The largest biosphere in Europe, at over a million hectares, the vast Transfronteriza Meseta Ibérica biosphere reserve covers a grand variety of ecosystems

Transfronteriza Meseta Ibérica biosphere reserve

  • Region: Castilla y León (Salamanca and Zamora) and Trasmontero in Portugal
  • Declared a biosphere reserve: 2015
  • Protected area: 1.132.606 hectares, (475.608,57 hectares in Spain)
  • Main towns and villages: ZAMORA (Alcañices, Argañín, Asturianos, Bermillo de Sayago, Cobreros, Fariza, Fermoselle, Ferreras de Abajo, Ferreras de Arriba, Ferreruela, Figueruela de Arriba, Fonfría, Galende, Gamones, Hermisende, Lubián, Luelmo, Mahide, Manzanal de Arriba, Moral de Sayago, Moralina, Muelas del Pan, Muga de Sayago, Otero de Bodas Palacios de Sanabria, Pedralba de la Pradería, Pereruela, Pías; Pino del Oro, Porto, Puebla de Sanabria, Rábano de Aliste, Requejo, Riofrío de Aliste, Robleda-Cervantes, San Vicente de la Cabeza, San Vitero, Tábara, Torregamones, Trabazos, Trefacio, Villadepera, Villalcampo, Villar del Buey, Villardeciervos, Villardiegua de la Ribera, Villaseco del Pan, Viñas de Aliste). SALAMANCA (Ahigal de los Aceiteros, Aldeadávila de la Ribera, Almendra, Barruecopardo, Bermellar, La Bouza, Cabeza del Caballo, Cerezal de Peñahorcada, La Fregeneda, Hinojosa de Duero, Lumbrales, Masueco, Mieza, La Peña, Pereña de la Ribera, Puerto Seguro, La Redonda, Saldeana, San Felices de los Gallegos, Saucelle, Sobradillo, Trabanca, Villar de Ciervo, Villar de la Yegua, Villarino de los Aires, Vilvestre, La Zarza de Pumareda).

Points of interest

The largest biosphere in Europe, at over a million hectares, the vast Transfronteriza Meseta Ibérica biosphere reserve covers a grand variety of ecosystems and habitats extending over a territory that includes north western Portugal and the provinces of Salamanca and Zamora.

From the Sierra de Culebra and Montesinho mountains to the gorges of the Duero and Túa rivers, it is a territory with dazzling landscapes and unique natural values which includes five natural parks and many other protected areas.

Find a hotel close to the Transfronteriza Meseta Ibérica biosphere reserve

My favorite protected areas to visit in the Transfronteriza Meseta Ibérica biosphere reserve

Parque natural de Arribes del Duero

The steep gorges of the Arribes del Duero Natural Park are formed by the river Duero which is also the national boundary between Spain and Portugal. The protected area continues into the Portuguese side where it is called the International Douro Natural Park. In 2015, the two parks were declared a transboundary biosphere reserve by Unesco under the name of the Meseta Ibérica. Read more here:

Parque natural del Lago de Sanabria y alrededores

The stunning Lago de Sanabria Natural Park has been extended into the Parque natural Lago de Sanabria y sierras Segundera y de Porto. At almost 200 hectares and a depth of 50 odd metres the lake, that gives its name to the park, is the largest natural lake in the Iberian Peninsula of glacial origin. Read more here:

The Villafáfila Lagoons

Depending on the season of the year, different birds can be observed But many people visit this area just for views of the Great bustard (Otis otis). There is an excellent information centre for the Lagunas de Villafáfila with audiovisual exhibitions, walkways, observation points etc and the place is staffed by very knowledgable guides. Well worth a visit! Read more here:

The Sierra de la Culebra

On the Portuguese side the area of the Sierra de la Culebra range is included in the Montesinho Natural Park. This area has become famous over recent years for wolf watching holidays hosts the highest density of wild wolves in Spain.

Life-long naturalists, John and Margaret Hallowell are the husband and wife team behind the Wild Wolf Experience and through organising independent wolf watching and wildlife tours in Spain they are able to share their knowledge of the mammals and birdlife of the country. Watching for Wolves operates throughout the year and is based in the Sierra de la Culebra Read more here:

Information / visitor centres

This video is in Spanish but is pretty visual and shows the amazing diversity of the biosphere in general

Allmost all of the towns and villages have tourist information centres of one kind or another and the natural parks mentioned above have their own interpretation centres so information is fairly easy to find.

The official interpretation centre for the Transfronteriza Meseta Ibérica biosphere reserve is under construction in the village of Villardeciervos and is due to open in 2022 with exhibitions and a wolf museum.

However, The village already has an excellent tourist information centre with well informed staff.

The official website for the Transfronteriza Meseta Ibérica biosphere reserve (in Spanish and Portuguese):

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