A new coastal boardwalk linking Praia do Garrão to Quinta do Lago (Ludo) in the heart of Ria Formosa was officially inaugurated by the environmental minister on Friday (May 7).
The 4.8km boardwalk in the Loulé borough was brought to life as part of a €3.7 million project which also involved the construction of a new 427-space car park in Ancão, with an additional 16 spaces for people with reduced mobility and four spaces for motorbikes.
The plan is to extend the boardwalk to Quarteira and make it possible to walk or cycle from the Vilamoura Marina all the way to the external perimeter of Faro Airport.
“This is our dream, and we will certainly fulfil it,” said Loulé Mayor Vítor Aleixo.
Boasting six rest areas, the boardwalk was erected over the dunes and aims to provide locals and holidaymakers with a stunning natural environment to explore, the local council said.
The works also involved the removal of invasive plants, the plantation of pine trees and the construction of sand fences to protect the dunes.
“Since it was created, the boardwalk has attracted many visitors, especially at the weekend, becoming an important space for leisure and sports activities, whilst also allowing people to discover the existing fauna and flora of this protected area,” the council said.
Meanwhile, the environment minister, João Matos Fernandes, highlighted that Loulé is a borough that recognises the importance of having “such magnificent areas like these”.
While the project was brought to life via the government’s Polis programme, the boardwalk’s management will soon be transferred to the local council.
“We will manage it with care because we have an extremely important asset here for our tourism activity,” said the local mayor.
On the same day the boardwalk was inaugurated, a protocol was signed between the Institute of Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF) and the Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL), which will grant the councils of Castro Marim, Faro, Loulé, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António co-management rights over the Ria Formosa Natural Park and Castro Marim and VRSA Sapal Nature Reserve.
In a nutshell, this means the councils will now have a say in what decisions are made in these protected areas.