Although famous for being a beach resort with a wonderful year-round climate, the Algarve is also a refuge and a haven for birdlife.
The West Algarve has very diverse habitats – from cliffs to coastal wetlands and from small forest patches to scrub-covered hills. At almost any time of the year, there is something of interest to see!
In this personalized self-drive birding tour, we present a collection of itineraries to birding hotspots, aiming at helping you to get the best birding opportunities! In Vilamoura, you’ll be set to explore probably the most extensive area of reed beds and lagoons in the Algarve, at Lagoa dos Salgados.
This is one of the most important sites in the Algarve for migrating passerines, and also a hunting area for various raptors.
In the serene Alvor Estuary, you’ll find a protected natural haven, with a variety of water birds, seabirds, and farmland birds. The tour will take you to the beautiful Rocha Delicada, an ochre promontory formed during the Miocene period.
In the wet zones of the river Arade, near the former Arab capital of the Algarve, Silves, you’ll appreciate an important ecosystem, representative of the Mediterranean landscape.
This area collects a large number of waders, such as Redshank, Greenshank, and Common Sandpiper. There are also a few passerines, like Yellow Wagtail and Crested Lark.
The Lagoa de São Lourenço is another interesting bird spotting place we planned for you. This body of water is rich in aquatic vegetation, edged by reeds and bulrushes, and thus is rich in avifauna.
In winter, large numbers of ducks gather here, including Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Teal, Common Pochard, Eurasian Wigeon, and Tufted Duck.
All year round you find Red-crested Pochard, Little Bittern, Purple Swamp-hen, Black-headed Weaver, and Great Crested Grebe.
At the southern end of the lake lie the channels, salt marshes, lagoons, and sandy barrier islands of the Ria Formosa Natural Park which, depending on the tide and the season, can be teeming with waders, gulls, herons, and egrets.
In Ludo, in the busy salt-producing farms, it’s possible to see Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Spoonbill, Booted Eagles, and many nesting White Storks.
You then head to the remote southwest corner of Europe, to Sagres, in the Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina Natural Park.
This is an area of particular importance for migrating birds, and it’s always advisable to keep an eye out for rarities.
From your central and privileged location in Albufeira, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of birding hotspots, within different habitats, in this fabulous birdwatching experience!
This self-drive birdwatching tour counts with a free day. You can explore at your leisure other parts of the Algarve and get to know a bit more about the culture, heritage, and natural history of the region.