Beaches of the Municipality of Castro Marim
The municipality stretches from the inland hills covered with wild flowers to the sea, following the banks of the River Guadiana until quite close to its mouth. The water overflowing from the great southern river has flooded large areas of land, giving rise to the planting of orchards and allotments, but above all creating one of the planet’s most productive habitats: the salt-marsh. The Sapal de Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António Nature Reserve, with its river branches, canals, mudflats and dazzling white salt-pans, is home to a great diversity of plants and animals, but it is the birds, the flamingos, black-winged stilts, avocets, etc., that are the really distinctive feature of the habitat.
The municipality’s four beaches are part of the same stretch of sand, a thin strip of land that links the estuary of the River Guadiana to the Ria Formosa lagoon system, framed by the deep green pinewoods growing on the gently undulating sand dunes. The human occupation of the municipality dates back to the Neolithic period (roughly 5000 years BC) and there are traces of an old Roman fort located on the hill of Castro Marim, where there now stands the Moorish castle, benefiting from its strategic and lofty position overlooking the River Guadiana and the border region with Spain.