Birding in the Algarve – Ria de Alvor

From the picturesque town of Alvor in the Western Algarve a boardwalk winds its way through salt marshes, dunes, mud flats and salt pans to the mouth of the Ria de Alvor. In addition to the simple natural beauty of this area, the extensive marshes and tidal estuary make it an excellent birding site. As both a Special Area of Conservation (Natura 2000) and a Ramsar site it is well worth a casual walk or dedicated birding stop in the area.


The view from the starting point of the boardwalk


Via Algarviana trail marker

The variety of productive habitats attract a wide variety of species throughout the year as well as during the spring and fall migration periods. Wading birds feed along the edges of the marsh, terns dive for the plentiful fish and many small songbirds are attracted to the low bushes and plants of the marsh and dune systems.


Eurasian spoonbills feeding


Zitting Cisticolas are common along the boardwalk

There are many small pools and creeks that can be viewed from the boardwalk so with careful observation you can spot several species at close range as well as the larger birds farther out in the river and on the flats. The boardwalk is in great condition and this part of the walk is very accessible to anyone. Every time we have visited there have been plenty of people enjoying the walk.


Spring blooms


The boardwalk is well maintained

At the end of the boardwalk, which runs for about 2 km, a well maintained path runs along the shoreline which gives great views across the estuary. Numerous sandbars provide resting and feeding areas for terns, gulls, cormorants, herons, egrets and ducks.


Extensive sandbanks emerge at low tide




Discarded pieces of marble repurposed

The final piece of the trail takes you along the breakwater which protects the mouth of the river. The views west to Lagos are breathtaking and equally stunning back along the beach towards Portimão. From the end of the trail you can retrace your steps or walk back along the beach to the car park.


The final part of the trail leading to the breakwater

This is another of those areas that regardless if you are interested in birding, nature or just looking for a pleasant walk you won’t be disappointed.


Fish can be spotted from the breakwater


A nice catch!

IMG_3796 (2)

A small picnic in the lee of the dunes

About Tim & Anne Hall

We sold almost all of our belongings and left our home in Nova Scotia in April 2016 to experience as much of the world as we could. We spent over a year slow traveling in Latin America and Europe, and are now living happily in the Portuguese Algarve, Portimao to be specific. We are gradually chnging the focus of our site to feature images of Portugal. Stay tuned - its a work in progress.
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5 Responses to Birding in the Algarve – Ria de Alvor

  1. Joe says:

    The boardwalk through this interesting coastal environment and bird habitat looks very inviting. I have added it to our Lagos wish list and hope to walk it ourselves this May. Thanks for the info and great photos!

    Liked by 2 people

    • timannehall says:

      Hi Joe. The weather should be really great by the time you guys get here. This is a nice walk for anyone. If you have a car while you’re here it is easy to get to, but a little far from the train station. The next one we just published is right at one of the train stations.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great pics, Anne and Tim! This is a lovely walk with a variety of land and sea scapes, plenty of bird life and even some dog and people watching. When I was there last fall (in addition to the above) I had a great time watching the sand crabs dig, pop up from their holes and scuttle from place to place, too! Anita


  3. Pingback: Ria de Alvor – Nature-Watching in Europe

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