Salinas do Samouco Foundation
A fantastic place to visit with your family
With an area of 360 hectares, the Salinas de Samouco Foundation is a fantastic place that you can't miss if you stay at Praia do Sal Resort. Here you can get to know all the fascinating processes of salt transformation and explore the place where thousands of birds are fed, sheltered and nested.
How it started...
The first records of salt mining activity in Alcochete appeared in the 13th century, associated with the appearance of small riverside communities. These salt marshes developed over the centuries and were considered in the years 1932 to 1936 the main salt center of the Lisbon region. In the 70's the salt pans were gradually abandoned as production costs did not allow to compete with market prices, flooded by salt from France and Italy, nowadays most of the salt pans in the complex are managed mainly for the bird life. Currently, there is only one active salt pan in the whole Tagus estuary, the Salina do Canto, which produces salt and flower salt of excellent quality and preserves the identity of the Alcochetano people.
The saltpans and the birds living here
Samouco's salt flats complex includes a set of old salt flats with about 360ha. Nowadays, most of these salt pans no longer produce salt, but their physical structure has been preserved in order to guarantee the circulation of salt water coming from the Tagus estuary.
The management of the water in the tanks through a system of gates is fundamental for the maintenance of different depths and salinity levels, providing a great food availability that attracts hundreds of birds, especially during high tide. Besides feeding and seeking refuge in these areas, some species, such as the black-winged stilt, the unbroken eel and the chirp, use the salt pans as nesting sites, so their conservation is fundamental. Their valuable biodiversity, combined with a unique socio-cultural heritage, make the Samouco salt pans a very rich natural space, essential to preserve.
Salt Trails of Samouco
Whether on foot or by bicycle, visitors can enjoy a unique experience and travel the paths that will take them on an unforgettable journey through history, but also through the biodiversity of the Salinas do Samouco. While walking along the existing trails they will enjoy a fun tour through the old salt pans, where they will be able to observe different species of estuarine birds, such as flamingos, herons or mosquitoes. Although the flora is not very expressive in this area, it is possible to observe the vegetation that constitutes the salt marsh and that develops on the banks of the mats, hillocks and, in some cases, inside the salt marshes themselves. You can also meet our extraordinary Mirandese donkeys, a Portuguese breed on the verge of extinction, which we help to preserve.
Two salt trails you can do:
Flamingo trail – circular route with 4.70km and reduced difficulty
Shank trail – circular route with 6km and reduced difficulty
8h00 to 17h00 – Monday to Friday (January to December)
10h00 to 19h00 – Weekends and Holidays (March to September)
8h00 to 17h00 – Weekends and Holidays (October to February)
*Guided tours require prior booking (subject to availability) and a minimum number of 10 persons or the payment of the 10 persons fee.
Artisanal Saliculture | Bird watching | Guided or autonomous tours | Walking trails and mountain biking