Milky Way over the Tagus river in Monfragüe National Park, Spain
© Miguel Angel Muñoz Ruiz/Cavan Image
Today we're in the Extremadura region of western Spain, in the beautiful Monfragüe National Park along the border with Portugal. This 29-kilometre long, 6.4-kilometre wide stretch of nature in the province of Cáceres is framed by the Tagus and Tietar rivers (it's the Tagus that's in our image today). The mountainous Pena Falcon rock face defines its western side. Much of the park is covered by a thick Mediterranean forest full of wildlife, making this place a destination for outdoor lovers of all sorts. It's especially notable for the many birds: Over 280 species that are found here, including storks, kingfishers, cormorants, and eagles, as well as one of the world's largest reserves of black vultures and their tawny vulture cousins. Other wildlife routinely spotted in Monfragüe include otters, deer, wild boar, and Iberian lynx.
When the sun goes down in Monfragüe, the generally cloudless sky, combined with the low level of light pollution makes this a perfect place for stargazing. The national park was recognized as a dark-sky preserve in 2016. Monfragüe also appeals to those interested in the human history of the area, as it contains a number of caves with prehistoric paintings, Roman ruins, and the remnants of the castle of Monfragüe, which was built by Moors in the 9th century.