An Ecological Reserve between land and sea
Next to the mouth of the Guadiana River, the Marshland Nature Reserve of Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António, was the first to be officially recognised in Portugal and is protected by the Ramsar Convention (1971).
A natural habitat for a great number of animals, the Sapal de Castro Marim shelters some 153 different species throughout the year. These include flamingos, storks, pied avocets, dunlins, sand plovers and redshanks.
This is an area formed by salt water and estuarial marshes with dry areas of metamorphic rock called schist, and sedimentary rock such as red sandstone, sand and sandstone. At higher levels, the area extends right up to the Algarvian range of mountains, sheltering vineyards and almonds trees.
An invaluable environmental heritage, it is an outstanding site that provides shelter and breeding conditions for many species of molluscs, fish, reptiles, amphibians and crustaceans. In the surrounding drier and higher ground, birds predominate, particularly passerines and birds of prey.
The great wealth of plant life, with over 400 types of plants, makes this area a true botanic paradise.
To help you learn more about this protected area in the Eastern Algarve and admire the countryside as well as the great biodiversity, a welcome centre located in the Cerro da Rocha provides information and itineraries for visitors.