Algarve’s picturesque fishing villages, once an economic hub across the entire coastline, as well as the amazing, far-reaching sandy beaches, rest placidly in the rocky coves of the eastern area of Portugal as if time had stopped.
This is why Tavira, in the eastern Algarve region, and its surroundings have plenty of natural treasures to explore, particularly in the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve. And what better way to venture off into the Algarve’s wildlife if not engaging in a one-day tour departing from Tavira and exploring its surroundings?
It is extremely important that you own or rent a car to go on this one-day tour around the Algarve, as it will be provide you with more time to see everything you want to see and not be concerned with transportation scheduling and departures.
Start off by driving alongside the river from Tavira until you reach Fuseta, a fishing town just 10 km from Olhão and one of the region’s most secluded villages. Here you can enjoy the views over the river, observe the colourful boats and the beautiful saltpans, and stretch your legs for a while.
Between Tavira and the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve, there are a few picturesque and very typical fishing villages with countless stories carved into the white-washed walls and the traditional cobbled streets.
Continue driving until you find the first signs of the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve up-close. Here you can park your car in some place safe and then stroll for a while until you begin finding animal life, such as several species of water birds, which will give you the chance to do one of the most wonderful things you can do in this region: bird-watching.
The surprising beauty of Ria Formosa
If booked in advance, it is possible to engage on a bird-watching trip, one of the most exciting activities to partake at the Ria Formosa, and one that no one gets ever tired of. The birds are easily spotted in their nests or shelters or flying over the wetlands as they go on by living and looking for food.
Though it is always nice and sunny in the Algarve region, the best time of the year to make this kind of tour is during migration season, around springtime.
The Ria Formosa Natural Reserve is undoubtedly the most astonishing and diversified place you will ever find in the Algarve region or even Portugal, mainly because of its dimensions and immeasurable amount of different animal habitats, particularly birds.
Amongst the birds that are able to be spotted are the white stork, the greater flamingo, the little egret, the spoonbill, the caspian tern, the little own, the bee-eater, the hoopoe, the golden oriole, and many, many others. It is estimated that there are more than 20.000 species of birds in the region.
Of course it will be rather difficult to spot all these water bird species only in one day, but if you are lucky enough you will be in for a treat with just two or three species, and will certainly never forget this wildlife journey.
Do not forget to take something with you to take some notes and perhaps some binoculars, too, as they are an extremely important tool to watch the birds, as some of them are very nifty yet fidgety.
And off we go
After a few hours contemplating the bird species, you still have time to go back and relish on the awe-striking sunset over the lagoon. If you have the time, park near the Quatro Águas ferry port ahead and try to catch a boat to Tavira Island and watch the sun setting on the ocean.
Top off the inspiring tour all around the region of the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve with a drink lounging on your hotel’s terrace. During summertime, this always turns out to be the most perfect way to end your day.