Sea salt nurseries
Saltpans paint the landscape white in places which are still used today to carry out a thousand-year old activity, taking advantage of the immense Algarvian coast to produce sea salt of high quality, with a purity and nutritive value recognised internationally.
In Olhão, Tavira and Castro Marim there are three important salt producing centres. These are located in the Castro Marim Marshland Nature Reserve, in Tavira and at Quinta do Ludo in the Ria Formosa Nature Park.
A labyrinth of channels brings in sea water which flows into small tanks and shallow pools where it stays until the heat of the sun evaporates the water, leaving behind translucent salt crystals glistening in the sun.
With a choice geographical and geological location, these salt gardens are the point of contact between fresh water from the river and salt water from the Atlantic, thus bringing together the conditions necessary for creating a natural product which preserves sea nutrients and important minerals for a healthy, balanced diet.
Natural sea nurseries generate economic revenue, but promote, at the same time, the ecological balance and preservation of species in the wetlands or marshes of the nature parks.
The contrast between the dazzling white saltpans and the clear blue sea, and the colourful toil which creates this unusual landscape, make the saltpans a unique scene worthy of a visit.