Enter the Meseta Meridional Naturtejo Geopark, formed by the municipalities of Castelo Branco, Idanha-a-Nova, Nisa, Oleiros, Proença-a-Nova and Vila Velha de Ródão, that houses 16 geo-monuments whose importance has been recognized by UNESCO. Visit them and prepare to be surprised by the impressive Portas de Ródão boulders, that compress the course of the longest river in the Iberian peninsular, or allow yourself to be enchanted by the curious formations of ichnofossils in Penha Garcia.
There’s a lot of to see in these lands that comprehend the Natural Park of Tejo international. Travel along trails perfumed by French lavender and rosemary and observe the local vegetation. Rabbits, deer and foxes lurk in the vegetation and will disappear in a blink of the eye if they note your presence. Perhaps you’ll discover the colourful bee-eaters perched on the branches of trees, or the nightingales and hoopoes that start up singing competitions. If you look up into the sky you can see black storks that stay here between February and August, or imperial eagles whose favourite perches are the crags overlooking rivers, that offer the best views over the landscape. The Geopark recommends a trail designated the “Route of the Vultures”, that will lead you to an important colony of this majestic bird, with over 154 specimens found in this zone.
The marks of the past are clearly visible. They can be found in archaeological treasures such as the complex of Rupestrian art of the River Tagus or the ruins of the lost city of Egitânia. Visit the historic villages of Monsanto and Idanha-a-Velha and the churches which receive busy pilgrimages every year.
Why not combine all this with a little bit of exercise? There’s a wide range of activities, including walking, horseriding and all-terrain bike rides, together with mountain climbing and canoeing. Restore your energies by breathing in some fresh air and the countryside aromas as you find refreshment in the riverside beaches, or take a break in the thermal spas in Monfortinho or Nisa.
The great wealth of this region is the local people. Extremely hospitable, they adore playing host to travellers as they offer delicious titbits. Try some cheeses with an intense aroma, or some kid or freshwater fish prepared using recipes handed down from generation to generation. Admire the locals’ skilful work in genuine items - such as embroidery from Castelo Branco or pottery from Nisa. Take a souvenir with you and remember one of the region’s popular sayings, “He who visits, always comes back”. Visit us and also return again!