Portugal: The Great 4x4 Expedition of The Coa Valley

Discover the Coa Valley in Portugal in a 4x4 adventure through rivers, valley and mountains and under skies full of griffon vultures.

The Côa region has been occupied by humans for several thousands of years and still today, it is home to fantastic legends and centuries-old traditions.The Côa valley holds the world’s largest number of paleolithic rock engravings in open air, a true and unique testimony of the presence and artistic heritage left by our ancestors. Today, the Côa is one of Portugal’s least-densely populated regions, with vast wild areas of breathtaking natural beauty, waiting to be discovered.

On this expedition that supports local communities and their economy, visitors will discover the best the region has to offer, when explored by ancient tracks away from modern paved roads, in an almost “African savanna-like” type of experience. We will be driving in motor vehicles, so at the end of the trip, we’ll make sure we off-set our environmental footprint and leave nothing behind but a trace of good citizenship and wonderful memories.

Adventure in the heart of Portugal

DAY TO DAY PROGRAM 

Day 1: Drive to Vila Nova de Foz Côa: Self-Drive to Vila Nova de Foz Côa where we will meet. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and a guided tour to the Côa Museum and the Paleolithic rock engravings.

In the late afternoon we will visit the Ervamoira wine estate and taste local products.

Overnight stay at Casa da Cisterna Guesthouse, Fly Camp, or an alternative hotel. (Depending on number of group and weather conditions)

Day 2 - Faia Brava or Longroiva – Castelo Rodrigo: In the morning we will visit the historic village of Cidadelhe and we’ll have a guided tour to the Faia Brava Reserve. Lunch will be picnic-style at the Reserve.

Later we will explore the Marofa Mountain range. Overnight stay at Casa da Cisterna Guesthouse, Fly Camp or an alternative hotel.

Day 3 - Castelo Rodrigo – Cró

After breakfast visit the historic center of Pinhel and the ruins of the old castle of Jarmelo. We will drive along the River Côa and the Ribeira das Cabras tributary and enjoy a picnic lunch on the riverbanks near Porto de Ovelha. 

There is time to take beautiful picture of nature. In the late afternoon we will make a stop at the Sequeiros Medieval bridge. Dinner and stay at a local SPA&Hotel.

Day 4 – Cró – Aldeia do Bispo - Sabugal

Today you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the historic center of Sabugal and a tour alongside the water dam and the Malcata nature reserve. There we will visit the trout fish farm and lunch in a local restaurant. Aftet lunch well hike to the Côa River spring and then drive some of the paths of the old contraband routes.

Dinner and overnight stay at  local hotel.

Day 5 – Sabugal – Vilar Maior or Freineda

Today we’ll Visit Alfaiates and Aldeia da Ponte and get to know the  local tradition called “Capeia Arraiana”. Picnic lunch will be in a “secret” place. Afterwards we will have contact with the work done by  the Rewilding Portugal team. In the afternoon tour along the Côa River and visit to historic house and to the villages of Vilar Maior, Castelo Mendo and Freineda.

Dinner and overnight stay at local B&B's in Vilar Maior or at Freineda.

Day 6 – Vilar Maior or Freineda – Castelo Rodrigo

Today you will tour along the Côa river taking photos of nature and later visit Castelo Bom. Guided tour to the fortified town of Almeida and lunch at mid day. In the afternoon, tour the historic village of Castelo Rodrigo .Dinner and overnight stay at Casa da Cisterna Guesthouse in Castelo Rodrigo, or at Fly Camp.

Day 7 – Castelo Rodrigo – Vila Nova de Foz Côa

After breakfast tour along the Côa river. Lunch on the banks of the Côa River by (Miles Away), at the Ervamoira Wine Estate, or the Côa Museum restaurant. Departure of travelers.


TRIP DETAILS

  • Days:  7 days / 6 nights 
  • When:  Assured departure 11 to 17 July. Consult for other dates.  
  • GuideJosé Almeida, with support guides such as Fernando Romao
  • Accommodation: Casa Cisterna, Fly Camp, Casas de Vilar Maior, but others quality local hotels may be used depending on availability and size of group.  
  • How to get there: Customers can drive their own 4x4 vehicles. If required 4x4 pick-up trucks can be hired from Hertz® with our special discount (price not included in the cost of the trip). Drive from Porto is 3 hours and from Lisbon or Madrid is 4 hours. Indicative price for a 4x4 pick-up carrying 4 people is around 650 euros per car (insurance and 23% VAT included). 
  • Languages: Portuguese, and English.   
  • Driving: Most of the driving on this expedition is done on unpaved roads or off-road tracks. For that reason, a 4x4 vehicle with transfer box and off-road driving experience are required. The tracks are a combination of surfaces ranging from gravel roads to rocky riverbeds, but without compromising the physical and mechanical integrity of people and vehicles, respectively.  

PRICES

  • Price: 3500 euros for 2 people. (2 people sharing a room). Customers wanting to stay in a single room, please consult us for price and conditions. 
  • The price includes: Full-board in double rooms with services, support of official nature guide. All guided visits, Legal permits and insurance.  
  • The price doesn’t include: Car rental and fuel. Tolls or fines. Transport to and from the starting point to your house. Personal expenses on drinks, or phone calls. 
  • What to bring: We recommend you to dress in layers. Hiking shoes, sun hat, water bottle, daypack, long pants, hat and wool gloves, jacket, raincoat or poncho, sun protection cream, non smelling mosquito repellent. Personal toiletries/medicines and a sense of adventure! Optional to bring a camera, or binoculars. 

OUR RESPONSIBILITY

Rewilding Europe Levy: 5% of your booking sum goes to the local Rewilding Europe organization.  

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 Greater Côa 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, Tour guide Fernando Romeo from Wildlife 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.

Read more about our work in the Greater Côa Valley here.

CONTACT OUR SAFARI EXPERT


Aukje Van Gerven

OUR LOCAL PARTNER

Meet Jose Almeida

José Almeida started Dream Overland a in 2014. Jose’s love for the outdoors began early in his childhood. Over of the years, his passion for nature and travelling became increasingly bigger. 

He has worked with Land Rover Owner International magazine, and more recently with Overland Journal Europe magazine.

“In all these years’ worth of experience, I’ve been able to do some of the things I like the most: traveling, enjoying the wonders of nature and contacting with new people in remote places.”

Nature conservation has been an enduring passion and priority in his life, hence his involvement with various environmental organizations.  Jose owns a of woodland in the high mountains of Portugal, where he aims to re-establish the natural habitats once destroyed by wildfires.

He has been partnering with the Faia Brava Reserve for some few years now, doing visits with customers and doing fire surveillance during the hot summer season.

“I am always looking for new magical places to discover the best and most authentic things Portugal has to offer, so I invite you to join me in of our next trips!”

Jose Almeida - Dream Overland