Using the energy from the sea and the wind
Machines of the past such as tide and water mills, and windmills, fuelled by the forces of nature, are an important legacy of Algarve’s history.
Always constructed on top of hills, windmills were built with circular walls which were whitewashed as an indication of cleanliness and good maintenance, with a conical roof. Widespread throughout the mountains, and occasionally on the western coastal regions are many ruins of windmills, which in former times had canvas sails, and ground corn and wheat with great millstones for bread making. This tradition has not been allowed to die as the wind park of Vila do Bispo continues to use the wind, this time using windmills with long narrow steel blades to produce environmentally friendly energy.
Located mainly along the shore and in river estuaries, tide mills stored tidal water in enormous reservoirs, which was released at low tide to turn the water wheel, whereas water mills only used water from rivers. At present, there are remnants of these machines, with some notable examples of restored mills such as the one in Quinta do Marim, in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which continues to work regularly and is open to the public.