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Parks of the Porto and Norte Region

-Montesinho Natural Park

Montesinho Natural Park occupies a 700 square kilometer area in the north of Bragança in the heart of Trás-os-Montes' Terra Fria (Cold Land) country It is one of the least well-known areas in Portugal and is a wild and relatively untouched mountainous area clothed in ancient oak forests and home to various protected species. They include the Iberian wolf. The area was designated a natural park to protect its wildlife but also the traditional culture of its inhabitants. This has meant this landscape has survived into the 21st century. The Park is split into a more remote western section that is typically lush and green and the more easily accessible eastern section that tends to be more rugged and open (although there are scenic routes throughout the Park). The highest points are the Coroa mountain range at 1,273 meters and Montesinho at 1,486 meters. 

-Douro Internacional Natural Park

Douro Internacional Natural Park covers 852 square kilometers in the east of the Trás-os-Montes region, along the Portuguese/Spanish border – northeast of the Douro Valley that runs from east to west. This is the second largest natural park in Portugal and is where the river Douro passes through breathtaking mountainous territory. The area adjacent to Spain is also protected and together they encompass the Douro Canyon. The area was designated to protect the ancient landscape of granite, quartz and schist of the upper stretches of the River Douro where it marks the Portuguese/Spanish border. Its assemblage of birds of prey is also one of the reasons for its protection. 

- Alvão Natural Park


Parque Natural do Alvão is Portugal's smallest at 7,220 metric acres and reaches an altitude of 1,330 meters above sea level. The park is rich in spectacular drops and waterfalls. Here a native woodland still exists and includes a range of broadleaved trees including birch, oak, black oak, holly, bay, chestnut, hazel, wild pear and strawberry trees. Heathers, bilberry, broom and gorses make up the heath communities. Animals include wild goats, a range of bat species, the Pyrenean desman and occasionally wolves. Bird species found are the short-toed eagle, peregrine falcon, chough, water pipit, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, pied flycatcher and bullfinch. 

- Côa Valley Archaeological Park

The new Parque Arqueológico do Vale do Côa was designated to protect a series of Paleolithic rock engravings. There are more than 30 sites where rock engravings have been found. Visits to the sites are made in the company of guides from the Archaeological Park. Three sites are open to the public: Canada do Inferno, Penascosa and Ribeira de Piscos. Today it's quite a drive to get to the park, but many do it to see the cave paintings of mountain goats, horses, aurochs (wild bulls) and deer. These species are all typical of the large herbivores that were part of the ecosystem in the region during the Upper Paleolithic Age. Engravings of fish are also among the collection, along with one image of a human form. The engravings were etched using quartz or flint, the images being scratched into the rock walls using straight lines or zigzags. The Quinta da Ervamoira Museum stands at the center of the heritage park, offering interpretations of the region and its customs. The museum shows the art of bread-making and wine production through the ages. Throughout the area surrounding the park, new inns are opening to cater to guests. Visiting Foz Côa is a vote for preserving our shared human past and recognizing it as more important than a dam. 


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