Parque Natural do Tejo Internacional

The Beiras

Still one of Portugal’s wildest landscapes, this 264-sq-km natural park shadows the Rio Tejo and the watersheds of three of its tributaries. While not aesthetically remarkable, it shelters some of the country’s rarest bird species, including black storks, Bonelli’s eagles, royal eagles, Egyptian vultures and griffon vultures.

The Centro Interpretação Ambiental in Castelo Branco provides a great introduction to the area.

The best-marked hiking trail, the 10.5km Rota dos Abutres (Route of the Vultures), descends from Salvaterra do Extremo (60km east of Castelo Branco) into the dramatic canyon of the Rio Erges.

Drivers can get a taste of the park’s natural beauty by following the unnumbered road between Monforte da Beira and Cegonhas (southeast of Castelo Branco), which passes through a beautiful cork-oak forest on either side of the Ribeira do Aravil. It doesn't appear on all maps: pass through Monforte da Beira if coming from Castelo Branco, and turn right after 2km. Alternatively, a signposted turn-off to the park just short of Monforte takes you down a rough, circular route through part of the park, but the way is not well indicated.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Beiras attractions

1. Cantera de Alcántara

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For one of Spain's more unusual swimming experiences, it's hard to go past the Cantera de Alcántara. It was here that the stones were quarried by the…

2. Mirador

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Northwest of Alcántara, there's a lookout that takes in both the town and Puente Romano in one sweep. To get there, drive across the Puente Romano along…

3. Puente Romano

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On the northwest side of Alcántara, a magnificent 2nd-century Roman bridge – 204m long, 61m high, with six arches and much reinforced over the centuries –…

4. Mirador

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For a partial view of the Puente Romano from above, walk 100m west from the Iglesia de Santa María de Almocóvar down Calle de Carnicería, then continue…

5. Iglesia de Santa María de Almocóvar

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Built atop a long-disappeared mosque (of which no traces remain), this fine sandstone church crowns the old town. Its early days as a church are barely…

6. Conventual de San Benito

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7. Ruins

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The only remaining vestige of the defences the Knights Templar built in the 13th century is the Torre de Menagem. Also known as the Torre dos Templários,…

8. Lagar de Varas

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