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Ria Formosa Natural Park
One of the seven wonders of Portugal. Founded in 1987, in an extension of 60 km by the Algarve coast, between the Ancão (municipality of Loulé) and Manta Rota (municipality of Vila Real de Santo António), occupies a surface of about 18,400 hectares, covering parts of the municipalities of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Sto António.
Much of the area corresponds to the Ria Formosa lagoon system, a chain of islands and sandy peninsules parallel to the coast, protecting a lagoon that forms a labyrinth of marshes, channels, vasa zone and islets. This cordon is constituted mainly by the Peninsula of the Ancão (that includes the incorrectly called "island of Faro "), the islands of Barreta, Deserta, Farol-Culatra (where the lighthouse of Sta Maria and the fishing village of Culatra, opposite Olhão), islands of Armona-Fuseta, Tavira, Cabins and finally Cacela Peninsula.
The Ria Formosa Natural Park is characterized by the presence of a sandy dune cord coast (beaches and dunes) that protects a lagoon area. A part of the lagoon system is permanently submerged, while a significant percentage emerges during low tide. The average depth of the lagoon is 2 m.