Serra da Estrela Natural Park
The Serra da Estrela Natural Park is located in the western point of Sistema Central (together with Serra da Lousã and Serra do Açor) a plateau with the highest point of Continental Portugal (1993 metres high); comprises the parishes of Celorico da Beira, Covilhã, Gouveia, Guarda, Seia and Manteigas. This Park extends to an area of 89 132,21 hectares.
The morphology of the area is particular and the top part has suffered the influence of the Quaternary Ice Age. Here it is possible to find large variety of habitats, including natural values related with altitude, endemic flora and habitats prior to conservation. This area is the only place in Portugal where you can find the Iberian Rock Lizard (Iberolacerta monticola), an endemic species of Iberia Peninsula. The park is part of 3 important water basins (Douro, Tagus and Mondego) and it has well preserved water courses, important for the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra), the Iberian Emerald Lizard (Lacerta schreiberi) and the Gold-striped Salamander (Chioglossa lusitanica), these last 2 endemic of Iberia Peninsula. Among with this species, the area is rich in biodiversity, including plants, various bird species and other invertebrates, some of them Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (Vu).
The Natural Park was created in 1976 aiming to protect the wild life refuges and endemic flora of national importance and in 1997 the limits of the Park were extended. The symbol of the Park is an Ice crystal, referring to the climatic characteristics of the area and the glacial origin of the mountain.