In January 2008 and October 2010 I visited the Algarve and Alentejo region in southern Portugal. First time was a family holiday and second on invitation of the bureau of tourism Algarve. Southern Portugal is ideal for a family holiday while spending the first and last hours of the day birding and photographing. In the winter period temperatures are a comfortable 18 degrees and in October we could go out in our t-shirts. If experiencing nature is your main objective then you should avoid the high season. From June to August it's hot, dry and very busy and less birds which are also not at their best looking.

Places worth visiting (moving west to east along the map)

  • Cabo de Sao Vincente; the most southwestern point of Europe is very interesting for watching seabirds. The cape itself is very attractive. The plains north from here hold Little Bustard, Short-toed Larks and in the small bushes one can found Spectacled and Dartford Warbler.
  • Sagres; the fortress can be a migrant trap in autumn with winds from the east. East from Sagres at the beach is a small river estuary which can held waders and attract other kinds of birds.
  • Alvor; west from the town is a larger estuary which attracts waders, flamingo's and in winter wildfowl.
  • Salgados; lies west of Vale de Para. A nature reserve next to one of the many golf resorts. Interesting for water-loving birds. We found a Buff-breasted Sanpiper in 2010.
  • Quinta do Lago; a reserve next to a golf resort. An interesting site because many birds are used to people. In the lagoon you can find Purple Gallinules, Glossy Ibis, Red-crested Pochards and on the courses Azure-winged Magpies and Hoopoes. Check the tamarisks for European Chameleons.
  • Ria Formosa, in tidel area near the airport which is a magnet for waders in migrating birds. Just drive around the dirt roads and keep your eyes open for Adouins Gull, Caspian and Gull-billed Tern in 2008 we found a Marsh Sandpiper.
  • Tavira; there's a large collection of saltpans here and ofcourse this is an interesting site for waders, terns, gulls and egrets which can easily been seen and photograped from the road.
  • Castro Marin; is at the border with Spain. This is a large Nature Reserve well known of the abundance of Flamingos.
  • Castro Verde (Alentejo) just spend at least a day here between this town and Mertola (N123) the steppes are beautifull where birds like Little and Great Bustard can be seen, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Calander Lark and in spring Lesser Kestrel, Bee-eaters and many White Storks.

This link for the Dutch report and this link for the UK report