hiking – biking
Walking in Portugal, straight from our accommodation or in the vicinity of the house at Costa Azul – Alentejo.
No Campo is located in a protected nature reserve, in which beautiful hiking and cycling tours can be made: start with the path down to the river for example. Or into the mountains to the highest point and rest at the chapel A Nossa Senhora da Penha.
The GR11 passes No Campo, indicated by the “Clube Ibérico de Montanhismo.
The coastline between the river Sado in Setubal and Sines consists of broad beaches and dunes. In between the sand hills you will find quiet lagoons.
The largest of these is the Lagoon of Santo André.
This natural beauty spot is, together with a number of smaller lakes in the vicinity, a natural reserve since 2000 and an internationally recognized wetland. It is of great importance as a wintering and breeding site for countless species of birds.
The reserve covers an area of over 3000 hectares of land and some 2000 hectares of sea.
Further on begins the Serra de Grândola.
It is one big cork oak forest. Here rise the brooks that flow through the long narrow valleys between the pine-covered dunes towards the lagoon . In days of old, there were rice paddies here, no there is cattle grazing. Many of the farms(“montes”) however are no longer operational.
Each year, the water in the lagoon needs to be completely refreshed. Sometimes a storm takes care of the required coastal opening but mostly bulldozers do the work. In the springtime, the lagoon is closed again.
Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado.
Near the city of Setúbal, the Sado river flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The estuary of the Sado is of great importance as a breeding and wintering site for birds in winter. It was therefore declared a nature reserve in 1980 and is now also an internationally recognized wetland. It covers an area of about 24,000 hectares.
The banks of the estuary consist largely of mudflats and salt marshes, with creeks and tidal channels in between: a bird paradise. To the north side of the estuary – just outside Setúbal – you will find a number of bird viewing points.
Behind dikes are large estates, especially where rice is grown. Some are unfortunately recently inaccessible, but others opened for public. The forests inland have mainly pine, eucalyptus and cork oaks as well. Along the river are several salt pans, remnants of the once thriving salt industry in this area.
Farther into the estuary is home not only to abundant quantities of fish, but also to mammals. You can spot Bottlenose Dolphins, (Tursiops truncatus) a dolphin species that can be up to 4 meters long. Normally Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) follow the coast, but occasionally a few of them wander into the estuary.
Inland we find most mammals in either the streams or in the woods. There are Otters, Wild cats, Badgers and Polecats. Hidden deep in the woods or dense thickets live the Mongoos, also known as Pharaoh Rats (Herpestes ichneumon). These predators can, tail included, reach up to a meter in length. In Europe their existence is restricted to the Iberian Peninsula. Amphibians and reptiles do not lack either.
Near streams we find Iberian Painted Frogs (Discoglossus galganoi), Natterjack Toads (Bufo calamita) and Green Tree Frogs (Hyla arborea). And when there are toads , there are also Viperine Grass Snakes (Natrix maura)and Common Grass Snakes( Natrix natrix)preying on them. Both species of snakes are non-toxic and harmless.
Thanks to the mild coastal climate you can hike in spring and autumn.