Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, Portugal

Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, Portugal

Protected lagoons on the Algarve coast

The Parque Natural da Ria Formosa in Portugal owes its creation to a geological catastrophe. According to historical records, the bottom of the sea and of the coastal regions trembled in front of the so-called rock Algarve in 1755. As a result, the landscape changed within a few years over a length of around sixty kilometers between Manta Rota and Garrao. A marshy lagoon with canals and sandbanks was created, which is protected by offshore islands. The nature reserve can be reached in half an hour by car from Faro or Tavira.

High salinity maze

It is the tides that supply the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa with the water of the Atlantic every day, which over time has resulted in a high salt content in the labyrinth of rivers. The lagoon was placed under nature protection back in 1987 because this area is an important habitat for rare animals and plants. This measure prevented the uncontrolled development of areas worthy of protection, which was rampant in many other regions of Portugal.

Purple Rails and Water Dogs

The nature park enjoys an interesting ecosystem, and he has chosen a symbolic animal. It is the purple rail that rightly bears its name because of the brightly colored plumage. Semi-wild creatures are the Portuguese water dogs who have lived in this swamp area for centuries and who once helped the local fishermen with their work by lifting the fish from the nets to the surface.

A wetland with flamingos

The Parque Natural da Ria Formosa is undoubtedly one of the most important wetlands in Portugal and an Eldorado for ornithologists. In the months of winter, up to 20,000 birds can be found in the salt marshes. This also includes flamingos. Fishermen have settled in the Ria Formosa and work there as mussel and oyster farmers. The protected lagoons of the nature park offer ideal conditions for seafood of all kinds. A large proportion of the total Portuguese exports come from this area. In addition, Flor de Sal – the salt of the sea – is harvested here in the traditional way.

Activities and sights

Boat tours and bird watching from the water are particularly popular. The white city of Cacela Velha with its architectural monuments is a highlight.

Praia da Falesia

One of the most beautiful beaches in Europe

Praia da Falésia is a Portuguese sandy beach with a length of over six kilometers. It is located in the Algarve, 13 km east of Albufeira and 32 km west of Faro and is known for its sandstone cliffs with pine trees. This coastal strip is very popular with holidaymakers and locals and is therefore known beyond the country’s borders.
If you take a walk here, you will get a wonderful impression of the landscape and nature. The warm sun, the smell of sea water and the grandiose panorama with the red cliffs in the background invite you to linger and relax. Of course, the backdrop also offers an excellent photo opportunity.

Activities at Praia de Falesia

In the mornings, joggers like to use the beach. You enjoy the unique peace and quiet and magical views.
Wind and high waves offer perfect opportunities for water sports enthusiasts. Kitesurfers and windsurfers enjoy ideal conditions. Since there are no surf schools or other water sports providers at Praia da Falésia, you need to bring your own equipment.
Also divers will find in the waters great conditions. The biodiversity under water is above average because the nutrient content is high.
The water temperatures in summer are 20 to 23 ° C, which is why bathingis always possible during this period. Of course, security is taken care of. The Coast Guard ensures that bathers are not endangered and helps them if difficulties arise. The common weever poses a small risk as its sting is painful.
tourist infrastructure

Getting here is easy thanks to the good transport links and a large number of parking spaces. The paths to the coastline are short and well developed, which makes walking easier.
Parasols can be rented on site.
Bars and restaurants also ensure the supply of cold drinks and small dishes. In the fishing village of Olhos de Agua there are many opportunities to stay overnight, eat and drink.

Porto Santo

Porto Santo is a Portuguese island in the North Atlantic, about 43 kilometers northeast of Madeira. It is the northernmost and easternmost island of the Madeira archipelago, in the Atlantic Ocean to the west of Europe and Africa. The island, on which about 5400 people live, is characterized by two regions: the north-eastern, mountainous part, which is characterized by rocky outcrops and cliffs, and a coastal plain in the southwest with a nine-kilometer-long white sandy beach. The main urban area is the city of Vila Baleira, also known as Porto Santo. A visit to Casa Colombo is recommended there. Christopher Columbus is said to have lived in the historical building ensemble. Although the island is really very small, the municipality of Porto Santo has its own schools, a health center, several churches, police departments,

The most important industry on the island of Porto Santo is tourism, which arose in the 20th century through hotel construction and is based on the wonderfully beautiful, white beaches and the temperate climate. The island has an international airport with daily flights to Madeira Airport. Porto Santo Airport offers national routes to Lisbon and Porto as well as international connections to Germany, England, Italy, Scandinavia, Belgium, France and Spain. If you are looking for relaxation and recreation, you should consider a vacation on the holiday island of Porto Santo. The long beaches with fine, silky sand and turquoise blue water, the year-round mild climate with a water temperature between 17 ° C and 22 ° C make this island very attractive even in winter.

Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, Portugal