Beach and Dune Trail
Over 60 kilometers of sandy beach extending from Tróia to Sines, shaped by the waves and wind, is indeed a long stretch of sand. The trail will take you first along the beach and then through the dunes.
If you are lucky you may even watch flocks of small birds – the sanderlings (Calidris alba) – they run along the sandy beaches as the water retreats, stopping frequently to pick up small food items. These small birds which we see in Tróia in winter migrate north in spring, to the Arctic Circle, to nest. This is the bird species that migrate farthest north.
By the breaking waves, the first colonising plants can be found, such as the European searocket (Cakile maritima). On the embryonic dune, we find the Elymus farctus, the Eryngium maritimum and the Otanthus maritimus, which hold the sand blown by wind. Next come the primary dunes, with tall ridges and only a few years of life, covered in Ammophila arenaria. Further back, the secondary dunes (which are several decades old) are rich in aromatic shrubs, such as the Helichrysum stoechas and the Ononis ramosissima. Further inland, the older dunes are covered in larger shrubs, such as the Lygos monosperma.