The river Tejo (Tagus) is Portugal's largest and it widens in Lisbon before emptying into the Atlantic. Over the centuries this geological feature has brought trade and industry to the region. Recent initiatives to reduce pollution have brought sholes of fish back into the bay which in turn has attracted sea mammals (as well as making local fishermen happy). Only a decade ago if you wanted to go dolphin or whale watching you would have to travel an hour south to the Sétubal and the Sado estuary. Today Lisbon is the only European capital with wild dolphins and a boat trip on the Tejo to catch a glimpse of our wet friends has become an essential day out when visiting Lisbon.
Groups of dolphins enter the Tejo estuary when at high tide, hunt for shoals of mackerel and sardines, and eat their fill. Whilst waiting for the next high tide to return to the open ocean they like to play and socialise. The perfect time to observe these magnificent animals. A large number of tour companies have started up recently and it's our goal at www.madaboutlisbon.com to suggest the best. We aim to favour those tours where the marine animals are respected and not chased. When left to their own devices curious dolphins will investigate and swim along a non-threatening vessel. Although catching sight of dolphins or whales can not be guaranteed, beautiful perspectives of Lisbon are a certainty. It is thought there are nine species of marine mammals visiting Lisbon; Common Dolphin, Striped Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin, Killer Whales, Harbour porpoise, Minke Whale, Fin Whale and Humpback Whale.
Where the Arrábida Natural park meets the sea, one can find a series of unspoiled beaches, most of which have Blue Flag status. Often marketed as Portugal's Dream Coast or Costa Azul, this dramatic and beautiful coastline offers white sands, clear waters and stunning views. The Costa Azul south of Lisbon is becoming one of the most talked-about tourist regions in Portugal. The Costa Azul attracts visitors who not only seek a slower pace of life but also draws those searching for an authentic Portuguese experience.