‘La Raya’ is much more than the border of Fuentes de Oñoro and Vilar Formoso. To the north and south we have other steps that provide us with the wonderful bond of two countries. The one in the province of Salamanca with a region that offers the most authentic of Portugal, la Beira Alta. In this one-day excursion from the capital of Tormes we are going to move to the southwest corner of the province to, thence, make the leap to a Portugal where nature and heritage go hand in hand. A kind of time travel to territories where the clock has stopped for the fortune of the traveler.

An hour and a half by car separate the Salamanca capital from its furthest municipality along with El Payo. We talk aboutNavasfrías. In continuous bond with Portugal and Cáceres, boasts of being the province's ‘refrigerator’ when winter is harsher. His name suits him perfectly. Historical border of the Kingdom of León, many of its inhabitants emigrated to Argentina in the early years of the 20th century. Today it is a peaceful town where we find the true meaning of the word peace. Although there is a specific place where that feeling increases. We talk aboutEl Bardal. An oak grove in short supply 500 meters from the urban area that also has a recreational area and a hostel. Talking about trees, do not get lost in the town "El Tilero", a centenary tree that is a true symbol for the navasfrieños.
Foios and the source of the Coa river

The residents of Navasfrías had to wait for too many years to have a road that would shorten their trip to Portugal. Now in just eight minutes it is possible to stand in Aldeia do Bispo. But our goal is Foios, On the banks ofCoa river and famous for its ‘capeias arraianas’ where the street confinements and the unique tradition of forcón are included. This wooden instrument (oak, how could it be otherwise) It is formed by several branches or forks in each of which the young men who participate in the capea are introduced. Foios is not the only place where it is present, since it extends to all the municipalities of the council of Sabugal.

From Foios it is possible to do a hiking route of 13,5 kilometers that takes us to the source of the Coa River. If we prefer, we can travel by car almost to the same point of that birth in the so-called Serra das Mesas. Here rises a river that, after touring 130 kilometers, it will end at the Douro in Vila Nova de Foz Coa.

It may be time to eat by now. No need to worry, because inFoios awaits us El Dorado restaurant with its well-known prawns in sauce. Another option is to continue in the direction of Sabugal following the course of the Coa river and stop in Trutalcôa, a trout farm that also has a restaurant where those same delicious pieces are served with different recipes.

It is very difficult to see a specimen, but if Doñana is the refuge of the Iberian lynx in Spain, laSierra de la Malcata it is in Portugal. This natural reserve has a unique ecosystem where we hope that this animal, symbol of the iberian peninsula, do not suffer the dreaded extinction. We arrived at Sabugal, where the image of the lynx will be present in graffiti and murals. On the shores of the omnipresent Coa, this city offers us the imposing image of its castle of the Five Corners. Medieval echoes of when Sabugal passed from Portuguese to Leon hands and started again.

If we have time to spare before returning to Salamanca, it is almost essential to continue traveling in time.Sortelha proposes us a scenario of spears, gentlemen, cannons and maidens. I can think of few places in the world that so faithfully preserve their medieval essence. In fact, every September it celebrates a fair that faithfully recreates the elements of that time between the 5th and 15th centuries.. In Sortelha you have to go up to its castle, ordered to be raised in the 13th century by King Sancho II, and lean out to his balcony of Pilatos where a princess seems to be waiting for us.

On the way back to Salamanca we still have one stop left. TheAlfaitates castle, also known as Castillo de la Luna, because on full moon nights it seemed to brush her with its stones. It is a good example of romantic-Gothic architecture and is located in the very center of this small town that boasts of its past as a strategic point on the border.


Navasfrias and surroundings

Hiking trails

Route in Sabugal

From Navasfrí we encourage you to discover our land, if you come, you will surely come back.

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Source: LaGacetaDeSalamanca