VisitAlgarve - Portal de Turismo do Algarve

Protected areas in the Algarve

Protected areas in the Algarve

Come and discover nature in its purest state. The Algarve has surprises and unique charms in store for you, in areas of great ecological interest, where you can appreciate the true diversity of the fauna and flora, including many rare or threatened species. The migratory birds that fly over these magical areas afford a unique spectacle for birdwatching enthusiasts.

The Ria Formosa Nature Park is one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal and a hallmark of the Algarve. Here you will find rare species of plants and animals in their natural habitat. Discover the unique lakes that stretch along the municipalities of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António.

The dense vegetation, the otters, turtles, flamingos, storks, herons and the rare purple swamphens are just a few of the inhabitants you will encounter in the nature parks in the Algarve.

Surrender to the charms of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Nature Park, a natural sanctuary with a coastal strip punctuated by abrupt cliffs, beaches and dunes, unlike anything else, anywhere in the world. Of the park’s 76,000 hectares, some 80 km between Odeceixe Beach and the fishing town of Burgau are in the Algarve. The birds are the great attraction of this paradise, where the fauna and flora are surprising. Set off along the Rota Vicentina and walk through the very heart of this nature park.

The Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António Marshland Nature Reserve, alongside the mouth of the River Guadiana, is home to 153 different species throughout the year. With over 400 types of plants, it is an unrivalled botanical paradise. A surprise is in store for you when you go walking in the Vila Real de Santo António National Scrubland where you can come across magnificent chameleons.

Fonte da Benémola, which is crossed by the Fonte Menalva Stream is a magnificent place to rest and explore the delightful geological features, surrounded by stunning fauna and flora. Here you can still come across old norias and watermills that were once used to irrigate the fertile fields on the banks of the stream.

Rocha da Pena, with its steep limestone slopes and the magnificent rosa-albardeira (a type of peony), is immense in its natural diversity and is worth taking your time to explore. And you can also visit the remains of ancient walls believed to date back to the Iron Age, showing that this was a choice place to live even in those ancient times.

Take the time to appreciate and familiarise yourself with these natural paradises. A peaceful walk is the best way to discover all of the routes and classified trails through the protected areas in the Algarve.