PR2 PTM - Ao Sabor da Maré (At the Whim of the Tides) | Portimão
4.7 km circular route departing from Alvor. The river, estuary, dunes and marsh are places of fragile balance but with a huge wealth of animals and plants.
PR2 PTM - Ao Sabor da Maré (At the Whim of the Tides) | Portimão
Location
Region: Algarve; Municipality: Portimão; Civil Parish: Alvor.
Accessible by car
Head towards Alvor on the EN 125 national road. Carry on through the town towards Alvor Beach. On the way to the beach, you’ll come across the swimming pools and fishing port.
Starting Point
Type of route
Circular
Location
Region: Algarve; Municipality: Portimão; Civil Parish: Alvor.
Accessible by car
Head towards Alvor on the EN 125 national road. Carry on through the town towards Alvor Beach. On the way to the beach, you’ll come across the swimming pools and fishing port.
Starting Point
Type of route
Circular
Degree of difficulty
Easy
Minimum Altitude
0 m
Maximum Altitude
4 m
Water available
Yes.
Local corner shops
No.
Length
4.70 km
Time required
1h30 (approx.)
Cumulative elevation gain
25 m
Cumulative elevation loss
31 m
Degree of difficulty
Easy
Minimum Altitude
0 m
Maximum Altitude
4 m
Water available
Yes.
Local corner shops
No.
Length
4.70 km
Time required
1h30 (approx.)
Cumulative elevation gain
25 m
Cumulative elevation loss
31 m
Description of Itinerary

This path starts at the Alvor Fishing Port car park, next to the public swimming pool. From here, follow the walkway and turn right, skirting the Alvor Lagoon until you get to “Ponta do Medo Grande” (Big Fear Point).

A short detour to the viewpoint is highly recommended. Follow the walkway to the left for panoramic views over the Alvor Lagoon. Back on the path, walk along the sands of Alvor Beach for about 1 km.

ATTENTION: Avoid walking along the sand dunes as you follow this path. The dunes are home to a fragile ecosystem and by stepping on the vegetation you are contributing to the destruction of this habitat, which takes a long time to recover. Don’t forget that some animals such as birds, mammals, reptiles and even insects live here and that they are made vulnerable by our presence.

What will I see?

RIA DE ALVOR (Alvor Lagoon)
Four small streams converge after having run down from the Monchique and Espinhaço de Cão mountains, coming together to form the Alvor Lagoon, which is protected from the onslaught of the sea by two long stretches of sand, the beaches and dunes of Alvor and Meia-Praia.
It is the dynamic balance brought by the chain of dunes in Alvor that allows important habitats such as the salt marshland and estuary to develop behind them, home to a rich, varied biodiversity.

The inclusion of the Ria de Alvor (lagoon and wetlands) in the Ramsar Convention (International Convention on Wetlands), and its designation as a Site of International Importance under the Habitats Directive, are recognition of the importance of the locale.

The presence of two classified archaeological sites within the Alvor Estuary and its surroundings – the Alcalar Megalithic Site and the Roman ruins of Quinta da Abicada – stand as a testament to the importance of this lagoon system to human settlements over the centuries.


DUNES
The dune systems are extremely fragile, dynamic habitats where there is a permanent balance between sand and plants. These dunes serve to protect the strip of land from erosion, acting as a buffer against storms and floods. The dunes are formed on the beach, next to the water line, stretching inland and getting gradually taller as they do.

  • Flora
    Sea holly (Erygium maritimum) and sand couch-grass (Elymus farctus) create the conditions necessary for other more complex species, such as sea daffodils (Pancratium maritimum) and European marram grass (Ammophila arenaria) to spread and stabilise the dunes with their complex root systems. 

  • Fauna
    • Nesting birds – The little tern (Sternula albifrons) and the Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus).
    • Resident birds – The common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), crested lark (Galerida cristata), Zitting cisticola (Cisticola juncidis), European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), Common linnet (Linaria cannabina) and the European serin (Serinus serinus).
    • REPTILES: The ocellated lizard (Timon Lepidus) and the Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus).
    • MAMMALS (in search of food and shelter): The European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), Granada hare (Lepus granatensis) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes).

SALT MARSH
A transitional area between the land and sea that is submerged by salt water during the high tide and exposed during the low tide, forming a natural protective boundary between the estuary and the land. These are highly productive habitats made unique by the slow depositing of sediments and nutrients, forming soft, dark soil. Halophyte plants grow in this area – plants that are resistant to the high salinity of the locale – housing a large number of living beings and filtering, retaining and breaking down nutrients and pollutants. These plants have a huge capacity for purifying and improving the quality of the surrounding water.

  • Flora
    Submerged under salt water during high tides: Small cordgrass (Spartina maritima) and salicornia (Salicornia sp.).
    Located in higher areas rarely reached by salt water: Rushes (Juncus sp.) and grasses bring new colours to these areas.
    Intermediate zones: broomrape (Cistanche phelypaea).
  • Birdlife
    Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), dunlin (Calidris alpina), black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), Eurasian whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) and common redshank (Tringa totanus).

ESTUARY
An area subject to the whim of the tides, the Alvor estuary is the most important estuary in the western Algarve. It is the cycle of the tides that bathe this area that determines the rhythm taken on by life in the estuary. When the tide is out, shellfish gatherers pick around the sediment harvesting cockles and clams, water birds feast on the countless small lifeforms that breed in the sand or get trapped in the narrow streams that form and flow into the sea.

  • Birdlife
    Birds that rest or feed on the sandbanks: Sanderling (Calidris alba), Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), Eurasian whimrel (Numenius phaeopus), common ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula), Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), and several species of seagulls.
    In areas with water: Little tern (Sternula albifrons) (in spring and summer), sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis) (in autumn and winter) and little egret (Egretta garzetta) (all year round).
  • Fish
    Sea bream (Diplodus sp.), gilt-head bream (Sparus aurata), European bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and sole (Solea sp.).

  • Mammals
    Otter (Lutra lutra) (footprints and droppings found on the banks of the estuary).
Useful contact information
  • Portimão Town Hall: (+351) 282 470 700
  • Alvor Civil Parish Council: (+351) 282 459 326
  • Almargem Association: (+351) 289 412 959
  • Alvor Health Centre Branch: (+351) 282 459 268
  • The Western Algarve Hospital (Portimão): (+351) 282 450 300
  • Portimão Volunteer Firefighters: (+351) 282 420 130
  • National Republican Guard - Portimão: (+351) 282 420 750
  • Portimão Marine Police: (+351) 282 417 714
  • If you see a fire, call: 117
  • In the event of an emergency, call: 112

 

More information?

Download the files below.
And have a nice walk!

Leaflet with Map
Track GPX PR2 PTM – AO SABOR DA MARÉ
Track KML PR2 PTM – AO SABOR DA MARÉ