Breathe in the fresh, salty-ish air directly from the ocean. Enjoy hiking around the nature reserve close to Aveiro. São Jacinto is one of the parishes in Aveiro district, also known as freguesia*. It's maybe one of the smallest and one of the poorest but on the other hand one of the most interesting. Let's why this place should be part of your Northern Portugal itinerary. *Freguesia (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˌfɾɛɣɨˈzi.ɐ]), usually translated as "parish" or "civil parish", is the third-level administrative subdivision of Portugal, as defined by the 1976 Constitution)
Located between Ria de Aveiro and the Atlantic ocean, São Jacinto is actually a peninsula-like parish with a population less than 1.000 people. São Jacinto's inhabited neighborhood is Bairro dos Pescadores - a fishermen neighborhood and its leaning to Ria de Aveiro where a lot of fisherman live on their boats. São Jacinto parish is easily approachable from Aveiro side by a ferryboat that runs frequently. The ride is not expensive (prices from 2017) and it takes 10-15 minutes. Good thing is that you can get aboard with your bicycle or car. The road N327 will take you to São Jacinto from the north - if you are coming from Porto or Ovar.
The forest in São Jacinto has dense forest which is a home for many bird species. There are 4 paths that you can choose (red, yellow, green and blue) and on the entrance to the forest, a kind guide will explain how each one looks like and give you a map. You just need to follow the triangle in the color you chose. Forest path is extraordinary and the silence is enjoyable. To prevent people disturbing birds in their natural habitat there are wooden tables asking you to be quiet. Still, while walking through the forest you will be able to hear birds singing and sound of the waves on the ocean.
Additionally, between the forest and the ocean, there is the wooden path that will take you straight to the beach.
The beach is gorgeous and covered with white sand. Here you will see and feel the power of nature, the power of the ocean. Ocean waves are big so swimming is not allowed. On this beach, you can enjoy the silence disturbed by the sounds of the waves.
The beach is full of small and big dunes that are officially protected by the law (São Jacinto dunes are part of the protected area of Aveiro Lagoon). Dunes are also home for herons - and if you are lucky enough you will see some of them in the forest or on the dunes.
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