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The east of the Algarve is more than just sun, sea and beach!

The east of the Algarve is more than just sun, sea and beach!

When you think of the Algarve in the south of Portugal, you have an image of sun, sea and beach. But there's more! In the eastern part of the Algarve, between Faro and Tavira, there is a 60 kilometer long belt of islands and peninsulas with a lagoon behind them.

Seahorses, dolphins, flamingos, chameleons and migratory birds can be spotted in this beautiful and unique Ria Formosa nature reserve in the sunny Algarve. From our plot, where we are going to build a Guesthouse, we look out over the fishing village of Fuseta, the Atlantic Ocean and this unique lagoon!

Photo: salt pans near Tavira

Pearl of the Algarve
This entire nature reserve, also called Ria Formosa, Pearl of the Algarve, also consists of sandbanks, salt pans, swamps, white beaches and dunes with plants and about 1,500 animal species.

You can actually compare it with our Dutch Wadden area. On a special app you can see exactly when you can safely cross to one of the islands before the tide comes in again.

Unique environment for bird watchers and hikers
This breeding and migratory bird area is very interesting for bird watchers. There are more than 200 different species of birds to spot. The most famous for us laymen are the storks, flamingos and herons, but there are also rare and local species to discover.

When it is dark, we see in the distance the small fishing boats on the Atlantic Ocean catching octopus with bright lights. These are sold fresh every morning in the market halls in the various seaside villages.

You can't get much fresher (and tastier) fish and shellfish than in the Ria Formosa. We regularly eat oysters at a French cafe on the boulevard in the village of Olhao. These oysters are grown in the lagoon that you overlook from this restaurant on the boulevard.

Spotting dolphins in the Algarve
In the lagoon you will also find freshwater turtles, seahorses and dolphins. With boat excursions you can, with a bit of luck, spot dolphins, especially in the spring.

Chameleons are also found. They are quite rare in Europe and are beautiful to see, especially their special very slow way of moving. Anyway, this way he can sneak up on his prey very well. If you encounter one on a road, please help it before it gets run over!

We have seen them a number of times in our garden. Our caravan is located under two large alfarroba trees, the ripe pods of which regularly fall. A chameleon fell out of the tree and onto Maarten's shoulder! Still a bit of a shock when such a large pod starts to run!

The Parque Natural de Ria Formosa visitor center, part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, is located on the edge of the lively village of Olhao. Here you can spot these chameleons and many other animal species.

Photo: chameleon in our garden

What we didn't know is that the Ria Formosa is home to the largest community of seahorses. Unfortunately, the seahorse population has declined drastically over the last 20 years due to environmental changes, illegal fishing or excessive shipping traffic. I will come back to this peculiar little fish in another blog !

Would you also like to enjoy all this beauty in the east of the Algarve, near Spain?
Would you like to experience for yourself that the Algarve is indeed more than sun, sea and beach? This is possible at our future Boutique Guesthouse Moncarapacho. We have a nice anticipation discount promotion during the entire construction period in 2024! Bem vindo or be welcome!

Photo: blooming yucca in our garden

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Published 25-03-2023 / Copyright © Guesthouse-Moncarapacho