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Els Ports Nature Park

Els Ports - © Iben Hove Sørensen

The Ports Nature Park is comprised of the Ports limestone massif; a large mountain chain with beautiful rivers, caves, gorges, and peaks well above 1000 m (Mont Caro at 1 447 m is the highest point). The Ports massif is situated close to the Mediterranean coast where it rises at the far eastern end of the Ebro region 200 km southwest of Barcelona. With its total extension of 60 000 Ha, the mountain chain spreads into no less than three of the Spanish territories (Catalonia, Aragon, and Valencia) and earlier served as a natural borderline. The park covers a wide variety of habitats, and several unusual species of plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals inhabit this complex limestone kingdom. Offering scenic routes, exciting climbs and waterfalls, as well as spectacular views of rare birds and mammals, the Ports attract hikers, climbers, painters and nature lovers alike – and there is enough space for everyone.

Spanish Ibex - Griffon Vultures © Cristian Jensen Marcet - Josep M. Martorell

The Ports were first protected as a Hunting Reserve, reflecting the high occurence of mammals there, but in 2001 the area became a Nature Reserve, with roughly half declared Natural Park.

The geological complexity of the Ports massif supports a high richness in plant species with many endemics, and the structure of the cliffs, gorges and caves provide shelter and prime habitat for several species of large raptors and mammals. There are two quite distinct plant communities in Ports; on the northwestern slopes you find primarily alpine vegetation, whereas more typical mediterranean vegetation is found on the southeastern slopes. This diversity is also reflected in the bird species inhabiting the mountains; a variety of alpine and mediterranean passerines can be seen almost side by side on a walk through the nature reserve. The Spanish Ibex is numerous in Ports, although rare and declining in many other areas, and young individuals are often seen playing on the slopes. Other mammals in the area include Wild Boar, Wild Cat, Otter and Roe Deer.

There is now a feeding station for Griffon and Egyptian Vultures in the northern part of Els Ports. Around 200 Griffon Vultures and 3-5 Egyptian Vultures visit the site almost every day, along with rarer visitors such as Black Vulture, Black Kite, and Raven. The vultures are being fed every day at 9.30 near Valderrobles, and the entry fee is 15 € per person. You watch the vultures at very close range from an observatory built for the purpose. At the moment there is no website for direct booking, but we are happy to assist with the booking without charge.



Day Trips to Ports Nature Park

Day trips and half-day trips can be arranged at any time of the year. Please contact us for more information and bookings. Our prices for guidings in our local area start at 60 € for half a day and 120 € for a whole day of birdwatching. The price per person decreases as more people join the trip, and at four or more participants the price is only 40 € per person for a full day of birdwatching. When booking, please specify whether you would like to share costs and guide with others or not. Lunches, long-distance pick-ups and other services are not included but can be arranged on request.

The birds

Griffon Vulture - © Cristian Jensen Marcet



As might be expected from the habitats found in the Ports, raptors are well represented in these mountains. Almost all the Spanish species of raptors can be seen here, and the combination of steep cliffs and gorges provide excellent chances for watching them soaring in search of food. Griffon Vulture breeds in several places and can be seen around the nesting areas throughout the year. Looking up, Red-billed Choughs are often found around the mountain tops, as groups of swifts and martins are frequently seen hunting over the gorges. Searching for birds at ground-level is often equally rewarding in Ports. Remarkable and beautiful species such as the Rock Thrush, the Blue Rock Thrush, the Woodchat Shrike and the Black Wheatear are commonly found, although locating them usually requires some patience. Alpine Accentor, Wallcreeper, and Citril Finch are usually only found at the highest altitudes, yet these species are always worth the journey.


Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon, Red-legged Partridge, Eagle Owl, Tawny Owl, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Dipper, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Dartfort Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chough, Citril Finch, Serin, Rock Sparrow, Rock Bunting, and Cirl Bunting.


Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Hobby, Scops Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Common Nightjar, Alpine Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Tawny Pipit, Nightingale, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Thrush, Melodious Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Bonelli’s Warbler, Golden Oriole, and Woodchat shrike.


Ring Ouzel, Wallcreeper and Alpine Accentor.

Egyptian Vulture

Accommodation and restaurants


Camping Els Ports - camping site in the northern part of Els Ports, near Arnes


Bona Vista Country House - self-catering rural accommodation with swimming pool on the edge of Els Ports NP

Casa Ribera Cottage - beautiful holiday home with gardens on the bank of the River Ebro near Tortosa

River Ebro Apartments - quality accommodation, excellent base for bird watching and rambling

TopRural - Directory of rural cottages in Tarragona province


Hotel Can Josep - two star hotel in the mountain village of Bot, in the northern part of Els Ports

Parador de Tortosa - four star hotel in the city of Tortosa; situated in a Moorish castle dating back to the 10th Century


Restaurant Can Josep - excellent restaurant in the village of Bot, in the northern part of Els Ports

PLEASE NOTE: We are happy to help our birding clients book these facilities, but we are not working as a general booking agency.


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