The Ria Formosa lagoon
, located in Algarve
, in southern Portugal
, is a system of barrier islands that communicates with the sea through 6 inlets. Five of these inlets are natural and have mobility characteristics. The 6th is an artificial inlet that was opened with the purpose of allowing easier access to the port of Faro
Presently the main inlet of the system is the Faro-Olhão inlet, which was artificially opened. The process started in 1927 but only in 1952 were the engineering works completed and it assumed the present configuration.
Within the Ria Formosa system, different and sometimes antagonistic uses may be found. Part of the system is a Natural Park but Ria Formosa also plays an important role in the region's economy. Beyond the tourist use the system also supports other economic activities like seafood farms (including grooved carpet shell
harvesting) and the port of Faro.
The Ria Formosa is also a designated Natural Park
of over 170 km² and a stopping place for hundreds of different birds during the spring and autumn migratory periods.
The most important cities near the Ria Formosa are Tavira
There are also some towns in this area, whose names are: Fuzeta
(which belongs to the municipality of Olhão
), Santa Luzia
, Cabanas de Tavira
(these last two belonging to Tavira
) and Cacela Velha
(which belongs to Vila Real de Santo António
Several buses run from Tavira to Cabanas and back each day. The nearest train station is in nearby Conceição
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