Algarve nature: information and activities
The success of the Algarve as a tourist destination is due to its natural conditions. In particular the climate, marvelous beaches, as well as a unique rocky coast contributes to the popularity of the region. In the last couple of years, nature-related tourism in the region grew in importance. On this page you can read more about nature in the Algarve, as well as activities that you can do in nature.
Natural parks in the Algarve
There are a few natural parks in the Algarve, which provide visitors with a peaceful retreat from the hectic and crowded touristic towns:
- Costa Vincentina (west coast). This only became a natural park in 1995, in order to avoid the coast being affected by more commercial developments. Nowadays, there are no high-rise buildings on the beaches near the west coast, in contrast to places like Portimão. The Costa Vicentina consists of steep cliffs, unspoiled nature and intimate small beaches.
- Ria Formosa consists of 60 kilometres of wetland areas and barrier islands between Quinta do Lago and Cacela Velha. It has a great variety of flora and fauna, and is also very popular for birdwatching.
- Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve. This natural park near Alvor is a place where migrating birds stay on their way to Africa. You can visit the area by taking the magnificent Alvor boardwalk, near Praia de Alvor.
- Sapal Nature Reserve. This natural park is located near the border with Spain. You can see a variety of flora and fauna here, especially birds.
In general, the quality of the air in the Algarve is good, as well as the quality of the sea water. There are no big industries or other sources of pollution.
Mountain ranges in the Algarve
The Algarve also has three beautiful mountain ranges: Monchique, Serra do Caldeirão and Serra de Espinhaço de Cão. Going to any of these mountains ranges is very peaceful and also provides you with an amazing view over the surrounding area. They are among the most beautiful natural areas the Algarve has to offer.
Activities in nature
Below you can find some of the activities that you can enjoy in the nature of the Algarve.
The Algarve is a great place for biking. Both amateurs and professionals enjoy the short- as well as long-distance bike tracks that you can find here. If you don’t want to bring your own bike, don’t worry. There are plenty of places where you can rent a bike.
All year round, you can spot at least 250 different kind of birds in the Algarve. Birdwatching is especially popular in the natural parks. Birdwatching in the Algarve is a pure joy, because of the variety of birds, as well as the beautiful environment.
In the waters near the Algarve you can see dolphins. If you want to go dolpin watching, you have to go on a boat tour. Chances are you won’t ever forget your encounter in the wild with these magical creatures.
There are many walking trails in the Algarve. Most of them are for short distance walks, but you can also find some long-distance trails. Hiking in nature is an excellent way to discover the region and is becoming more and more popular.