Natura Park of Ria Formosa (PNRF)

The Sanctuary to Flora, wildlife and Fjord fertile marshes is breeding territory to several species of birds, fish and crustaceans. The boats leaving the Olhão harbor and marina offer tours to its canals and salt marshes.

The Environmental Education Center of Marim in the Ria Formosa, organizes trips that allow visitors to know the fauna and flora of the region, as well as visits to the breeding center of the Portuguese Water Dog and thorough introduction to the salt extraction process.

Providing guided tours, should be taken serious the recommendations outlined in the Code of Conduct and Good Practice for visitors as it is a protected area.


There are pedestrian and automobile routes, iconic sites and other points of interest that you can visit as much as enjoy the best of the extraordinary beauty of the landscape, consolidate knowledge and have fun during the visit.

When to visit?

The Natural Park of Ria Formosa can be visited all year, depending the goals with the several seasons. If the reason is cultural values, any time is adequate, although the summer is to avoid for those seeking tranquility. On the other hand, for those seeking the natural values knowledge, in particular the fauna, then the autumn and winter are the preferred seasons. Most of the existing species in Ria Formosa are difficult to observe, except the birds. So it is this species with their types, their flight, their particular color that immediately attract the attention of our visitors.

The Ria Formosa is of vital importance because it is a resting area for migratory birds. It is also a wintering place for a considerable number of waterfowl and nesting site for those birds arriving in the spring or that make the Ria Formosa their permanent habitat.

Interesting points

The whole area of the Park is of great natural, cultural and landscape interest. The following places presents the main points of the area, extending from Vila Real de Santo António into Loulé.

  • Núcleo histórico de Cacela Velha in Vila Real de Santo António, Vila Nova de Cacela parish.
  • Torre d’Ares ou Aires Tavira, Luz.
  • Forte do Rato in Tavira, Santa Maria.
  • Forte de São João da Barra ou da Conceição in Tavira, Cabanas.
  • Quinta do Ludo in Faro and Loulé.
  • Trilho de S. Lourenço in Loulé.
  • Chalet João Lúcio and the Environmental Education Center of Marim (CEAM) – in Olhão, Quelfes. Access through the EN 125, about 1 km east of Olhão, both near the Camping of Olhão located in the headquarters of Park of Ria Formosa. The Chalet is a manor house from the early century XX (1916) with three floors without front or rear with a square shape. The Chalet has four inputs each with its significance and arranged according the cardinal points. Once owned by Dr. João Lúcio (lawyer and poet), mystic and charismatic figure of Olhão, has never been inhabited for him because in 1918, ended up victim of pneumonia. Current use – Ecoteca and property of ICNF / PNRF (Institute of Nature Conservation).