Rock art sitesPrint


Departure: Côa Museum, on the outskirts of Vila Nova de Foz Côa. The museum is located about 3 kms from the center of Vila Nova de Foz Côa, being accessible by a signaled road.

: In winter visits start at 9.15, and in summer at 9.30, there being several during the morning.

Duration of the visit
: 1h30 to 2h

Total walking distance
– about 800 meters, easy

Due to the very high temperatures reached in the summer, it is strongly recommended the use of a hat and sunscreen, and also of comfortable clothing and footwear. Each visitor should carry enough water for himself.

We recommend previous booking!

General Information

The site of Canada do Inferno is on the left bank of the Côa. The visit begins at the Côa Museum, with a guide in an all-terrain vehicle, on an asphalt road, with a distance of about 6 kms, reaching near the abandoned works of the Low Côa dam. From here there are some further 3 kms in a road that is a dirt track through these same works that are part of the history of the discovery of the rock art of Côa. The final walking route is about 400 meters to the place of deployment of the first visited engravings, by a narrow but arranged path.

The site is located on the left bank of the final section of the Côa river, near an ancient beach, now covered by the waters of the Pocinho dam, which also cover most of the 46 engraved rocks that are recorded here, of which 39 have Paleolithic figurations. The chosen route for public viewing, conditioned to aspects of accessibility and intelligibility of the engravings, includes six rocks, all except one with Paleolithic engravings.

This was the first rock art site identified in late 1991, with the discovery of rock 1. And public divulgation occurred in Novembver 1994. In chronological terms, all phases of the Paleolithic art of the Côa and later periods are represented here, with the exception of the Iron Age period.

We higlight rock 1, by its historical symbolism, but also by the set of representations, that mostly superimpose each other. Pecking, often completed with abrasion, was the technique used to make the most remarkable motifs. Note the figure of a horse that has two heads, thus documenting the invention of graphic animation.

We also higlight in rock 14,, among several figures, a beautiful goat represented by multiple thinly incised traces, which gave origin to the current logo of the Archaeological Park and Côa Museum.

The tradition of engraving on this site continued during the Neolithic and ended only on the second half of the twentieth century, with the pecked engravings made by the last millers of the Côa river. Remarkable among them are Alcino Tomé and António Seixas, who worked in Canada do Inferno in the forties and fifties of the twentieth century, and whose engravings are mostly submerged. Rock 7, which lies just beneath rock 1, presents some modern engravings, easily visible. In fact, the path taken by visitors is the old millers way of Canada do Inferno, and during the visit it is possible to see several examples of traditional architecture in the region.

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