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. The idea is to do so to attract the so-called “sustainable tourism”, creating conditions for this and favoring the preservation of the environment.
According to the local municipality, some steps are to be taken right away. Such as the enlargement of the urban cycling and walking paths network, creating a municipal environmental protection network, developing a Tourism Observatory, and creating a Manifesto for Sustainable Tourism.
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
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 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
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 natural surroundings for the palace, this space was also used for the royal court’s recreation, as the famous royal hunts took place there. As a result, today it can be appreciated on foot or by bicycle, and it is possible to see deers and even wild boars.
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
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.