Marim Nature Reserve - the saltpans, nature reserve and Castro Marim, The Algarve.
Castro Marim Nature Reserve Saltpans circular walk with pictures.
The Reserva Natural do Sapal de Castro Marim is located near Villa Real de
Santo Antonio in the extreme eastern side of the Algarve, Portugal - only minutes away from the Portuguese/Spanish border and the Rio Guadiana river.
This 11.75km walk is flat and is on tracks and paths - it goes round the saltpans (which are
still working/active) and also follows tributaries of the river. The area is full of wildlife and when we walked during October we saw many birds including hundreds of
flamingos as well as storks, herons and various waders. Get to the start of the walk by taking the motorway (called E01 or A22 on various maps) as far Aroeira where you
take the road marked to Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Lagoa. On reaching the n125 turn left and continue along to reach Vila Real de Santo Antonio. At a main road junction turn left towards Castro Marim, then after around
1.5 Kilometres take a small track (this is a little hard to spot as it is amongst some trees) on the left to some ruined buildings where you can park.
The walk is straightforward to follow in that you simply follow mostly track and dyke paths in an anti-clockwise direction round the huge saltpan area. Head out on the track which goes towards the saltpans and which has the river on the left, stay right when the track splits and then continue along going anticlockwise round the huge saltpan area - already there are lots of birds to spot and enjoy. The Castro Marim fort soon comes clearly into view on the right and also the various buildings belonging to the saltpan workings are visible on the left.