to do in the Umbra Forest. (info here)

Travel Tips:

– The Umbra Forest is located in the Gargano National Park and it is not allowed to light fires;

–  The Agriturismo Cantoniera d’Umbra, in Foresta Umbra, offers rooms, restaurant service, electric bike charging service (click here to find out more)

– In the forest there are two refreshment points with bathroom service, not open all year;

– In the forest there are several free picnic areas;

– Nature is the heritage of humanity, respect it to deliver it intact to our children;

Photo gallery:

Discover Umbra Forest

1 The Umbra Forest lake;

2 Scaranappe’s cutin after a rainy day;

3 Works in Foresta Umbra,

4 The fallow deer reserve;

5 Mountain biking in the Gargano National Park;

6 A “Pagghier” (the Trullo del Gargano) at the gates of the Foresta Umbra;

7 A cow in the Gargano National Park;

8 A turtle in the pond of the Umbra Forest;

9 Autumn leaves;

10 The Umbra Forest in autumn;

The TOP of the Gargano

Continue to discover the Gargano and the beauties of this land

Book the Accomodation with us_ get a discount on the shuttle service to the Umbra Forest, 5 euros p/p