Reserva Natural das Dunas de São Jacinto
Scenery that remains undecided between land and sea, composed of sandy beaches, marshland, freshwater and saltwater, and home to many valuable species. You are guaranteed an unforgettable visit.
The reserve is located at the southernmost tip of the line of sand dunes separating the northern branch of the Ria de Aveiro from the Atlantic Ocean. It occupies an area of roughly 700 hectares and belongs to the parish of São Jacinto, roughly 50 km from the district capital, Aveiro.
It is a coastal area with a beach backed by both shifting and fixed sand dunes, maritime pine-woods and freshwater ponds, an area frequented by migratory waterfowl, some of which spend the winter here. This protected area consists of three different and characteristic zones, including a line of sand dunes, consolidated by spontaneous vegetation. The dunes are bordered by a forested area planted at the end of the 19th century, with the aim of preventing the sand from shifting, and consisting mainly of maritime pines and acacias.
In the heart of the protected area, freshwater ponds have been dug to provide a shelter for the anatidae of the Ria de Aveiro and to help the herons to become established in the region. The largest of these ponds, known as the Pateira, is the perfect spot for various waterfowl to pay a temporary visit or spend the winter.
The Information Centre will organise guided visits for you, offering you the chance to follow the special Nature Discovery Trail. At the reserve´s headquarters, make sure to see the interesting collection of miniature boats of the Ria, made by local artisans from São Jacinto. Part of the reserve´s heritage includes a brightly-coloured barco moliceiro, the typical boat of the Ria, which takes part in the lively Moliceiros Regatta, held every summer.