Portugal’s southwest coast could soon be classified as a ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO.
The bid is being presented by the four municipalities in the Algarve and Alentejo that make up the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vincentina Natural Rserve – Sines, Odemira, Aljezur and Vila do Bispo.
“The southwest coast has unparalleled natural and geological value and is recognised worldwide for its unique biodiversity, conservation level and the beauty of its landscape,” said Odemira council, the main promoter of the initiative.
The council added that the UNESCO seal would help “protect the coast”, lowering the risks of losing any of its assets.
Portugal’s southwest coast has been on UNESCO’s waiting list since 2004.
The area to be classified includes the stretch of coast between São Torpes (Sines) and Burgau (Vila do Bispo), extending out into the open sea for 2km.
If the bid is successful, Portugal will boast its third UNESCO distinction in three years.
In 2013, the Mediterranean Diet was considered World Intangible Heritage in a bid supported by Tavira council.
A year later, a traditional form of music from the Alentejo known as ‘Cante Alentejano’ was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
In 2011, an important UNESCO distinction saw the Portuguese music genre Fado being voted Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.