Arrábida Natural Park
The Arrábida Natural Park is situated in the Setúbal Peninsula, in the mountain range of Arrábida and part of the sea coast around; it comprises of the parishes of Sesimbra, Palmela and Setúbal, with a total area of 17.641,16 hectares.
The area it is rich in geological formations, such as the karsts landscapes, like the “Gruta do Frade” (Friar Cave) and fossils deposits, including dinosaur footprints. Most part of the water courses are temporary, the superficial water is not abundant contrary to the underground waters. The climate shows Mediterranean characteristics, but the proximity with the Atlantic sea brings more humidity and makes the temperatures milder. The region has a high value in plant diversity and habitats, 10 of these habitats are prior to conservation, like the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal dunes, Mediterranean shrub-lands, meadows, rocky cliffs, temperate forests and marine reefs. There are several orchid species (around 30 different ones) and several endemic plant species, including some exclusively of the area; it is also possible to find a big diversity of animals, including some endemic insects (present only in the area) and a snail listed on the Red List of the IUCN. On the other hand, the Arrábida Natural Park is considered a hotspot of marine biodiversity with 1400 species listed.
The Natural Park was created in July 1976, aiming to protect the high geological, floristic and landscaped values, and also the cultural and historical heritage. The symbol of the park is a sentry-box of the Old Convent with the mountain as a background.