Come along and discover some of the most interesting pine woodlands, salt marshes and saltpans of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Our walk starts in Quinta do Lago area with an excellent view over the lagoon, the marshes and the well preserved dunes of the Ria Formosa, one of the most important wetlands in Europe. This is a very easy walk in the company of a nature guide that will let you know why the Ria Formosa was elected one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. During the low tide one can observe the typical vegetation of the marshlands and the wealth of the fauna. Animals like the Fiddler crab are common such as numerous waterfowl that are looking for small organisms on the tidal flats. The trail continues through areas of pine woodlands where you may encounter many passerines as well as several aromatic plants. With luck we may even find the chameleon - a reptile that only exists in the south of Portugal.
Walk accompanied by a nature tour guide, use of binoculars and leaflet. We arrive at the fresh water pond and make a stop at the bird hide. This is an excellent spot to look for the Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) a protected species that was elected the symbol of this Natural Park. After our stop at this excellent site for birding we continue our trail towards a complex of salt pans where you can learn more about the tradition of salt extraction. The saltpans in the Algarve are famous due to the quality of its salt and also for the Flor de Sal. While you learn that this area is responsible for an important share of salt production in Portugal, our guide will try to find the colourful flamingos as well as the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) and the Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus). After this last stop, we begin our journey back observing passing the local people working in the clam and oyster farms by the wonderful Ria Formosa scenery.
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