Foz Coa | Rock Art of Portugal
This is a rare opportunity to visit rock art sites away from the beaten tourist trail, across the Spanish/Portuguese border region, in unspoiled countryside. The engravings in Portugal’s Valley were only discovered twenty years ago when they were about to be drowned as part of a huge dam project. An international outcry saved the rock art for posterity.
It is not only the largest outdoor collection of Palaeolithic images, but also the only known place where rock art from the Upper Palaeolithic (c 24,000 BC) through to historical times is found together. There is an interesting comparison with the Spanish site at Siega Verde, just across the border.
- A gallery of rock art over thousands of years, spread over 17 km of river valleys (World Heritage Site), far from the tourist trail
- Free time to explore Porto, handsome city on the mouth of the Douro
- Enjoy special lectures by archaeologists, conservators and researchers, who will give unique insights into their work to protect local heritage
- Rock Art
We arrive in Porto and drive to our hotel in the winding streets on the north bank of the old town. This evening we enjoy an introductory lecture and aperitif before dinner.
We board a train on a scenic journey along the green and pleasant Douro river valley towards Foz Côa. Drive to our hotel in the town in preparation for our first rock art sites in the morning...
We begin, appropriately, at Canada do Inferno, where the first Palaeolithic petroglyphs were discovered in 1992. After lunch we continue to the site at Penascosa, another rock art site. This afternoon, we visit the rock art sites in the valleys, at Ribeira de Piscos. Some of the best-known of all the region’s images are to be found here.
We spend a full day at Penascosa, another rock art site on a hill overlooking the river and surrounded by olive and almond trees. The territory here is thought to have been suitable for the establishment of camps in the Palaeolithic period, and remains a beautiful and tranquil region.
This morning, we visit Foz Côa Museum, housed in a beautiful modern building with plenty of space and light to view the intricate displays. The museum tells the story not only of the art itself, but also its discovery and the fight to preserve the ancient heritage of the region. After lunch, we take another lovely drive through rolling countryside towards Siega Verde. We explore the many rock art sites here, some of which date back some twenty millenia. The sites boast a menagerie of prehistoric wildlife, ranging from goat and bison to reindeer and woolly rhinoceros.
This morning we visit the recently discovered area of artworks at Fariseu newly opened to the public. Situated close to the inflow of the Côa river into the Pocinho reservoir, this site was exposed when the dam was emptied. It is so unique that for a long time its authenticity remained the subject of hot debate. We end the day with another scenic rail journey along the river valley on our return to Porto.
Transfer to the airport for flights to London or onwards journeys.
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included - dinners with wine
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotels - 2 nights in a refined hotel in an elegant residential area of Porto, featuring casual and comfortable interiors and rooms, 4 nights in a small, charming family-run hotel, close to the Foz Côa archaeological park
- Flights - Scheduled return flights from London to Porto
2 nights in a refined hotel in an elegant residential area of Porto, featuring casual and comfortable interiors and rooms
4 nights in a small, charming family-run hotel, close to the Foz Côa archaeological park