Sado Natural Reserve

The Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, with about 23,000 hectares, is a wetland that develops along the banks of the Sado river, basically from Setúbal to Alcácer do Sal.

It is an area with very low human occupation, where agricultural activities predominate, mostly associated with the cultivation of rice and some salt marshes, in the areas closer to the river and its tributaries, and with forest and grazing in higher areas and not subject to the tides.

Traditional fishing and shellfish collection are also activities that are developed here and that are centered on some small fishing centers.

It is a set of activities that are perfectly integrated and compatible with the environment and the natural importance of this entire territory, which is well witnessed by the presence, at different times of the year, of hundreds of thousands of birds and mammals, distributed by hundreds of species.

Sal e Salinas

Sado was one of the most important salt production areas in Portugal, and its landscape was strongly dominated by salt marshes.

Its particularly favorable conditions for the production of salt made it possible for the Romans to establish an important fish salting industry in the Sado, of which Tróia is the most obvious example.

There are currently less than a dozen active salt pans, although they continue to have a cultural and symbolic expression of the greatest importance, given the importance they had for so many years in the region’s economy and history.

Rice paddies

Rice cultivation began in Portugal around 1760, in the Comporta area, on land located along the banks of the Sado river and which until then had never been used.

The Comporta region and, in general, the entire Sado Valley region, are today the largest and best rice growing area in the country, and this is one of the most important economic activities in the entire Sado estuary.

This crop underwent a great expansion in this area around 1950 with the construction of the Pego do Altar and Vale de Gaio dams, whose irrigation channels along the two banks of the Sado, began to provide greater amounts of fresh water for the culture.


Abul is a place located on the right bank of the Sado river, where the Phoenicians, in the course of their expansion voyages through the Mediterranean and the coast of the Iberian Peninsula, installed, around the 7th century BC, a trading post for commercial exchanges with the population. indigenous people (The Phoenicians in Sado).

The factory occupies the upper part of a small elevation, which was then bathed, on three sides, by the waters of the estuary, being easily accessible by boat and provided with two excellent anchorages located in the adjacent coves, from which the entire estuary was dominated. allowing to control the maritime movement.

This place was later occupied by the Romans who, in the same place, built several ovens for the production of amphorae, for the transport of salted fish manufactured in Tróia and Setúbal.


Mourisca is a space with a total area of ​​about 40 hectares, located next to the town of Faralhão, in the heart of the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve.

It is a property specially prepared for the development of actions of an environmental nature, where not only diverse ecological systems coexist (marshes, rice fields, forest, agricultural zone, salt marshes), but also some elements of the built heritage.

A tide mill, one of the four tide mills that may have existed in the Sado Estuary and a small stilt harbor for traditional fishing boats, stands out for its uniqueness.

It is a must visit place for nature lovers, who can develop various activities there (walking, bird watching, guided tours, etc).


Carrasqueira is a village made up of the largest fishing community in the Sado Estuary, which is associated with its stilt harbor, a spectacular set of piles along one of the marsh creeks, being the largest in the country of its kind.

Buried in the mud, the wooden stakes support a precarious and labyrinthine network of accesses to the individual anchorages, constituting a particularly curious and interesting set.

The typical thatched cottages, characteristic of this region, are still an element that marks the landscape and show us the type of housing that has been predominant in the region for less than a century.

It is a highly visited and appreciated place, not only for its most evident cultural features, but also for a highly appreciated gastronomy where you can find the best dishes based on seafood, traditional Alentejo cuisine and regional sweets.


Comporta, located to the south of the Tróia peninsula, is an area dominated by the diversity of contrasting environments, where the forest, agriculture, the river Sado, the ocean and the beaches are the most dominant elements of its landscape.

The history of Comporta, the largest farm in the region, is intimately associated with the beginnings of rice cultivation in Portugal, whose production is, even today, of the greatest importance.

A place with over 5,000 years of human occupation, Comporta is one of the main tourist destinations on the Alentejo coast, due to the tranquility of Alentejo environments, beaches, gastronomy, easy accessibility and the offer of infrastructure and tourist activities.