Real adventurers will love this!
Real adventurers will love this. There is a lot of new ground to break when it comes to visiting the land. And when we say the land, we also mean mountains, hills, bush and plain. And we also mean animals that still roam free and the plants that survive the planet’s rampant modernisation. Fortunately, as Spanish people say, “que las hay, las hay”.
Mafra, or to be more precise Tapada Nacional de Mafra (Mafra National Park) (TNM), offers an unexpected range of habitats, from woods to pasture land, bushland to rivers, that sustain a large diversity of animal species. To this specific diversity can be added the high conservation value of, for example, the Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) and the Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo).
Mafra to the Serra de Sintra is just a short trip. These magical and enchanting hills, whose coastline is of great ecological and cultural interest, are remarkably diverse. From walking trails and roads to palaces and castles full of history, the Serra de Sintra is a genuine oasis for those who truly enjoy Mother Nature.
Visitors can explore a variety of trees, bushes, flowers and even the nicest creatures. Sintra, and the whole surrounding area, is a World Heritage Site. Monserrate Palace and Park, one of the richest gardens in Portugal and one of the most beautiful examples of Romantic-era landscaping in Portugal, are worth every minute of appreciation.
Between the blue of the sea and the green of the hills, the Parque Natural da Serra da Arrábida (Serra da Arrábida Nature Park) is an excellent place to test your physical limits.
Orienteering and cycle tours are a good way to get to know this example of pure Mediterranean vegetation. It is possible to choose just the right level of difficulty and there are even night walks available.
For the adventurous, the challenges offered by the Serra da Arrábida are many: from the more extreme – with activities including coasteering, canoeing, trekking, 4x4 tours, diving, snorkelling and caving – to the more gentle – including dolphin watching and boat tours.
Further on, the Reserva Natural do Tejo (Tagus Nature Reserve), extends to Vila Franca de Xira, covering an area of meadowland where bulls and horses are reared. The Reserve can be visited on foot, by bicycle or by car, following the proposed routes. For anyone looking for a different perspective, you can take a tour on one of the traditional vessels, such as a fragata or varino.
Just as beautiful, the Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado (Sado Estuary Nature Reserve) suggests other attractions, such as dolphins – which accompany the boat tours – and the over 250 species that can be seen in this area. The Moinho de Maré da Mourisca (Mourisca Tide Mill) is one of the best places to do it
Leaving the centre of the city and setting off to discover the beauty of the land is truly good for you. Your heart will thank you, and so will your state of mind. And, after all, it is just around the corner.