Watch skies full of vultures and birds of prey, walk amongst free-roaming herds in Faia Brava. Marvel at the ancient rock engravings, and delight yourself with Portuguese wine and port.
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. Sustainable tourism is gradually developing here, combining the area's best wild nature and cultural experiences, and supporting local livelihoods and the creation of independent nature reserves.
On your Côa Valley adventure you will sleep under the stars, dine al fresco-style in local vineyards, take a unique safari through the stunning Faia Brava Nature Reserve, capture vultures, eagles and other birdlife on camera, hike and bike through the majestic Coã Valley and wonder at world famous Prehistoric rock art and engravings.
This personalised experience is privately guided throughout by expert guide Simon Collier. It is an amazing opportunity to learn about the importance of rewilding projects in the Greater Côa Valley and support nature-based business and local entrepreneurs.
Day 1: Arrive in Porto in the morning where your private guide awaits you to drive you to the medieval town of Castelo Rodrigo.
Boutique Hotel Casa Da Cisterna will be your home for the next two nights. A tasty three course dinner, cooked with local products is included.
In the evening you will meet Rewilding Portugal team leader Pedro Prata who will give a presentation on the rewilding area.
Day 2: Fuel yourself with a hearty breakfast and get ready to spend a day in the field with experienced nature guide Fernando Romao. Experience the vulture hide, followed by hike and a picnic lunch in the Faia Brava Reserve reserve.
After a day full of safari experiences, take a dip in the pool and enjoy another dinner at Casa da Cisterna. After dinner, you will visit the rock engravings in the Côa Valley.
Day 3: This morning, you’ll have breakfast with Pedro Prata, Rewilding Portugal’s Team leader, who will afterwards guide you on a visit to the ELP expansion areas throughout the Côa. Lunch will be in a special little local restaurant in Almeida. Later in the afternoon, further explore the region, with a visit to the Côa Museum. A big highlight of the day will be the wine tasting in a local vineyard.
Your accommodation for the night will be the incredible and exclusive Fly Camp. Settle down and enjoy sundowners and a five course wine-paired dinner near the river. Before bed, some port and cheese will be served whilst you will marvel at the stars. A very special experience.
Day 4: Breakfast with a view at Fly Camp. Today’s options let you choose between a river cruise & picnic lunch, or a culinary workshop at a local vineyard. Drive back to Porto in the late afternoon.
Your last night in Portugal will be spent at Boavista Eco-Luxury House. There you can enjoy dinner at the vegan restaurant downstairs together with a wrap up session with your guide.
Day 5: After breakfast catch a flight or train to return back home full of adventurous stories to tell.
Rewilding Europe Levy: 5% of the booking sum goes towards the local rewilding 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 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, our 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.
Simon Collier was born in South Africa and started his safari career over twenty years ago at &Beyond Phinda, moving to Londolozi where he not only worked as a guide but also as a camp manager. He continued his career at Wilderness Safaris, as General Manager for Wilderness Explorations.
Currently living in The Netherlands, Simon is keeping a very strong connection to eco-tourism and nature, maintaining a strong role in guide training and mentorship within Europe.
Simon spent five years developing the wildlife & tourism industry across Europe and became an expert in developing sustainable businesses in rural areas in many countries.
He launched the European Safari Company in 2017 and started his own business in 2019: Nature Tourism Development.
Simon is passionate about wildlife & nature and has real experience in the field. He has excellent people skills and has hosted guests, media and partners.
“A day in the wild is a blessing, and the ability and opportunity to share this with other people a privilege. Europe’s wild has so much to offer and backed with a combination of local communities and cultures provides a dynamic experiences not to be missed.” ~ Simon Collier