It is still possible to walk through an incomparable landscape, where there’s little human presence, discover rare animals at each step and admire flora which reminds us of old Mediterranean woods at Serra da Malcata Natural Reserve. Created in 1981 to protect the Iberian lynx, the Reserve is also a safe habitat to foxes, wildcats, boars, otters, does, black storks, Montagu’s harriers, Northern goshawks, azure-winged magpies and rufous-tailed scrub robins. With an area of over 16.000 hectares, woods of Pyrenean oaks, holm oaks and strawberry trees which fill with colour during the spring and autumn, water streams, lakes and brushwood.
In the early 1990s there were around 1000 Iberian lynxes distributed through 9 population centres in Portugal and Spain. Nowadays there are only around 100 of them and no one is certain whether there are still examples in Portugal. There is an exception to this rule at a reproduction centre created in Silves, where all efforts are being made so that the Iberian lynx can be put into Portuguese Nature. It is expected that the Serra da Malcata Natural Reserve will be one of the first places in which these lynxes will be released when such a thing is possible.
Discover the land of the lynx
Created to protect natural heritage, keeping local natural habitats and to promote scientific study, environmental education and support local traditional activities, Serra da Malcata Natural Reserve has a laboratory, an auditorium with a library and an interpretative trail which allow several activities to be conducted. Among them are the didactic and pedagogical studios which promote themes related to the preservation of Nature at Senhora da Garça Educational Centre. This is the starting point for pedestrian walks or BTT tours, organized in the Reserve area and lead visitors through the most important spots in the mountain: the Salgueiro and Sobreiral Trails, the Espirito Santo Chapel, the Carvalhal Trail or the Cabeço do Pisão. If you prefer a little less physical effort, the Reserve also has a car tour available.
You should not miss the chance to visit this almost untouched land between the Côa River on the North and the Bazágueda River on the South, and be amazed by the richness of fauna and the abundance of flora marked by refreshing water streams. Come and discover the wild side of Beira Interior.