Once Upon a Day…. We are in one of the most beautiful places in Portugal: the Arrabida Natural Park, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty and turquoise waters of the beaches of Arrabida. It belongs to the district of Setúbal, with its historical heritage and riverside location, which is also a starting point for sailing along the coast of Arrabida or the Sado river, where you can be dazzled by the local dolphin community.
This is a region inhabited for 2000 years, with a rich history and distinguished by its lush landscapes, its enormous tourist potential and the importance of its natural resources, protected by the Arrabida Natural Park, the Luís Saldanha Marine Park and the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve.
Whether in the mountains, in the middle of nature, on the beautiful coast, at the sea, or in the historic cities and towns around, the experiences and possibilities for new adventures are countless and the landscape is unforgettable.
The Arrabida Natural Park was founded in 1976, with an area of approximately 26,700 acres, protecting the Mediterranean type vegetation born from this microclimate with similarities to Adriatic regions such as Dalmatia.
The fauna is quite diverse, despite having undergone major changes since the XNUMXth century. Until the beginning of the XNUMXth century it was still possible to observe wolves and deers. The current fauna includes, among others, the fox, the wild boar, the hare, the bat, the bonelli's eagle, the eagle owl, the partridge and the royal swift.
But not only the natural beauty is a point of attraction in this beautiful mountain range. It also contains vestiges of Portugal's historical heritage, such as the Convento da Arrabida, built in the 25th century, which covers, over its XNUMX acres, the Convento Velho, located in the highest part of the mountain, the Convento Novo, located halfway down hillside, the Garden and the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus. A place worth visiting.
Memorable experiences to take home and tell a story.
Arrabida beaches, protected by the mountains, with calm and transparent waters, are popular with the inhabitants of Setúbal and Lisbon. Portinho da Arrabida, a bay with a small island, called Anicha, which forms a natural harbor sheltered by the mountains. Figueirinha beach, one of the most popular in the region and Creiro beach, one of the largest beaches and with the longest coastline. There are also the beaches of Galapinhos, elected in 2017 as the best beach in Europe by the European Best Destinations portal, Galapos and Coelhos Beach.
In addition, there is the entire peninsula of Troia, with the huge Comporta coastline and whose beaches are famous.
The city of Setúbal is located in the Costa Azul, it is an important port and trade area. One of its main activities is undoubtedly fishing and it has been increasingly visited by tourists, who find excellent routes to discover in the city and its surroundings.
With a pleasantly kept historic center, traditional commerce flanks pedestrian streets that lead us to a nice avenue, which offers a huge and refreshing garden.
Located on the River Sado, the city offers visitors the best and freshest fish and seafood, being particularly known for its fried cuttlefish, which even has a statue dedicated to it in the city centre.
In the city where well known Portuguese culture personalities were born, namely Bocage (poet of the 19th century, known for his ironic tone and social criticism that he inserted in everything he wrote) and Luisa Todi (important opera singer) deserve special mention at Convento de Jesus, a gothic-manueline style convent that houses the City Museum and the Fort of São Filipe. Currently converted into a Hotel, it is a great viewpoint over the city, the Sado River, Troia and Serra da Arrabida.
Around Setúbal there are areas of preserved nature, namely the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, where you can watch dolphins in freedom, and the Arrabida Natural Park, with unique characteristics, with species that can only be found in areas close to the Mediterranean.
And if you like castles, you can visit three very important ones in this area: Setúbal, Sesimbra and Palmela. It's definitely worth a visit to admire the architecture as well as the expansive views.
Cape Espichel is a promontory located west of Sesimbra village. It is bounded to the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north by the national road XNUMX and Ribeira dos Caixeiros. It marks the southwestern end of the Setúbal peninsula. In the cape you can see, dizzying and abyssal, the Baía dos Lagosteiros.
In Cabo Espichel is located the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Pedra Mua, comprising the Church of Nossa Senhora do Cabo, Terreiro do Cabo Espichel, Cruzeiro, Casa da Água and the Cabo Espichel Aqueduct. A sanctuary that has its origins in a 13th century folk legend, after a man had a vision of a great light that shone over the Cape. Once there, he would have seen Our Lady climbing the back of a mule up the rock. The site became very popular with pilgrims and because of that construction and development of the Sanctuary complex was initiated.
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