Arrábida’s fauna and flora

The Natural Park in Arrábida was established in 1976 and extends for a significant portion of the area designated cadeia da Arrábida, which comprises the set of hills that accompanies the southern coastal edge of the Setúbal peninsula. In the Park, Serra da Arrábida stands out as its most important elevation and the core orographic chain.


In this protected area live natural vegetation of high conservation relevance not only nationally but also globally.


–       Oak trees of Quercus faginea common almost everywhere in Arrábida, on the northern slopes and valleys;

–       Formations in torrential water lines of Crataegus monogyna and the remarkable Acer monspessulanum;

–       Mediterranean evergreen trees like olive tree (Olea europaea) and carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) in the south oriented valleys;

–       Limestone interior cliffs that include Piptatherum coerulescens, Catapodium salzmanii, Narcissus calcicola, Cheilanthes catanensis, Convolvulus siculus, Linaria melanantha, Chaenorrhinum origanifolium, etc…;

–       Possible transition evergreen durisilvae-laurisilvae with sizes reaching 15 m. In more balanced phases, Quercus coccifera, Phillyrea latifolia and Smilax aspera;

–       Formations of hemi-fruticeta located in the sea cliffs between Cabo Espichel and Cabo D’Ares, characterized by the presence of Euphorbia pedroi and Withania frutescens;

–       Vestigial structures of laurisilvae in the sea cliffs at Cabo Espichel characterized by the presence of Convolvulus fernandes II;


For many years, after the formation of the Kingdom of Portugal, in the area that is now the Natural Park of Arrábida was an important hunting land where there was a diverse fauna that included, among other species, wolves, wild boar and deer, being the latter two extinct since the beginning of the 20th century.

Nowadays, the fauna in Arrábida is still incredibly varied and this diversity must be preserved.

In terms of mammals various species stand out. The wild cat (Felis silvestris), the halide (Genetta genetta), the mongooses (Herpestes ichneumon), the badger (Meles meles), the polecat (Mustela putoris), the weasel (Mustela nivalis) the fox (Vulpes vulpes), the hare (Lepus capensis), the rabbit (Oryctulagus cuniculus) and even colonies of bats are part of this amazing diverse population of mammals.

Birds thrive is the Arrábida area, among diurnal raptors the Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraetus fasciatus), the round wing eagle (Buteo buteo) and the kestrel (Falco tinunculus) are noteworthy. Amid nocturnal raptors the eagle owl (Bubo bubo) and the tower owl (Tyto alba) stand out.

Furthermore, the partridge (Alectoris rufa), the real swifts (Apus melba) and bee-eaters (Merops merops) are among many other species that may be observed in this protected area. In addition, are also identified about 300 species of Lepidoptera (butterflies), 450 of Coleoptera (beetles and similar) and many more insects.

Some of these animals are protected by international laws (conventions) since there are today few specimens around the world. Some species are already endangered while others are on the verge of also becoming so.

Please feel free to contact any of these centres to be properly accompanied during the observation of fauna and flora in this beautiful region:

– Centro de Interpretação da Natureza do Zambujalinho, Ldª,  Azeitão /;

À Vela Passeios no Sado, Setúbal /

Blue Coast Bikes, Setúbal /

Mil Andanças, Setúbal /

Nautur, Setúbal /

SAL – Sistemas de Ar Livre, Setúbal /

Vertigem Azul, Setúbal /

Bolhas Actividades Maritímo-Turísticas, Sesimbra /

Vertente Natural, Sesimbra /

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