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Portugal’s protected areas

In these troubled times, more and more people are heading for the countryside and other natural places in search of peace of mind, but despite living in the era of technology and knowledge, there is still some misinformation about the environmentally protected areas in mainland Portugal, so we bring you some advise on what to do to find that peace of mind you’re looking for…

 

Portugal has around 30 nature parks and reserves under official jurisdiction, plus many other legally protected areas, where the huge natural diversity and richness of the country is preserved. Some of these areas are under a growing pressure caused by human activity, housing and touristic developments as well as recreational activities not respecting the applicable rules and regulations.

 

Specific regulations

Depending on the environmental values being protected, each of these areas has its own regulations covering activities such as cycling, hiking, camping, using fire, driving off-road, etc. In some, driving motorised vehicles is only allowed on tarmac roads, while in others the possibility of driving off-road (where permitted), is subject to authorisations from the Park authorities. Next time you plan to visit one of these protected areas we recommend that you start by checking with the park officials what you’d like to do, where you can go and what limitations are in place at the time of your tour.

 

Code of Conduct for visitors 

As a registered tour company with a special accreditation to work inside these areas, we recommend that you always follow the ICNF Code of Conduct for visitors, which sets the generic rules for a safe, legal and environmentally responsible fruition of our protected lands.

For more information about the network of protected areas in Portugal, you can consult the website from the Portuguese Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF).  http://www2.icnf.pt/portal/ap

 

Be Natural

When going to any of the protected areas, we suggest you always look for the Natural.PT brand sign in local shops, restaurants or places of accommodation. This brand was created by ICNF to develop an integrated promotion of the territory, as well as the products and services available in the network of Protected Areas. By choosing this brand, you’ll be helping local people who share the same values and principles of sustainability and adding value to the endogenous resources.