Quinta de Marim

The tidal mill at Quinta de Marim

The tidal mill at Quinta de Marim

This is the perfect Algarve walk when it’s too nice to be indoors, but not warm enough to sit on a beach.  Doesn’t that boardwalk call to you?  It does to me.

Quinta de Marim is part of the Ria Formosa nature reserve.  A 3 km trail leads through the pines and around the salt marshes, taking in the lovely old tidal mill en route.  The main purpose of the reserve is conservation and education.  The best option is to buy a map for a couple of euros and go at your own pace, but a guided tour is also available for advanced bookings.

No putting out to sea in this, I don't think!

No putting out to sea in this, I don’t think!

In the distance you can see the island of Armona

In the distance you can see the island of Armona

The tidal mill is the highlight of the reserve

But for me, the tidal mill is the highlight of the reserve

It sits proudly on the water

It sits proudly on the water

Looking out to sea

Looking out to sea

The views from the roof are captivating

The views from the roof are captivating

Sky and sea become one

Sky and sea blend into one

In a bird watcher's paradise

In a bird watcher’s paradise

A place where the spirit soars

A place where the spirit soars

I had never come across the concept of a tidal mill before and so was pleased that, inside the mill, display boards explain how it works.

Light floods in, illuminating the mill wheels

Light floods in, illuminating the mill stones

The ebb and flow of tide is what makes the mill work

The ebb and flow of tide is what makes the mill work

I had never seen anything quite like it before

I had never seen anything quite like it before

In season I believe the mill operates a small cafe, but it was closed when I was there.  The rest of the reserve incorporates salinas (or salt pans), a traditional farmhouse, a bird hospital and several hides for birdwatching.  Traditionally Portuguese water poodles were kept here- a special breed with webbed toes, once used in the fishing process.  These days they are most often seen in public demonstrations.

A Portuguese water poodle in action

A Portuguese water poodle in action

The reserve is close to Olhao Camping, and is signed off the E125 just before you reach Olhao, if you’re approaching from the east.

78 comments

  1. Looks like a lovely place for a stroll. And I love Portuguese water dogs. I think they have more energy than my dog, which is alarming on some levels since I’ve been playing fetch with Miles all morning.

    1. What a lovely way to put it, Eunice 🙂 I have some beautiful sisters on here that I’ll never meet, but it really doesn’t matter. Look after yourself, and get those health issues sorted.

  2. Thanks for the explanation of the tidal mill! I was hoping to read about its function. And the place looks like an ideal spot for bird watching.

    1. I would have supplied more details, Kate, but I was a little uncertain and didn’t want to get it wrong. I saw lots of birds wading and skimming the water. Idyllic, really 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot, Sonel 🙂
      I’m fighting a battle with myself over the header. Part of me really likes the stark look, which then focuses more on the photos, but the photo header is very eye pleasing. I’m also told that if you view it on an iPhone it really needs the header pic, but I don’t have one (you would guess that, wouldn’t you? 🙂 so I can’t tell. Big hugs in return.

  3. I love walking on boardwalks Jo … the anticipation that they lead somewhere important like your gorgeous mill is part of that … thanks for refreshing and informative tour!

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