For sure the most exotic place in all Portugal. If it wasn’t for the Portuguese language sounding through the air, you would bet to be in a Caribbean bay or somewhere in Costa Rica. It is paradise all right, but a Portuguese one. If you turn your back to sea you will find magnificent 300 meter slope dressed on different tones of green, the Arrábida National Reserve Park. Looking towards the sea is a calm bay facing south protected  from the northern winds .while a white stripe of sand separates the ocean from the slopes. The small distance allows you to get a glimpse of Troia peninsula, the biggest sand beach extension of Portugal, from Troia to Sines, with miles and miles of white sand and dunes. But that is for another day.

Arrábida waters are also home for bottled nose dolphins. There are some local tour operators that provide dolphin watch. In the bay, very close to shore, there is a resident seahorse colony that you can watch. The water is fresh contrasting with the regular hot weather of this region. The dive sites are very good. You can find rocky bottoms and caves, and see lots of squids, octopuses, stingrays, many types of gobies and nudibranches and plenty colourful fish schools. Also colourful are the numerous gorgonians and the marvellous and phosphorescent bijou anemones so famous among underwater photographers. The area from Arrábida to Espichel Cape is part of the Luis Saldanha Marine Reserve and is considered by all divers to be the best in mainland Portugal. You can dive around for years and still find new great dive spots and species you weren’t expecting to see.

A 1 week stop would be the ideal to get a taste of what this region has to offer. If you love photography, above and/or underwater, don’t forget to bring your gear. From Arrabida to Espichel Cape are the most unbelievable landscapes. Miles of steep cliffs, pure beaches, capes, lagoons, endemic fauna and flora, dinosaur footprints, birds and lots of sea to be captured by you. Come with time for time is precious.

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