5 must-visit natural parks in Portugal

Autumn is the perfect season to visit Portugal's natural parks
Autumn is the perfect season to visit Portugal's natural parks
12 October 2020, Redaction

Autumn and nature go hand and hand, making Autumn the perfect season to escape from the city and discover some of Portugal's most beautiful natural parks. These true natural wonders are the perfect place to breathe fresh air, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, especially nowadays that we all appreciate the open air and time alone just a little bit more.

We want to introduce you to 5 spectacular natural parks located across Portugal, from north to south, destinations that are ideal for a mini break this autumn 2020. It's time to pack your bags, go on an adventure and let yourself be dazzled by the autumn colours that Portugal has to offer!

Alvão Natural Park

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

The Alvão Natural Park is the ideal destination for lovers of extreme sports and more dangerous waterways.

This park, located between Minho and Trás-os-Montes, in Mondim de Basto and Vila Real, is famous for the Fisgas de Ermelo, one of the biggest waterfalls in Europe, where the Olo River falls from a height of more than 200 metres.

On your wanderings through nature, you will be able to observe Iberian wolves, red-billed choughs, golden bats, eagles and incredible flora, with more than 480 types, with oak, holly, molar grass and rosemary standing out.

Douro International Natural Park

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Get ready to feel small, very small. In Portugal's Douro International Natural Park, located very close to the Spanish border, you will find impressive cliffs and gorges that offer views over the deep valley that stretches from Mirando do Douro to Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. Sit down, take a deep breath and seize the opportunity to take in the spectacular sights, including some of the most beautiful birds in the park, such as the black stork, the royal eagle or the Egyptian vulture.

We recommend that you take the opportunity to take a cruise through the Park, starting from the International Biological Station (in Mirando do Douro). From this point, you will be able to enjoy a unique perspective of the fauna and flora that bring the 122 km of the International Douro Natural Park to life.

Arrábida Natural Park

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Our next national park is found further south, as we discover a true green paradise that runs along the Portuguese coast from Palmela to Setúbal.

Beaches with crystalline blue water where, even at this time of year, you can go diving, surrounded by dense vegetation and unique places to go climbing in the Arrábida Mountains. The area is also home to hundreds of karst cavities with fossil deposits and traces of dinosaurs, just some of the wonders that you can find in the Arrábida Natural Park, made up of more than 17,000 hectares.

Visit this amazing natural park this 2020 to discover truly unique landscapes, surrounded by the smell of daffodils, orchids, gorse, oak and rosemary.

Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

From Porto Covo, in the Alentejo, to Burgau, in the Algarve, visitors can enjoy the breathtaking landscape of the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina.

Botanists and zoologists from all over the world travel here to observe some of nature's most unique species, such as the white stork that makes its nest in the marine cliffs, something that is only seen in this region. If you want to observe otters, then this beautiful location is also one of the few places in Europe and the world where you can do it. On top of all of this, surf lovers consider this one of the best destinations in the country to surf, thanks to the many wild beaches in the area.

Prepare yourself for long walks on hard and difficult to reach routes and, at the southern end of the park, don't miss the Cape of St. Vincent Lighthouse and the Ponta de Sagres, once home to a nautical school, founded by Prince Henry in the 15th century.

Ria Formosa Natural Park

Wikimedia commons
Wikimedia commons

The Ria Formosa Natural Park has been chosen as one of the seven wonders of Portugal and a perfect destination for all those seeking a unique natural environment.

Located in the Eastern Algarve, this is one of the three protected areas of the Algarve region of Portugal, formed by a coastal lagoon that changes constantly due to the movement of wind, currents and tides. It covers the islands of Faro, Barreta, Culatra, Armona and Tavira, which are also well worth a visit.

You will be amazed by the breakthtaking fusion of shades of green and blue in the water of the estuary and the sea, as well as by the shades of brown that characterise the almost deserted beaches in the area. Here, with a little bit of luck, you will also be able to catch sight of protected water birds, since the Ria Formosa Natural Park belongs to the Natura 2000 network and receives more than 20,000 birds during the winter period.

Take the opportunity to take a trip on one of the traditional boats that were used for tuna fishing in the area and enjoy the local gastronomy in a seaside restaurant. 

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