You'll discover a different Algarve, far from the hustle and bustle of the beaches, where the silence is only disturbed by bird cries
After journeying around 850 km from its source in Spain, and just before flowing into the sea in Vila Real de Santo António, the River Guadiana winds its way through the plains, branching out into creeks and canals that flow into lakes, marshland and salt pans, that provide a habitat to a wide variety of species.
This humid zone, Nature Reserve of the Salt-Marsh of Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António, is the oldest in Portugal and is a privileged site for the reproduction of fishes, crustaceans and shellfish, who find shelter here in order to grow before they venture forth into the sea.
This is one of the favorite places for migratory birds, although it is possible to see birds throughout the year, being the black-winged stilt the most common species in the zone and was therefore chosen as the symbol of the Nature Reserve.
Important winter visitors are greater flamingos, spoonbills and Caspian terns. In spring you can enjoy the incredibly beautiful flight of storks.
Here, you'll discover a different Algarve, far from the hustle and bustle of the beaches, where the silence is only disturbed by bird cries. The salt pans occupy around one third of the protected area, and it glistens in the sunlight, unexpectedly white in between the green of the fields and the blue of the river. For many centuries it was the main source of income in the region and it's still gathered using traditional methods, in accordance with artisanal processes, delivering a product whose quality is certified by the Nature Reserve.
In drier zones, agriculture is the main activity, including typical trees from the Algarve such as the carob-shrub, fig tree and almond tree that provide the ingredients for delicious regional desserts such as D. Rodrigo and Morgado.
Find secret places and special moments off the beaten path and discover the Algarve others do not know about!