Animal, vegetable and mineral

three-banded armadillo

Algarve is opening up and readying itself for visitors with so much to enjoy, safely. 

Whether it is fun for all the family, a way to soak up the culture and pick up a bargain or just to learn more about the country, there will be plenty to appreciate.


Zoomarine has just welcomed three new residents; a pair of green aracari toucans and a three-banded armadillo.

Aracaris are known to be the smallest of toucans and will be living in the theme park’s “America” walkthrough habitat. You will also meet Seb there, the southern two-toed sloth who arrived last year from Hong Kong.

Poco Louco, the three-banded armadillo which is curiously a distant relative of the sloth, belongs to one of two species of armadillos that roll into a ball when they feel threatened. Something that Zoomarine believe won’t occur too often.

The park was the first in Portugal to have a marine rehabilitation centre which has been able, since 2002, to reintroduce animals into the wild after their rehabilitation.

Further west, Zoo Lagos is also playing its part in animal welfare. Last year a pygmy hippopotamus was born at the zoo. The pigmy hippopotamus is a species that falls under the European Endangered Species Programme. 

Zoo Lagos offers a great day out with the opportunity to see penguins, meerkats, bats plus mischievous monkeys and much more.

There is a café within the grounds where you can enjoy a drink or a light meal with a restaurant next door to the zoo, serving typical Portuguese dishes together with an international menu.

Vegetable (etc)

All the local markets, whether they are municipal or farmers, are well worth a visit.

You will find there are daily, weekly and monthly markets across the region offering produce from allotments, the catch of the day and local handicrafts.

Lagos holds an excellent weekly farmers’ market on Saturday mornings as does Olhão. Tripadvisor offers some suggestions here.

The second Monday of the month, between 8am and 1pm, Algoz holds a flea market where items made of wicker, wood and ceramics can be bought along with much more.

Portimão and Lagos municipal markets are great to visit. Apart from the usual fresh vegetables, fish and flowers, local gastronomic delicacies can also be bought.

Most towns have markets so best to check locally to find out where they are and what are the opening days and times.


Minerals such as pyrite and coal to metals such as copper and gold are all mined in Portugal. 

Algarve currently only has one working mine, for rock salt.

The mine is in Loulé and offers two hour tours, prebooked, with guides speaking English, French and of course Portuguese. 

The rock salt is mainly sold abroad for use use in road safety and animal fodder, to read more about the history of the mine click here.

If you are interested in visiting the mine visit Campina de Cima’s website for more information.

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