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Nature & Parks
Sado Estuary is the largest wetland near the Tagus River, located in the Setúbal district of Lisbon. It has the official title of Tagus Estuary Natural Reserve and belongs to the list of 10 biggest wetlands in Europe. The estuary covers the territory of 14,000 hectares and is separated from the sea by the Tróia peninsula.
Sado Estuary has various streams, creeks, marshlands and almost never used salt pans. Also, the glistening terrains of Sado Estuary are famous for their wild beauty, birdwatching and, of course, dolphin-watching tours. Birds are the main focus of the wetlands since there are about 250 species to be noticed in the estuary. You can find birds that nest in the area regularly and those that are migratory and come here only for winter.
The most popular wintering species that Sado Estuary can boast is, of course, greater flamingos that arrive at the territory in flocks of thousands. Settling in France or Spain, they spend some time in Portugal during the period between October and November. However, despite these months being the best ones for flamingo observation, these long-legged pink exquisites can be seen in the estuary during all year.
Wild dolphins are another peculiarity and attraction of the Natural Reserve. Yes, there is a community of 27 wild dolphins in the Tagus River! Countless ferry, boat, and catamaran cruises are offered to visitors who are eager to witness bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. The behavior of the mammals in this marine area is regularly monitored and closely researched by the tour operators. Many of the dolphins have offsprings now and even acquired some names!
On the tours, the guides typically explain why dolphins act in a certain way, tell some interesting and amusing facts about the animals. So, hop on the boat or ferry and watch out for the triangular fins emerging from the water! If you're not lucky enough to meet dolphins, which is very unlikely, you still have amazing scenery to enjoy!
So, if you didn't know that in 30 minutes from Lisbon you can see dolphins and flamingoes all in one place - now you know. Just plan to discover the Sado Estuary traveling to Lisbon!
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