Vila Nova de Foz Côa is a town of 7,300 people (2011) in Alto Douro wine region of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, northern Portugal. It principal draw for visitors are the sites of prehistoric rock art scattered through the nearby Côa Valley (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the museum in town that serves as a portal for understanding them.
Vila Nova de Foz Côa (VEE-luh NAW-vuh d(ih) FAWSH KOH-uh, /vi.ɫɐ ˈnɔ.vɐ dɨ ˈfɔʃ ˈko.ɐ/)
The rock engravings were discovered in 1994. They are supported by vertical shale surfaces, with preferential exposure to the east. The dimensions of the engravings vary between 15 cm and 180 cm, although those 40–50 cm in length predominate. The engraving techniques used are perforation and abrasion, which sometimes coexist, with the abrasion regularizing the perforation. The strokes are wide, although they are sometimes accompanied by a large amount of fine strokes, which served as a sketch or complemented the previous ones. In other cases, these thin lines draw shapes that are difficult to perceive. There are also engravings filled with multiple strokes.
Access to Vila Nova de Foz Côa from the south is via the EN 102 (which passes through Trancoso and Marialva), and from the north via IP 2 (which connects the town to Bragança and Pocinho).
There is no train service.
- 1 Côa Museum (Museu do Côa), Fundação Côa Parque Rua do Museu, 5150-620, ☏ +351 279 768 260, email@example.com.
- 2 Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley (take the EN102 road via Muxagata, or the EN222 road via Castelo Melhor). A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the best-known rock art site in Portugal, and one of the biggest attractions in the country, with 23 sites along the final 17 km of the River Côa. The site of Penascosa is known for the wonderful views of the Côa River. There are thousands of engraved rock drawings of horses, bovines and other animals, human and abstract figures, dated from 22,000 to 10,000 years BCE. To visit the engravings, you must make a reservation online, go to the park's headquarters at Avenida Gago Coutinho, 19, in Vila Nova de Foz Côa, or by call ☏ +351 279 768 260.
- Pocinho river quay
- Vessel "Senhora da Veiga": The municipality of Vila Nova de Foz Côa organizes trips on the Douro River in the rabelo boat “ Senhora da Veiga ”. This vessel has the capacity to transport 70 people. The tours are made along the Douro River between the city of Peso da Régua and Barca d'Alva.
- Built historical heritage: The municipality has historic villages that were once the seat of the municipality, such as Freixo de Numão, Almendra and Castelo Melhor, which was important in the defence of the territory. There are countless palaces, manor houses and pillories.
- Douro International Natural Park. Vila Nova de Foz Côa is located in the heart of the Douro International Natural Park. Inserted in the park is also the Alto Douro Wine Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the biggest Portuguese attractions. Douro cruises attract hundreds of visitors.
- Almond Blossom and Heritage Festival: The entire municipality moves around in the famous fortnight of Amendoeiras em Flor, especially on the three weekends that make up it. The Feira Franca is usually very busy (on the 1st Sunday of March) and the Allegorical Parade, which usually includes around 50 cars, runs, under the animation of fanfares and musical bands, the main arteries of the city.
Fresh vegetables and tasty fruits give the menus the natural flavour of the products. Its white and red wines are full-bodied or strong, like all genuine Douro wines. The local bread has a pleasant flavour, of wheat or rye, goes well with cheese, chorizo or olives.
The oil is also characteristic of the region and can keep cooked succulent sautéed with tender sprouts, cabbage and sprouts. The fish in the river Douro and its tributaries, pork, lamb or goat and game such as rabbit, hare and partridge are appreciated dishes.
The fruit is varied in late summer, fleshy peaches, honey figs, delicious melons, oranges and grapes. However, it is the dried fruits, especially the almond, that provide the raw material for the most exquisite culinary specialties: the almond sweets, the supplications, the egg lampreys and also the "coscorões", the folares and the rough balls, freed and stings.
- 1 Petiscaria Preguiça, Beco Chão-do-Pombal, Quinta Chão do Ribeiro, Mós do Douro, ☏ +351 279 789 432, firstname.lastname@example.org. M Tu 12:00–17:00, F–Su 12:00–20:30, closed W Th.
- 1 Hotel Vale do Côa, Avenida Cidade Nova 3, ☏ +351 279 760 010, email@example.com. 2-star hotel.
- 2 Casa do Rio Quinta do Vallado, Quinta do Orgal, 5150-145 Castelo Melhor, ☏ +351 279 764 340, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00 – 24:00, check-out: 08:00 – 12:00. Agrotourism.
- Pinhão (Alijó)
- Peso da Régua
- Vila Real
- Castle of Pinhel, one of the more important castles along the Côa River Valley