The Noah’s Ark of the Algarve
The legendary Sagres promontory shelters a great biodiversity of species and natural habitats, many of which are internationally unique. The autumn bird migrations and storks nesting in the cliffs are sights of immeasurable beauty.
Owing to its geographical position, variety of landscapes and climatic conditions, strongly influenced by the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, this region - the south-east and the Vicentine coasts - was designated a Biogenetic Reserve by the Council of Europe in 1988, and is a centre for important marine and ecological resources.
The coastal escarpment between the Sagres promontory and the Cape St. Vincent reveals a range of different coastal habitats, including marshes, cliffs, dunes and lagoons, which favour a rare and specific form of plant life considered by many to be the only one of its kind in the world. Such is the case with species bearing the classification biscutella vicentina, diplotaxis vicentina and hyacinthoides vicentina – their scientific names indicating their provenance and pointing to the fact that they only exist in this region.
The number and range of birds that breed here should be emphasized: 25 different species of birds nest in the cliffs here. The Sagres Biogenetic Reserve is also the only place in the world where the white stork makes its nest high up on the sea cliffs, and the only location in the country with a colony of otters that uses the sea to get food.
It is also the best area to see the magnificent autumn migration of thousands of birds gliding - namely birds of prey which include booted eagles, short toed eagles, sparrowhawks, honey buzzards, griffon vultures and even Egyptian vultures.