Looking west from Estrela's moutain meridional extremity you discover a monotonous succession of rounded top hills which hide deeply sloped valleys and fitted lines of water. When the trail turns, unexpectedly, the Mata da Margaraça appears, a mix of Atlantic - English oak and sweet chestnut - and Mediterranean elements - Strawberry tree, Portuguese laurel, Laurel..., home to rare species of flora - which is the case of the Iberian endemic Veronica micrantha or the Scented Solomon's seal - being, due to its small dimension and character of insularity, a very vulnerable system. Mata de Margaraça is a vestige of the forest that once covered the shale hills of the mountainous areas of the centre of Portugal. The presence of numerous reptiles and amphibians is associated with its richness in water. Interesting passeriform selection as well as a dozen micro mammal species as much as of bats.
In the interior of this Protected landscape (346 ha), a beautiful geological accident, the Fraga da Pena, hides a waterfall surrounded by leafy vegetation, a surprising scene due to the arid environment commonly associated to the Açor mountain.
Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas, I.P. (ICNF, I.P.)
Identification and Access
Access coming from:
- Coimbra, head through the IP3, heading towards Viseu, until you enter IC6, exiting on the N344 sign - Coja. After passing through Coja, continue through the N344, exiting in the direction of Benfeita through the M518, until the village of Pardieiros which is already inside the protected area.
The roads have many curves and counter curves which made this the ideal location for the old Portuguese Rally. Exiting one of them, you find the Margaraça, a refreshing spot in the dryness of the Açor mountain.
To observe the fauna leave early in the morning or a bit before dusk. Bring binoculars and a camera, if you have them. Always pay attention to the weather forecast and avoid performing activities in days of rain, thunderstorm or fog. Avoid going out by yourself, but, if you do, inform an acquaintance or a local entity of your departure and return. Use simple and comfortable clothes. Make outerwear, food, water, sunscreen and/or a raincoat available. You may also want to take a cellphone and flashlight (do not start a fire and don't dispose of cigarette butts incorrectly). Take special precautions when walking in moist and rocky areas, to avoid falling and do not act in a way that might endanger yourself or others.
In case of accident contact the emergency service 112.
Supports in place
It has directional and informative signs throughout all of its area.
The environmental awareness project "My Protected Area".
Statutes of Conservation
PTCON0051 Complexo do Açor (Açor Complex)
Mata da Margaraça Biogenetic Reserve.
Lost in Acor mountains, the village of Piódão fits harmoniously in the shale fields of his surroundings.
What you can do
1. It is time to walk on of the paths and enjoy the flowers of Margaraça.
1. Enjoy the beautiful waterfall of Fraga da Pena and the freshening surroundings.
2. In the 1st weekend of September, in Benfeita, takes place the Feast of Nossa Senhora das Necessidades. Join in!
1. In the fall, wander through Margaraça and enjoy the colors of hardwoods.
2. Look down and try to find the mushrooms that sprout through the old leaves.
1. Visit Centro de Interpretação (Interpretation Center) in Casa Grande da Margaraça and Pardieiros village.
2. Visit Piódão with its schist houses passing through Mata da Margaraça.
Best Season: All year long