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Nature Portugal

Mafra, Biosphere Destination

Mafra Destino da Biosfera - Biosphere Destination

This is one of those articles that gives me pleasure to write. Not only because I’m talking about a destination considered to be sustainable, but because this is the area I chose to call “home”.

Mafra, a Portuguese municipality located about 50 km from Lisbon, is a “Biosphere Destination”, a title granted by the Responsible Tourism Institute.

To be considered such, destinations have to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the UN – United Nations Organization in their tourism policies.

But what does being a “Biosphere Destination” mean to Mafra?

Over the years, Mafra has stood out as a Portuguese tourist destination. This is to attract so-called “sustainable tourism,” create conditions for this, and favor the preservation of the environment.

According to the local municipality, some steps are to be taken immediately, such as enlarging the urban cycling and walking paths network, creating a municipal environmental protection network, developing a Tourism Observatory, and creating a Manifesto for Sustainable Tourism.

Mafra, a unique destination

If you think you don’t know Mafra or have never heard of such a place… think twice. This county in Portugal has a World Heritage monument and includes a World Surfing Reserve!

Here’s an idea of some unmissable places you can visit here:

Mafra National Palace

Palácio Nacional de Mafra - National Palace of Mafra

It is the region’s ex-libris. Of course, I’m talking about the National Palace of Mafra, a monument considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2019.

Built in the 18th century, this monumental palace convent holds unique rooms and galleries and is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

Learn about the National Palace of Mafra inside and out in this article:

Tapada Nacional de Mafra

Tapada Nacional de Mafra

Next to the palace is the amazing Tapada Nacional de Mafra, a royal forest created in 1747 by King D. João V. 

In addition to serving as the palace’s natural surroundings, this space was also used for the royal court’s recreation, as the famous royal hunts took place there. Today, it can be appreciated on foot or by bicycle, and it is possible to see deer and even wild boars.

Iberian Wolf Recovery Center

Centro de Recuperação do Lobo Ibérico -  Iberian Wolf Recovery Center

Side by side with Tapada Nacional de Mafra is the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center grounds. As the name indicates, this natural space is home to several Iberian wolves. Many of them recovered from illegal captivity, trapping, or coming from parks or zoos that have closed their doors.

Unable to return to their wild state, these wolves find their natural refuge here. This place can be visited on foot, and some inhabitants may be glimpsed. However, keep in mind that they are in captivity for their protection.

This is also the ideal place to learn more about the history of this characteristic species of the Iberian Peninsula.

Ericeira, World Surfing Reserve

Foz do Lizandro, Ericeira, Mafra
Photo by Alex Paganelli on Unsplash

And, of course, I couldn’t forget my Ericeira, since this is my home!

Not only is Ericeira a very picturesque fishing village, but its coastline has been a World Surfing Reserve since 2011. At the time, the first in Europe and the second in the world!

The reserve covers the territory from Empa Beach to São Lourenço Beach, encompassing seven world-class waves.

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Mafra was considered a Biosphere Destination. Learn more about this Portuguese municipality and some main places you can visit there.


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Marlene On The Move

Marlene Marques

Marlene is the creator of Marlene On The Move. A journalist by profession, she created the blog to share her adventures around the world. It is not unusual for her to set off to discover new countries and cultures with a surfboard as luggage.



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