International Douro Nature Park
Two Nature Parks on either side of the river form Europe’s largest protected area. The Douro stretches across 100 km and is only natural border between Spain and Portugal.
You will be amazed by the spectacular scenery of 600m high granite cliffs or watch the black stork and other endangered birds in their natural habitat. It is a special “Bird Protection Area” recognized by the European Union and is home to the near extinct Black Stork.
Only traditional agriculture & cattle are permitted in the Natural Reserve. Its unique microclimate allows organic cultivation of vines but also olives, citrus fruits, almonds.
Flora: Kermes Oak, Black Oak, cork-oak, holm oak, oak, juniper and broom woods.
Fauna; Egyptian Vulture, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Red Kite, Eurasian Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Black Stork, Scops Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Nightjar, European Bee-eater, Alpine Swift, Thekla Lark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Spectacled Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting.
Sintra-Cascais Nature Park
Sintra-Cascais Nature Park is UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape since 1995. From Paleolithic to successive Romans, Visigoths and Arabs occupations, the Park is full of historic treasures. Sintra was elected as spiritual retreat of Bourgeois and Nobles in the 18th century and Cascais their vacation spot. The mix of cultural and historical identity creates a unique atmosphere that culminates in the natural surroundings that make the Park so singular. The massif is a natural barrier against winds and creates a micro climax associated with different soil compositions that allows the development of very diverse vegetation. The oldest sedimentary rocks were deposited there 160 million years ago. We will discover the luxurious vegetation and soon head towards the most western point of continental Europe where we will hike the cliffs, discovering awesome land (and sea) scapes. Choose Hiking on Lisbon Outdoor Tours to discover Sintra-Cascais Nature Park.
Arrábida Nature Park
Arrábida Nature Park and Maritime Park Professor Luis Saldanha are one of the most beautiful and fascinating natural regions of Mediterranean influence, and remains almost untouched in its natural equilibrium. For many years the area now occupied by the Arrabida Natural Park was an important hunting reserve with a diversified fauna, which, amongst other species, included wolves, wild boar and deer, the latter having disappeared by the beginning of the 20th century. The most representative and characteristic biotopes for the land fauna are limestone cliffs and rocky outcrops, caves, scrubland, thickets, bushes, copses, corkwoods, pine forest, meadows and small watercourses. Arrabida’s marine ecosystems are of the greatest national and international importance too. The cultural references of the Park witness occupation from prehistoric times, through those of the Phoenicians and Romans to the Arabs. We will visit the medieval castles of Sesimbra and Palmela and the sixteenth century Fortress of S. Felipe and spend the night in the Convent of Arrábida. Choose Hiking, Kayaking, Diving or Stand up paddling from Lisbon Outdoor Tours to discover Arrabida Nature Park.
Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Nature Park
All in all, it’s 110 kms of wild coastline and 75 thousand hectares of protected area within Sw Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park, comprising diverse habitats, some of them still quite unchanged and untouched, where you will find several species of endemic plants as well as a large number of animal species, particularly amphibians, birds and sea fauna.
You can explore the rocks exposed at low tide (with starfish, sea urchins, barnacles and whelks …), the cliffs (where storks, hawks, swifts, crows, redstarts etc nest), the dunes (with rare and endemic plants, others which are aromatic and medicinal …), the mouths of the rivers and streams (where fish, molluscs and crustaceans breed), the coastal plains (where you can watch the migration of thousands of birds in autumn including great soaring birds), the temporary ponds (where prehistoric crustaceans and almost all the amphibians that are found in Portugal live), confined valleys (with Portuguese oak, lianas and shrubs of colourful berries), clear water rivers (where the otter is Queen), pine forests and Cork (where wild boar abound and you can pick wild mushrooms and asparagus), but also the environments modified by man where the biodiversity is remarkable- oak woods, meadows, orchards, olive groves…
United by two outstandingly beautiful Portuguese regions, the coastal area combines Alentejo’s tranquility and romance with the only coastal stretch of Algarve that is truly genuine and wild. Nature, authentic rural life and a very mild climate, pampered by over 300 days of sunshine per year, make this region an unmissable destination for lovers of nature tourism.