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Sado Estuary Nature Reserve

Sado Estuary Nature Reserve

Covering more than 23,000 hectares (57,000 acres), the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve in Setubal was established to protect the estuary.

The inner part of the estuary is bordered by rice-fields and reedbeds, whereas the north-western limits are densely populated and the south-western parts are sheltered from the open sea by a sandbar.

The Sado estuary has been declared a reserva natural (23,971 ha), Ramsar Site and a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA), largely on account of the 300-plus species of vertebrate recorded here.

It is a special place for birdwatching, including white storks, herons and flamingos.

The fish species include white bream, grey mullet, skate, sole and the Lusitanian toadfish.

Bottle-nosed dolphins in their natural habitat can be seen and there is an important colony of them in the River Sado.

They’re often observed while crossing the river by boat, between Setubal and Troia. Cockles, whelks, clams, prawns and crabs are among the crustaceans that can be found, as well as molluscs like cuttlefish, octopus and squid.

You can put on a pair of sturdy walking boots, pack your lunch, and discover some of the hidden corners of this estuary that swoop right down to the Atlantic.

Enjoy the striking landscapes as you walk the paths or take a trip on a traditional salt galleon out on to the Sado estuary or along the Arrabida coastline.

We invite you spend some of your vacations and holidays time visiting Arrábida Hills.

We invite you to visit Setubal and to visit  Portugal

Contact us if you wish to know more information about the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve.

Watch this video about the Sado Estuary:



Portugal has been a wonderful destination for birdwatching and one of the country’s best birdwatching areas is Sado estuary in Setubal.

If you are a birdwatching fan and you haven’t visited this place before, then the range of species here might well surprise you.

The Sado estuary is a Ramsar site of international importance. Here you can watch around 70.000 birds of more than 250 different species, all year around.

The estuary incorporates a number of habitats, ranging from inter-tidal mudflats, salt marshes, salt pans, rice fields, reed beds and river beaches, to sand-dunes, small dams and slopes covered in cork and pine.

Some of the areas of major interest include: Gâmbia, Zambujal, Pinheiro, Monte Novo de Palma, Batalha, Cachopos, Carrasqueira and Comporta.

This sparsely populated region is a vital stronghold for Great and Little Bustards – and excellent for birds of prey, too.

Resident Eurasian Black Vultures and Eurasian Griffon share the skies with Spanish Imperial, Golden and Bonelli’s Eagles, and by late February, the first Lesser Kestrels should be returning from their winter quarters in Africa.

Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Purple Swamphen and Eurasian Penduline, all are to be looked for.

More birds like Black Stork, Calandra and Thekla Larks, Eurasian Crag Martin, Blue Rock-thrush, Spanish Sparrow and Rock Bunting are among other exciting species to watch for as you can listen for the tell-tale chuckling of Black-bellied Sandgrouse flying over the step.

Each year this region is attracting more and more people from across the world interested in birdwatching and if you come to Setúbal you have a bonus, because you might as well observe the small and unique population of Bottle-nosed Dolphins, resident in the estuary.

We invite you to spend some of your vacations and holidays time visiting Arrábida Hills and Troia.

We invite you to visit Setubal and to visit Portugal.

Just take your flight to Faro airport or Lisbon Airport, reserve accommodations, hotel, choose a restaurant and activities and welcome to Portugal Dream Coast.