Best Birding sites

Situated in the Mediterranean region, Portugal possesses a fantastic diversity of habitats and consequently of birds in a relatively small area. Its landscape varies from mountains and plains, hidden valleys and meadows, extensive pine forests and groves, rocky coasts and beaches, estuaries, river deltas and lagoons. With such a variety of habitats, the country has 93 Important Bird Areas, where about 360 different species can be regularly observed. Many of these species have a very restricted distribution in Europe and the World. Here is a fine selection of the best hotspots for birdwatching in Mainland Portugal.

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    Oporto and North Region

    In the north of Portugal the landscape features fine countryside areas with its rolling hills, deep valleys, impressive slopes of the Port terraced vineyards and sheltering villages that still preserve the old community ways. The north is rich in scenarios that allow direct contact with nature and tranquility. In here you will find some of the largest protected areas in Portugal like the Peneda-Gerês National Park or The International Douro Natural Park that are excellent for birdwatching, specially prey birds.

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    Centre Region

    This is a region of contracts.   In the vast coastline, the dialogue between the land and the sea shaped a surprising landscape, of long beaches, woodlands, salt marshes and marshlands like the Ria de Aveiro lagoon system. The interior is very mountainous with some plateaus, dominated by Serra da Estrela mountain (the highest point in mainland Portugal) and crisscrossed by several rivers and streams. One of the main places to visit is the International Tagus Natural Park and Geopark excellent for birding. Here the visitor can observe a wide variety of species of Mediterranean birds, some of them among the rarest and more emblematic specimens of the Iberian Peninsula.

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    Lisbon Region

    Lisbon is the only European capital located near such a rich wildlife hotspot – the Tagus estuary (a 20 min. drive). The estuary is the most important Portuguese wetland area and one of the most important ones in Europe. The Tagus estuary, a Ramsar wetland site of international importance, includes a wide Special Protection Zone (ZPE) and a Nature Reserve (RNET), of over 14.000 hectares, specifically created to protect wintering, passage and breeding populations of aquatic birds; however, because of the specific geography of the area, it abounds in a remarkable variety of non-wetland biotopes as well, including wooded slopes and extensive pastures.

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    Alentejo Region

    Inland, the vast golden wheat fields undulate in the wind; along the coast, unspoiled beaches look rugged and unexplored. The open, ample landscape is peppered with cork-oaks or olive trees that have withstood the ravages of time.

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    Algarve Region

    The Algarve is located at Europe's westernmost tip, in the south of Portugal. The region is best known by its beautiful white sand beaches and warm weather. In terms of landscape, the Algarve coast is very diversified, varying between abrupt and jagged coastlines, extensive sandy beaches, inlets formed by lagoons, marshland areas and various formations of sand dunes. The "Barrocal" area marks the transition between the coast and the mountains, consisting of limestone and schist. This area is also known as the "beira-serra" (literally the mountain edge) and is where most of the agricultural produce of the Algarve originates from. The interior is very mountainous. The Algarve’s natural diversity is undoubtedly one of its greatest riches. Visitors can easily pass through different environments within the same landscape. From coastal regions to the Algarvian Mountains, there is a whole world of diversity to be explored and just as many different ways to do so.

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Best Birding Sites