The Sado River

The Sado is born at an altitude of 230 m in Serra da Vigia and flows 180 km until it flows into the Atlantic Ocean via the Setubal Bay (one of the most beautiful bays in the world).

Downstream of Alcácer do Sal to the rivermouth there develops a large estuary (estuary of the Sado) which is separated from the ocean by the Tróia peninsula. It is one of the few Portuguese rivers that runs from South to North, like the Mira River in Odemira.

A pod of dolphins inhabits (Roazes-Corvineiros) in the Sado estuary.

The Sado river basin has an area of 7,692km² which fully risides on Portuguese soil. The estuary has an area of approximately 160 km² with an average depth of 8m, the maximum being 50m. The flow is forced mainly by tide.

It was established mainly due to the botanical and faunal interest of these vast waters with specific objectives to maintain the natural function of the estuary: development of activities compatible with the balance of the estuarine ecosystem, proper allocation of resources, preservation of cultural and scientific values, as well as promotion of outdoor recreation.

It covers an area of 23,160 hectares, consisting of estuarine waters, alluvial plains, dunes and sea and river beaches, encompassing territory belonging to the counties of Alcácer do Sal, Grândola, Palmela and Setúbal.

The reserve has been included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) since May 7th, 1996, and has been a Special Protection Area (SPA) for avifauna since September 23rd, 1999. More than 80% of the area is also covered by the Sado (code PTCON00011) of the Rede Natura 2000.

The RNES depends on the ICNF (Institute of Nature Conservation and Forestry), headquartered in:

Praça da República | 2900 – 587 SETÚBAL | Tel .: (+351) 265 541 157