Located between the Douro River to the north and the Serra da Malcata in the south, Portugal's Côa Valley is a spectacular mix of riverine gorges, oak forests, rocky heathlands and former cropland returning to nature. New sustainable travel here combines the finest natural and cultural experiences in the area, supporting local people and new independent nature reserves.
Located between the Douro River to the north and the Serra da Malcata in the south, Portugal’s Côa Valley is a spectacular mix of riverine gorges, oak forests, rocky heathlands and former cropland returning to nature. New sustainable travel here combines the finest natural and cultural experiences in the area, supporting local people and new independent nature reserves.
The Côa Valley is home to griffon and Egyptian vultures, golden and Bonelli’s eagles, and endangered species such as black vulture, Spanish imperial eagle and black stork. The rabbit is perhaps the most important mammal species, a vital source of prey not only for the birds but also for carnivores such as mongoose, civets, martens, polecats and elusive wild cats.
Complementing this incredible wildlife, the Côa Valley also has a rich human heritage. The Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They make up the largest open-air collection of prehistory art in Europe. All this is complemented by delicious local cuisine and some of Portugal’s finest wines, sourced from the renowned Douro Valley.
There are many ways to discover the Côa Valley, from a relaxing long weekend to a journey through the entire Côa Valley along the 200-kilometre Grande Route, on foot, by mountain bike or even on horseback. We can tailor your itinerary with your ideal combination of wildlife and culture, using expert guides and staying in handpicked accommodation. New and unique safari- style accommodation in Star Camp in Faia Brava and Miles Away fly camp bring you closer to nature in remote, dramatic settings.
As a result of rural depopulation and associated land abandonment across much of the Mediterranean, grazing livestock numbers have plummeted, leading to a very significant increase of landscapes without any form of grazing. As a result, many landscapes are now covered by young, often monotonous forest or dense scrub.
By bringing back grazing – this time not with livestock but with (semi-) wild herbivores such as wild horses and Tauros – Rewilding Europe and its local partners can significantly reduce the risk of fire in the Coa Valley rewilding area. Reintroducing such herbivores will also improve conditions for populations of roe deer and Iberian ibex. Natural grazing by these species leads to the creation of more diverse mosaic landscapes, with open spaces that act as effective firebreaks.
Supporting local enterprises: Through financial loans and expert business advice, Rewilding Europe Capital (REC) is helping a growing number of local entrepreneurs create rewilding-focused enterprises across our operational areas. Star Camp, Casa da Cisterna, our guide Fernando Romao fromWildlife Portugal, and Fly Camp are all pioneering nature-based tourism models which are helping to reinforce the rewilding agenda here. Rewilding Europe promotes these enterprises through the increasingly popular European Safari Company