Natural Park of Ria Formosa
"Ria Formosa" is a protected area with status of Nature Park. It extends over the districts of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António, covering an estimated total area of 18.400 hectares along 60 km of coastline, from the Ancão Beach to the area of Manta Rota. "Ria Formosa" is a wetland of world importance as a habitat of waterfowl, the reason why it is registered in the Ramsar Convention, and also, as a Special Protected Area according to legislation from the European Union.
The "Ria Formosa" is a lagoon separated from the sea by a coastal dune system, witch is broken up by various natural and artificial inlets.
It includes a narrow strip of land and a series of coastal dunes running almost parallel to the mainland, formed by peninsulas and sandy barrier, these last ones forming islands that serve to protect the salt marshes, channels and islets.
In the middle of all the technological expansion and all the growth that we have been experiencing for the past decades throughout Planet Earth, and, knowing the strength that money provides in many ways, it is very nice to find out that very close to us, there is a green protected area of unique beauty that is still remaining practically untouched by mankind. One of the main reasons for this reality is because "Ria Formosa" is now integrated on a national program for protected areas - Rede Natura 2000 - since the 28th of August 1997. This helps getting priorities in the right order, putting the Park interests above others, such as the tourist or urban development.
"Ria Formosa", due to its particular geographic location, reveals as an area of extreme importance for the migration birds, who arrive here during the summer coming from the northern and central Europe.
This way Ria Formosa is a mandatory stop for these birds who rest in it's lagoon before heading for Africa.
Due to this migrating bird movement, this area reveals it self as a nesting site for endangered species of birds. With over 30.000 species of birds during the summer months, "Ria Formosa" is considered the second most important wetland area of Portugal.