Foz Côa, the valley around the river Côa was destined to be a reservoir when word got out about its concentration of rock carvings from the Upper Upper Palaeolithic (22,000-10,000 B.C.) Now it's a park where you can see these ancient carvings. The valley is in the Trás-os-Montes region of Portugal.
Map of Foz Côa
Foz Côa Travel Toolbox
Foz Côa was just a river gorge destined to be a lake before the discovery of Paleolithic rock carvings that thwarted the building of a proposed dam. In fact, if you zoom in the map, you can still see the start of the dam construction near the confluence of rivers.
There are over 30 rock art sites. You can visit three of them shown on the map.
From the town of Vila Nova de Foz Coa you can visit the rock art site called Canada do Inferno>. From Muxagata you can visit Ribeira de Piscos, and from Castelo Melhor you can visit Penascosa. Here is the site with all the current visiting information.
Summer heat is fierce, and winters can be quite cold, so a spring or fall trip is recommended.
The park headquarters, marked on the map, is a stunning building overlooking the confluence of the two rivers. Inside you'll find:
- library specialized in rock art
- lockers to collect small volumes
- information post for more detailed information on all the exhibition areas
- cafeteria and restaurant service
- audio-guide system (not yet available)
- guided tours to the exhibition
- cardiac defibrillator
The park is closed on Mondays.
In the town of Vila Nova de Foz Côa, also plan to visit Igreja Matriz de Vila Nova de Foz Coa in the historic center of town near the town hall. It's a stunner.
You can arrange a personalized tour of the area and the rock art sites through Portugal Trails.
Other European Rock Art
Another extrordinary concentration of rock art in Europe occurs in Italy, in the Valcamonica. You can visit over 140,000 carvings covering 8000 years there.
Video of the Visits
Where to Stay
For other options check out the booking box below.