The attraction of the Azibo Reservoir

Discover this peaceful protected landscape in the northeast of Portugal, see your image reflected in the clear areas of the lagoon filled with various species of fish and amphibians, admire the lush vegetation, notably the wild orchids of all colours, and hike along the Azibo Trails or take a bracing dip at the River Beach of Fraga da Pegada.

Município de Macedo de Cavaleiros CC BY-NC-ND

The Protected Landscape of the Azibo Reservoir was established in 1999 and is part of the Natura 2000 Network. It is located in Macedo de Cavaleiros and Bragança, near the hot lands of the Sabor River, and boasts an area of more than 3 thousand hectares.

Why go

  • Gastronomy and Wines
  • Natural landscape
  • Birdwatching


Portugal is among the best destinations in Europe for birdwatching in their natural habitat and the Azibo Reservoir is the perfect spot for birdwatching fans.

The reservoir has a large variety of species that come here in search of the ideal environment for a season or for the entire year.

The highest places are the favourite spots of the dreaded eagles or the nice white storks, some of them residents in the place. The Montague’s harrier, known for its acrobatic skills and for flying low, arrives in March and stays until September. The restless Common Sandpiper and the noisy Great Crested Grebe make the banks of the reservoir the busiest places in the summer, along with other birds, such as the Mallard and herons, or the Great Cormorant in winter, and the Little Ringed Plover.

What to do

  • Observe the birds at the Azibo Reservoir
  • Soak up the sun and go for a swim at the pleasant beaches of Ribeira and Fraga da Pegada
  • Drive past the Monastery of Castro de Avelãs and take the road to Bragança to go up to the castle and visit the Domus Municipalis
  • In Salselas, visit the Central Nucleus of the Protected Landscape of the Azibo Reservoir and the Museum Hall of Archaeology

The heart of Northeast Trás-os-Montes is home to more than 40 species of perching birds.

Many mammals have also chosen to live in this protected area: otters, foxes, badgers, roe deer, squirrels and hares.

Find out if there is any organised activity on the days when you plan to visit the reservoir and prepare a snack before embarking on this adventure. After the boat sightseeing tour in the Azibo Reservoir, you will love to eat at the picnic park surrounded by protected landscape.

Archaeological remains

Explore the walking and cycling trails that form the Azibo Trail network. Catch your breath at one of the interpretation panels and try to identify the fauna and flora.

Enjoy the archaeological remains from pre-history to the Roman times. In the Central Nucleus of the Protected Area of the Azibo Reservoir, between the villages of Vale da Porca and Salselas, visitors have at their disposal a museum dedicated to archaeology, with an auditorium, a bar and an ecological library, or “ecoteca”.

Marvel at the colourful folklore and local handicrafts. Take back a souvenir with you, for e.g., a “careto”. “Caretos” are funny disguises with which the locals of Podence celebrate Carnival.

What you need to know

  • The Geography of Azibo Reservoir, generating a great diversity of fauna and flora, has set the perfect conditions for birdwatching
  • This protected area has walking and cycling trails
  • At the river beach of Ribeira, during summer the temperature of the surface water is normally above 24ºC 

Swimming in the reservoir

If you’re visiting the reservoir in the summer, don’t forget to take your bikini or bathing shorts, because this protected area offers a unique and pleasant microclimate and the hidden beaches of Fraga da Pegada and Ribeira.

While at the reservoir, enjoy the water recreational activities such as rowing, windsurf or canoeing. If you’re not up to tiring activities, take a dip at the river beach of Fraga da Pegada, the EU Blue Flag awarded beach. This is also an “accessible beach”, a designation that confirms the existence of support equipment for people with reduced mobility.

In addition to being accessible to people with reduced mobility, the river beach of Ribeira offers a vast multipurpose lawn, playground and playing field, where sometimes beach volley championships are organised.

You can walk or cycle across the protected area from here – bicycle rental is available on site.

You can also find several rural tourism units where you can sleep overnight.

You will like

  • Relaxing in the recreational areas of the Azibo Reservoir, for e.g., the beaches of Ribeira and Fraga da Pegada

How to get there

There are flights to Porto, low cost , for example, London (Stansted and Gatwick), Paris (Beauvais, Orly and Charles de Gaulle Vatry), Marseille, Lille, Tours, St. Etienne, Bologna, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse, Madrid, Barcelona El Prat , Tenerife, Valencia, Venice and Palma de Mallorca.

In the summer there are low cost companies flying from Liverpool, Las Palmas, Carcassonne, Rodez and Nantes.

With normal fares from London - Gatwick, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris - Orly.

The best way to reach the center of Porto from the International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro is by metro. The trip takes about 30 minutes.

If you’re driving from Porto, take the A4 to Amarante and then the IP4 to Bragança, in the heart of Trás-os-Montes. Exit the IP4 at Macedo de Cavaleiros. The Protected Landscape of Azibo Reservoir is 2 Km from the city.

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