There’s no need to be afraid of the wolves at this sanctuary near Malveira, 10km east of Mafra. The centre is home to around 13 wolves that can no longer live in the wild. Visits are by 90-minute guided tours with prebooking only (English is always the latter of the two time slots).
Set in a forested valley, the centre aims to boost the rapidly dwindling numbers of the Iberian wolf population (now just 250 in the wild in Portugal, along with an additional 2000 in Spain) by affording them safe shelter in a near-to-natural habitat inside five 1-hectare enclosures. As the wolves are free to roam in their large enclosures, there’s no guarantee that you’ll spot them, but encounters are frequent. There are volunteering opportunities as well. The sanctuary is best reached by private transport (call ahead for directions as GPS will take you an impassable way). Cash only; no access for strollers or wheelchairs.