Natural paradise between land and sea
The Ria Formosa Nature Park is a unique lagoon system that is continually changing because of the movements of winds, currents, and tides.
A gift of nature, of approximately 18,000 hectares, it is an area of transition between land and sea skirting 60 km of the Eastern Algarve coastline, between the Ancão peninsula and the Manta Rota beach in the East.
This internationally recognised wetland is an invaluable habitat for wildlife: flamingos, buzzards, woodcocks and kingfishers. However, the symbol of the park is the purple swamphen, a rare species which, in Portugal, only breeds in these lakes. Another inhabitant of this wetland is the chameleon, which is at risk of extinction elsewhere in Europe.
This is a micro-environmental world, which can only be discovered by following walking trails or going for slow boat trips to observe the wetland, fresh water pools and ancient Roman salting tanks. Uncover and learn the secrets of the forests, and see the restored tide mill up close.
Quinta de Marim, headquarters of the Nature Park, is located close to Olhão. Apart from an Environmental Education Centre, it has a hostel where you can stay overnight, a Bird Recovery Centre and a kennel dedicated to breeding water dogs, an endangered Algarvian species.