The best adjective to describe the feeling of people that sail the waters of Extremadura is “Privileged”. Yes, within the many options to discover Extremadura there are very special boat rides. “Sight, smell and hearing are the senses that most participate in this experience,” says Rafa Pintado, the entrepreneur of “Barco del Tajo”.
The travelers spend the cruise being surprised by the landscape, the smell of the vegetation and the silence that surrounds all things. These are journeys through the calm that is created by fresh water. And if visitors wish they will also find the opportunity to enjoy sporting activities. Extremadura is a region in Spain, which west of Madrid and border with Portugal and in regard to anything that involves water, Extremadura has a lot to say.
Crossing La Raya
This is the biggest attraction for visitors. “La Raya” is locally called the border between the two countries, Spain and Portugal. The boats sail from many different points in Extremadura and arrive to Portugal. In the north of Extremadura there are nine rivers routes that cross the waters of the International Tagus, “La Raya” and the surrounding areas of Monfragüe.
Routes through the North of Extremadura
“Contemplando a los guardianes” (STARE AT THE GUARDIANS) passes through the Tagus River and the Alagón River. The most interesting points of this trip are the areas of the Zepa Zone that ends at the Peña Cepeda, a rocky area where you can see Griffon Vultures.
“Regreso a los templarios”(THE RETURN TO THE TEMPLAR) is a tour that includes the Portuguese town of Segura and its surroundings, the Roman village of Idanha a Velha, Monsanto and Penha Garcia in the in the Naturtejo Geopark.
“Balcón del Tajo” (THE TAGUS BALCONY) it is the most extensive route and includes five different itineraries that cross the International Tajo Natural Park.
“Ruta de los gigantes” (ROUTE OF THE GIANTS) It crosses the Alcántara dam, the “Peña Cepeda and the “Canchal de las Ranas” until you reach a place called “Canchos de Ramiro”.
“La última frontera natural”(THE LAST NATURAL FRONTIER) runs from “Herrera de Alcántara” to Cedillo. This is a twenty-two kilometer trip that takes two hours.
“Corazón del Tajo” (THE HEART OF THE TAGUS) navigates the waters between Herrera and “Santiago de Alcántara” also a trip that will take two hours covering twenty-two kilometers. Passengers might want to join these two routes and make it a single four-hour cruise that crosses the entire navigable section of the Tagus. This is a privileged territory that has been occasionally restricted due to the importance of its flora and fauna. Visitors may spot, among other species, Griffon Vultures, Egyptian Vultures, Black Storks and Imperial Eagles.
“Ruta del contrabando” (THE WAY OF THE SMUGGLERS), the route starts at Cedillo and the visitor may choose from a number of different water ways that were used by the smugglers in the past, when the border between Spain and Portugal was subject to tariffs.
“Descubre Portugal” (DISCOVER PORTUGAL), the passenger has a choice of departing from any three places in Extremadura: Cedillo, Herrera de Alcántara and Santiago de Alcántara. The boat arrives to Lentiscais, in Portugal and there the passengers have the option of taking a free bus to Castelo Branco.
“Portugal a tu aire” (PORTUGAL AT YOUR PACE), this program includes a hotel night at Castelo Branco and the return trip by boat, on the next day.
Currently there are two boats available for these varied itineraries: the “Alcántara” and the “Tajo Internacional”. The company has one more vessel destined to make trips through the Monfragüe National Park. Initially they plan two different itineraries: one, from “Serradilla” to the “Salto del Gitano” and the other from “Serradilla” to Talaván. This boat is an interpretation center on the water, ready to discover the rich flora and fauna of the park. Monfragüe is a Special Protection Area for Birds and is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Information and Reservations:
Barco del Tajo
Phone: (+34) 680 554 146
Routes to the South of Extremadura
¡Alqueva, is the largest artificial lake in Europe, it has one hundred kilometers in length and a thousand two hundred kilometers of coastline, to enjoy a wide variety of activities. It is situated between “Olivenza” in Extremadura and Portugal. Some of the programs that delight visitors are boating, kayaking, traditional fishing and many other water related activities. One of the star events is the Route of The Coffee Smugglers, staged between the two banks, the Spanish and the Portuguese, which is recreated every Friday and Saturday nights and includes a gastronomic experience.
Phone: (+34) 690 329 406
The reservoirs of “Serena”, “Zújar”, “García de Sola”, “Orellana” and “Cijara” are navigable throughout the year. When touring these places don’t forget your binoculars or a telescopic lens, because it is a Special Protection Area for Birds within the Natura 2000 Network.
“Sport Nautic Alqueva”
Phone: (+34) 619042346
“Sertur, Ocio y Tiempo libre en la Serena
Phone: (+34) 610 390 793
The Recreational Complex “Isla de Zújar” offers visitors sandy beaches, floating platforms, and piers.
Original article by Noelia Pérez
Translated by Susana Windt
Published on September 2017