Ria Formosa, Portugal's seventh wonder

Ria Formosa, Portugal's seventh wonder

On the Algarve's east coast, Ria Formosa is one of the largest wetland areas in Europe, and the refuge of many endemic species.

The Algarve is home to an exceptionally abundant natural park: the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Between land and sea, this system of lagoons stretches for nearly 18,000 hectares and 60 km of coastline, from the Ancão Peninsula to Manta Rota. Among the dunes, wetlands, freshwater pools, salt marshes, pine forests and farmlands, the fauna and flora display an outstanding diversity. This very sensitive, protected ecosystem is easy to explore all along the region's east coast, by boat (regular departures from Faro and Olhão), or on land, whether on foot or by bike, via the many readily-accessible paths around the park.

To learn while you observe, go to Olhão, to the Centro de Educação Ambiental de Marim (Environmental Education Centre), open to everyone. With or without a guide, you will be exploring the pedestrian paths with their hides at frequent intervals for admiring the animals without disturbing them – birds, mammals, reptiles and crustaceans. Each area is home to various species according to the environment: for example, groups of pink flamingos in the area around Fuseta, chameleons in the pine forests and on Ilha Deserta, and fiddler crabs in the wetlands at low tide. Equipped with a mask and snorkel, just a few metres from the shore of Ilha da Culatra, you will even have the opportunity to observe schools of seahorses!

Parc naturel de Ria Formosa
Centro de Educação Ambiental de Marim
8700-194 Olhão

Tel: +351 289 700 210