Arribes del Duero
The Duero (in Portuguese Douro) is the most important river in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. It rises in Spain in the province of Soria at 2,160 metres of altitude and runs over a distance of 897 kilometres to the Portuguese Oporto where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Over a length of 112 kilometres it forms the border between Spain and Portugal. In Portugal this area is nature park since 1998 under the name Duoro Internacional and in Spain since 2002 under the name of Arribes del Duero. In Spain this nature park lies in the province of Salamanca and the southwest of Zamora, in the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León.
Arribes, arribas and arribanzos are the local words used for this type of landscape where the rivers Águeda, Duero, Esla, Huebra, Tormes and Uces flow a few hundred meters lower than the surrounding land and are enclosed between steep slopes on both sides of the river, one side being Spain and the other side Portugal. Due to the large altitude differences, the large amount of water that the Duero brings and the many tributaries that flow into it, this area is one of the leading producers of hydroelectric energy. The damming of the river has unfortunately caused that it has lost its rough character.
The Arribes del Duero know a great variety of animals. There live about 200 different bird species, including the black stork, Bonelli's eagle and the vulture. The mild microclimate on the slopes along the river is favourable for amphibians and reptiles, of which 33 different species live here. There are also about twenty species of fish, including the anguilla, the pardilla, the calandino and the sarda. Finally live here as well otters, martens, badgers, wild boars and a valuable bat population.
Due to its location at the border, far from the big cities and with little infrastructure, the area suffers from a declining population. It is attempted to boost tourism in the area, but generally the area remains underdeveloped. Nevertheless, the area is well worth a visit. In the vicinity of the Duero, you can do nice hiking and there are numerous viewpoints in the villages, which offer a magnificent view of the river. Through the area also runs the GR-14, a well marked path that follows the course of the River Duero. It is therefore also known as the "Senda del Duero" or Path of the Duero.