THE DUERO CANYON
Hacienda Zorita· Natural Reserve
The majestic Duero Canyon was formed by the wild waters of our “wine river”, the Duero – which the Portuguese call Douro, the Golden River. It stretches across 100 km and is only natural border between Spain and Portugal.
Take in the spectacular scenery of 600m high granite cliffs or watch the black stork and other endangered birds in their natural habitat.
Only traditional agriculture & cattle are permitted in the Natural Reserve. Its unique microclimate allows organic cultivation of vines but also olives, citrus fruits(mostly lemons & oranges), almonds and what not...
Two Natural Parks on either side of the river form Europe’s largest protected area.
The Arribes del Duero Natural Park covers 106.105 ha known for its biodiversity and watercourses, which have eroded deep valleys and cliffs. This dramatic landscape is known as Arribes. It is a special "Bird Protection Area" recognised by the European Union and is home to the near extinct Black Stork.
The International Douro Natural Park spans across an equally large area along the Douro’s western riverbanks – as it is the border between Portugal and Spain it is called "International Douro". This natural park was created to protect the scenic landscape, its flora and fauna.
“I love exploring and discovering new places - most of all those that are off the beaten track and somewhere not everyone can go to.
One of my most treasured ones has been the Duero Canyon. I didn’t even know this kind of colossal canyon existed in Europe! The only comparison I can think of is the famous Colorado Canyon in the States, but here you won’t come across many people – unlike Colorado with its millions of tourists every year!
The cliffs on either side of the Canyon are in two words - breath-taking! Reading up on the history of the region I have found a beautiful poem written by Miguel de Unamuno, speaking of ‘mirroring clear skies, watering brown fields and whispering ballads.’ This was written in the 19th Century but is still true as ever in the 21st! My recommendation - sail along the Duero River…It’s worth it every minute and you’re going to love it!”