Vale do Côa Archaeological Park

Vila Nova de Foz Coa

Information

20.000 years back Men engraved thousands of drawings representing horses and bovines in the schist rocks of the beautiful Côa river valley, an affluent of the gorgeous Douro River, on the northeast side of Portugal.

The construction plan of a new Dam that was about to leave the engravings submersed was very polemic on a national level. The construction works were blocked and in 1995 is created the Vale do Côa Archaeological Park, as a way of recognizing the great heritage and cultural value of these Palaeolithic findings.

In December 1998 the rupestrian engravings were classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.

The Vale do Côa centre is the third Palaeolithic rupestrian art station known in Portugal, where it is possible to observed hundreds, and probably thousands, of engravings distributed all over the valley.

There are available for visit the following engravings nucleus: Penascosa (in Castelo Melhor), Canada do Inferno (in Vila Nova de Foz Côa), Ribeira de Piscos (in Muxagata) and the tour “following the steps of Palaeolithic hunters” (starting in Algodres, next to the Mother Church).

Visits take abour one hour and a half to two hours. There is a limited number of visitors a day, hence it is better to perform reservations in advance, at least within a eight days period.

Visitors are welcomed in the Welcoming Centres installed in the headquarters of the Park and also in the villages of Muxagata and Castelo Melhor. In these Centres, the visitors may get their admission ticket (after reservation in advanced), and also consulting and acquire some information, divulgation and promotion goods.
The visit is usually made in groups of 8 people, in a Park’s vehicle.

The Vale do Côa Archaeological Park is closed to the Public on Mondays and on the following holidays: 1st January, Easter Sunday, 1st of May and 25th December.

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