Arrabida Mountains

The District of Setúbal has a total area of 5,100 Km2 (5.7% of area of Continental Portugal) and integrates a vast massif, which goes from Palmela to the Espichel Cape.

One of the elements of this massif is called since long ago the Arrábida Mountains. The others are the Risco Mts; the S. Luis Mts; the S. Paulo Mts; the S. Francisco Mts; the Louro Mts; the Gaiteiro Mts; and the Palmela Mts.

Whe will detain ourselves some time in this orographic accident and its surroundings, very celebrated and highly appreciated by its beauty and singularity.

In this vast area, and mainly in the Risco Mts., S. Luis Mts. and Gaiteiro Mts., the calcareous pudding-stone is widely explored, and, it is used as a decorative stone after adequate processing (polishing, etc.),.

The Arrábida Mts. have been choosen since ever as the favourite ground for the erection of defense posts, as the Castles of Sesimbra and Palmela, and the S. Filipe Fortress.

The Arrábida Mts have a great scientific interest in areas of knowledge such as the Geology, Paleontology, Biology and Prehistory, among others. With regard to these sciences, we should consider the inumerable caverns, grottos and dens, spread all over the mountains, and presenting unforgetable moments to adventure lovers.

The extraordinary importance of the fauna and florest of the region has always been carefully considered in the district of Setúbal, namely in what regards the interesting and varied species of birds and plants that choose as habitat this wonderful corner of the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula.

As a small example of the privileged situation of the District of Setúbal, we point out that the greatest number of nidificating birds are found there - 110, according to the specialists. And we should stress the fact that many of the species are absolutely unique.

Among other places of interest, we can observe some sand islands along the base of the Arrábida Mts, which represent a natural habitat very frequented: Cambalhão Point (in the Sado mouth, in front of Tróia), and Cavalo Island, in the river. Apparently solitary, they are however important zones of shellfish and an excellent refuge for birds.

Rocky islands as Pedra da Anicha and Pessegueiro are another curiosity, the last one having been formerly inhabited.

 


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