Over the last few weeks we've been telling you about several lovely locations in the region of Setúbal. Now we want to tell you about one very special location considered by many as simply the heart of this region.
The originality of the scenery and harmony of Man in his environment reveal a perfect integration of the two in a natural and socio-cultural context which surround it.
These chalky hills have the only surviving example of primitive Mediterranean vegetation. Tucked away in the heart of Arrábida's Natural Park, the formation goes back 180 million years. The soil and mild climatic features, considered the best in Portugal, have produced a lush vegetation rich in species. The park covers the Arrábida Hills, which mediterranean-like vegetation and microclimate resemble Adriatic locations.
Although the 50km-long ridge of the Arrábida attains a maximum of only 501m (Alto do Formosinho), the views from the top are truly spectacular, giving the impression of much greater altitude. The strategic position of the Arrábida Marine Park makes it an ideal laboratory to travel for studies on marine biodiversity and climate change.
What to do in the Arrábida mountain?
Beaches: Relax on the sand at Portinho da Arrábida, a delightful small beach nestled in a bay with calm, crystal blue-green water that is excellent for swimming and diving. Make a visit also to Figueirinha, it looks out over the Bay of Setubal and has the beautiful backdrop of the Serra da Arrábida hills. The popularity of this beach is aided by both the ease of access and the calm waters and is suitable for windsurfing at low tide, when a cove is created by a sandbank.
Walking Tours: Travel here and dive yourself into the wild landscapes of the Arrábida mountain on a guided walking tour which offers you a chance to capture the true essence of the region.
Sports: Mountain Biking, hiking, sea kayaking are some of the many sports you can practise here, since the mountain and the bay below offers perfect conditions for these sports.
Jeep tours: This is the most popular safari trip practiced in the surroundings of Lisbon,with stopovers in places for fantastic views of the mountain and the ocean.. Tip: Combine the tour with a wine and cheese tasting.
Photographing: With a beautiful and breathtaking scenery, the Arrábida mountain is the place to travel and to be for landscape photographers.
Arrábida Monastery: Built on 1542 by Frei Martinho de Santa Maria, this monastery is hidden between the lush vegetation. Used by religious orders in the past, it has the "old monastery" with some rooms built inside the rocks and the "new monastery" where later was built the kitchen, library, watch tower and other rooms. The monastery is currently owned by the Orient Foundation, with many cultural events taking place.
Just relaxing: This location is perfect if you're looking for the tranquility and peace that only the contact with nature offers. A perfect place to meditate, relax or just listen to the nature sounds.
And why not combine several activities together to make the perfect holidays?
The Natural Park of Arrábida is an area of excellent views, culture, history and hundred-year-old traditions as well as having an economic importance regarding tourism. Add it to your travel guide!
The nature park (land and sea) is currently being proposed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site and was a "Gift to the Earth" by the Portuguese government through WWF in the International Year of the Oceans (1998).
Visit us on Facebook and watch the video with stunning photos from the Arrábida mountain.