Alongside the River Guadiana between Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António, and covering an area of more than 2,000 hectares, lies a wetland area consisting of marshes, saltpans, inlets and rural areas of schist and red sandstone. It is the oldest nature reserve in Portugal, having been classed as such in 1975.
Hugely interesting from a biological point of view, the Castro Marim marsh provides shelter and nesting places for aquatic birds and for various species of fish, molluscs and crustaceans.
Worth highlighting among the bird species found here are the black-winged stilt, symbol of the nature reserve, the pied avocet, black-tailed godwit, common flamingo, common ringed plover and white stork, to name but a few.
The characteristic vegetation of the marshes and the traditional saltpans results in a geometric patchwork of a landscape, where land and water combine to form curious reflections, another interesting attraction for visitors. Along with fish-farming and agriculture, salt production is one of the main activities carried out in the marshes. The salt, extracted using traditional techniques, is quality-certified.
Chameleons live in the nearby coastal dunes and in the scrubland around Monte Gordo and Vila Real de Santo António, and in summer you may be able to spot some.
Take advantage of the signposted routes and enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of a unique landscape in the south-east Algarve.