Sado Estuary Nature Reserve


Discover countless species of birds and several dozen dolphins amid marshes, sandbanks, rice paddies and a vast area of woods and reed plantations.

If you visit Setúbal and Arrábida, you’ll be surprised by the magnitude of the nature and the balance between hills and sea. But to get to know the nature of this region better, mainly the huge area of the Sado estuary, there’s no better way than to explore the huge wetlands separated from the sea by the Tróia peninsula: the Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado. Here you can find countless species of birds and several dozen dolphins amid marshes, sandbanks, rice paddies and a vast area of woods and reed plantations. This conservation area is also home to several threatened species, such as the black bat and otter. Ideally, join one of the many cruises that visit the estuary from Setúbal to observe nature in its calmest state. But if you only have time to take the ferry across to Tróia, you may still catch sight of the friendly dolphins. Nature is famous for being generous here.

The river’s estuary commences close to Alcácer do Sal, a highly fertile humid zone, where the landscape is marked by rice fields, cultivated in platforms, and nests of white storks, perched on top of church towers or electricity pylons. This elegant bird always chooses the highest places in order to build its nests and is one or 200 bird species that inhabit the Sado Estuary, which has been declared a Nature Reserve and a zone of special protection in order to protect the species.