Located between the Douro River to the north and the Serra da Malcata in the south, the Côa valley is a spectacular mix of riverine gorges, oak forests, rocky heathlands and former cropland returning to nature.
New sustainable travel combining the best wildlife and cultural experiencing in the area are supporting local people and even new independent nature reserves. Its a must on your travel agenda!
Western Iberia is home to griffon and Egyptian vultures, golden and Bonelli’s eagles, endangered rarities like 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. Rabbits rely larger on herbivores to clear large shrubs and roe deer are making a welcomed comeback together with species of wild horse and cattle are grazing freely in the Faia Brava Nature Reserve. Quite recently and for the first time Iberian wolves were spotted here and it is hoped the Iberian lynx will soon be reintroduced.
Complementing the incredible wildlife on show this remote corner of Portugal, Western Iberia also has an incredibly rich human heritage. The Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with thousands of animal, human and abstract figures carved into rock faces, some of which date back over 20,000 years. Together they make up the largest open-air collection of prehistory art in Europe. With medieval ‘castelo’ towns scattered across hilltops and the mighty 17th century star fort at Almeida this regions historic importance for a strong cultural identity for those in the area. With all this discovery waiting, deliciously local culinary traditions paired with wines from the renowned Douro Valley are a great compliment and attraction alike!
There are many ways to discover Western Iberia, from a relaxing long weekend to tackling 200 km of marked Grande Route trail along the entire Côa Valley - by foot, mountain bike and even horseback over multiple days. We can tailor your time based on your interests, with your ideal combination of wildlife and culture, using expert guides and staying in handpicked accommodation. New unique safari style accommodations of the Star Camp in Faia Brava and Miles Away fly camp bring you closer to nature in more remote settings.
"Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience."
- Francis Bacon
In recent times Sara Noro has frequently found herself working late on northeast Portugal’s Faia Brava Reserve. Yet the architect, guesthouse owner, entrepreneur and mother of three isn’t complaining. In fact, she’s rather pleased.
“Cloudless night skies are the most spectacular thing about being on the reserve after dark,” says Sara. “Away from all artificial light,surrounded by the blackness of the land, the marvellous canopy of stars overhead is a real retreat.
”Sara’s efforts, and those of her working partner Ana Berliner, will
soon see the public opening of the appropriately named Star Camp, a simple yet spectacularly sited property in the heart of northeast Portugal’s Faia Brava Reserve.
“It ahas certainly been hard work,” says Sara with a smile. “But we are so excited about sharing the beauty of the reserve with our guests. This camp is a unique opportunity for us to contribute toward an environment that my family and I have treasured for many years.”
Sandwiched between the peaks of the Serra da Marofa and vineyards
of the Douro, in the steepsidedvalley of the Coa River, the Faia Brava Reservation extends across nearly 1000 hectares. A haven for wildlife, one of the reserve’s major attractions is its birdlife.
Faia Brava’s varied habitat boasts a smattering of olive trees and cork oaks, as well as abandonedfarmhouses, shepherd sheltersand meandering dry stone walls.
Star Camp, Portugal
Western Iberia has an array of unique and different accommodations to discover. From wild camping to luxury guest houses and remote camps set among nature. The area is filled with diversity, come and discover Western Iberia, Portugal.