Nature has given the Mira river a gift of enchantment, beuaty and authenticity. To go through it, is to emerge in a immense flow of history, culture and tradition. It used to be an important resource for trade in the area. Its fresh and tasty fish was a part or the local populations diet. Then and now, its shores are filled with wonderful rural landscape. Today, the river is more used with leisure activities.
It rises in the small moutain range of Serra do Caldeir„o, 470m above sea level, goes across the entire Municipality of Odemira and flows into the sea almost 90 miles away, in the charming village Vila Nova de Milfontes. Its main tributaries are the streams of Perna Seca, Luzianes, Torgal, Guilerme, Telhares and Macheira.
The Mira valley, between Odemira and the mouth of the river is integrated in the Southwest of Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park. Between the mouth of the river and the romantic town of Odemira, the river is navigable with small vessels.
The river banks are a natural habitat where you can find a great variety of fauna and flora it is the birth place for many species, namely molluscs, crustaceans and fish.
In these waters, we can find a great variety of fish, there are about 130 species identified, being the most abundant the toadfish, the flounder, breams and the sea bass. The more common species of nesting birds include the white stork, the sounding reeb warbler, the kingfisher, the grey heron and the moorhen.
Concerning mammals, the mongoose and the genet are some of the species that you can find in the river banks. The presence of otters stands out, that have the particularity of often being at sea. You can frequently observe reptiles near the river namely the mediterranean turtle and the gecko.
The vegetation varies according to the salinity: you find salt marsh plants, where the salinity is higher, then rushes areas, reed beds and wetlands as it diminishes. Closer to Odemira, the river is accompanied by riparian galleries, mainly composed of of willows, narrow-leafed ashes and poplars.
The Mira river is one of the few portuguese rivers that flows in the Southeast-Northwest direction.
The Mira river’s estuary is about 150meters at its widest point, its average depth 20 feet and maximum 40 feet.
long ago, it was designated as “The River Master of Salt Water”, because it was the largest in the region and the influence of its tides reached Odemira.
There used to be over 15 tide mills in the Mira river