Los Arribes del Duero, along the river trail
MYNT. Diputación de Zamora.
Landscape in Los Arribes del Duero. Zamora.
Tico Luca. Diputación de Zamora.
Boat on Los Arribes del Duero. Zamora.
ALCINA. Diputación de Zamora.
Arribes del Duero. Puente Pino bridge, Zamora.
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In the area bordering the provinces of Salamanca and Zamora you will find one of inland Spain's most spectacular landscapes: los Arribes del Duero. Follow the trail marked out by the river canyon and you will discover the area's spectacular beauty.
In inland Spain there are places that are simply unbelievable. The Arribes del Duero Nature Reserve is one of them. It is located in the west of the Castile-León Region, in the area where its two provinces meet: Salamanca and Zamora. The landscape of this area is dominated by the spectacular canyon carved out over time by the Duero River – the Iberian peninsula's longest and deepest water course. A stunning setting with rugged gorges and canyons, occasionally reaching a depth of 500 metres, running almost one hundred kilometres through the southwest of Zamora and the northwest of Salamanca provinces.
Los Arribes del Duero is unique for other reasons too. Its unusual relief and geographical conditions mean that it also has a special microclimate. Here you will find mild temperatures, shelter from the wind, sunshine and typical Mediterranean vegetation. Don't be surprised, then, when you come across olive and almond groves, vines and orange trees close to the river. This nature reserve is also home to many animal species, some of which are endangered. Outstanding amidst the regional fauna is the black stork, the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon and the Egyptian vulture.
Spring and autumn are good times to visit the Arribes Nature Reserve, when all the colours of the countryside are at their most vibrant. A car is ideal to explore the different villages of the region. Nevertheless, there is a network of regional trails (PR) that run around one long-distance hiking route, the GR-14, which passes through the reserve, perfect for excursions from one village to another, enjoying the stunning beauty of the region on foot or by bike. The best thing is to make for the tourist offices where they will give you all the information you need.
The Arribes area is packed with countryside and cultural attractions, in both parts – Salamanca and Zamora provinces. In the Salamanca part, for example, you can discover stunning settings such as Pozo de los Humos, a 50-metre waterfall close to the village of Pereña, or enjoy beautiful views of the Duero River from various viewpoints such as Mirador del Fraile and el Picón de Felipe, both just a few kilometres from the village of Aldeadávila de la Ribera. Here there is another point of particular interest: Playa del Rostro, a river beach ideal for swimming and kayaking or a 1.5 hour boat trip to the area's incredible canyons.
If you fancy more time on the water, make for Vilvestre, where you can go on catamaran trips, and where there is also a major Neolithic site.
And in the Zamora area there are many things to do, like water activities in the Almendra reservoir, admiring the monuments in the town of Fermoselle (if you want, you can go on a boat tour between the Bemposta and Picote dams) or discovering the curious "chiviteras" of Torregamones, which are old traditional constructions that shepherds used to use.
In the Zamora area you can also go on the popular environmental cruise of Arribes del Duero, another boat tour that takes you to spectacular cliffs (it starts at the International Biological Station of Miranda do Douro, on the Zamora-Miranda do Douro border). There is also an interactive fauna exhibition.
These are just a few of the options to be found in one of Spain's most unusual nature reserves, Los Arribes del Duero. Choose your route, prepare your holiday and don't worry if you don't get to see it all – you can come back whenever you like.