Did you know that Portugal is one of Europe’s finest birdwatching destinations? There is no other European country where it’s possible to see an iberian imperial eagle or azure-winged magpie amongst a total of around 330 species found in the country?
The wide variety of natural habitats, concentrated in this small territory, make it possible to drive quickly from high mountains to lush hills overlooking the sea, or from estuaries to cork-oak plantations. In the estuary of the River Tagus alone - only 20 minutes from Lisbon - it’s possible to observe 100 bird species in a single day!
While experienced “birdwatchers” are easily able to distinguish birds such as the great bustard, bittern or kestrel from rarer species such as the Rupell’s griffon and the reef heron, amateurs can enjoy an excellent way to appreciate the best of nature. To start with, book a trip with a specialized company. Bring some comfortable footwear and clothing as well as some binoculars to make sure you don’t miss any colourful bird hidden in the vegetation.
Some of the finest birdwatching zones are located in protected areas - that occupy 21% of the national territory. In the North it’s possible to take a cruise to enjoy the beautiful slopes of the River Douro, where Egyptian vultures build their nests. In the Tagus International Park, walking or bike-riding provide an excellent opportunity to watch black storks and griffon vultures perched on fossil-covered rocks.In the Algarve, take a break from swimming and sunbathing in order to discover the Ria Formosa or the Sapal de Castro Marim marshland - two important wetlands populated by flamingos and herons, amongst many other species.
Why not fly to the islands in the Atlantic Ocean? It’s well worth the trip because you’ll encounter birds that don’t exist in any other part of the world, such as the Zino’s petrel and long-toed wood pigeon in Madeira, or the Azores Bullfinch. The best birdwatching zones are Ponta do Pargo, Ponta de São Lourenço and islands of Desertas in the Archipelago of Madeira, or Pico da Vara in the island of São Miguel (Azores).
Whichever option you try, you’re sure to be amazed by the spectacularly beautiful landscapes, as you follow the flight of birds intersecting across ever-blue skies. For your own “perch” why not use choose a country holiday unit, or a fine hotel establishment and surrender to the charms of Portugal’s famous hospitality.