the location



   natural park

   amoreira valley


   to the centre


travel policy

"Portugal rocks"
BSc Student, Newcastle


CERES Project location Aljezur, Algarve, Southwest Portugal


Aljezur, southwest Portugal

The CERES International Project is based at the south-western tip of the Iberian Peninsula, near Aljezur in the Algarve. From barrier island systems, lagoons and mountain ranges with rivers and water falls and traditional towns in the hinterland, to ancient remains left behind from Neolithic, Roman and Moorish periods, the Algarve has much more to offer than the sun and sea holidays it is most famous for. The Algarve has two coast lines; south and west facing, that differ in climate and infrastructure.

 37° 19´ 08´´ N
8° 48´ 49´´ W

the climate

The Algarve arguably enjoys the best climate in Europe, with only short periods of rainfall and the longest hours of sunshine.  During the winter months, the average temperature in the Algarve is 15°C with an average of 8 hours sunshine per day.  The west coast rarely gets too hot during the summer thanks to a constant thermal sea breeze that sets in at lunch time.

Weather forecast for our local beach at Monte Clerigo - for historic data please click on archive

natural park

The most striking feature of the western Algarve is the diversity of its landscape and habitats.  The richness and beauty of the location, away from the busy tourist beaches in the south, invites experiential learning focused on conservation and the environment, as well as being a resource for sustainable recreation and low impact tourism.

CERES is situated within the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, the largest stretch of the Portuguese coastline that is subject to special protection. The Natural Park is the least urbanised coastal area of Portugal and covers over 74,000 hectares of rolling hills, marshland, imposing cliffs, rocky coves and broad beaches.  The park itself, classified in the Natura 2000 Network and IBA (Important Bird Area), offers opportunities for work experience and research in protected areas and land management.

the Amoreira valley

Our purpose built Field Centre will be located in the peace, quiet and tranquility of a secluded meander of the Amoreira valley near Aljezur. We recently had planning approval to revive an abandoned smallholding surrounded by cork oak trees.  The closest beach (without doubt one of the most beautiful in Europe) is just down the river that abuts the Centre property.  At high tide, you can take one of our kayaks to drift down the river to visit the beach or borrow one of our bikes to cycle down for a swim.  Aljezur, a traditional Portuguese white village with a famous castle, is within 15 minutes walking distance of the Centre. The village provides shops, markets, butchers, a health food shop and a good variety of cafes and excellent restaurants.

Odeceixe meander bent
Monte Clerigo beach

Stork's nest on cliff top

how to get to us

to Portugal:   The mainland of Portugal is well-linked with other European countries.  Most of our visitors take advantage of the cheap flights going to Faro.  Other airports in easy driving distance are Lisbon and Seville. 

As taking sports luggage gets increasingly expensive, we would suggest borrowing one of our bikes or surfboards free of charge if you only want to try it once or twice.  If you are more serious about biking or surfing, we can get you in touch with our local partners that have all the right equipment. 

It is possible (of course!) to take a train (check or for times and prices) or travel by coach.  Brittany Ferries operates a service from Plymouth to Santander.  P&O travels from Southampton to Bilbao.  If you are lucky you will see fin whales (Balaeno pteraphysalus) and dolphins during the crossing.

to the Centre:    There are many ways to get to us from Faro or Lisbon.  For groups, it will be easier if we pick you up from the airport or train station with two minivans.  We will soon (hopefully!) have electric cars powered by energy from our own solar panels to pick you up in style (sponsors welcome!).

Portugal has a modern, reliable, and punctual public transport system.  Taking the bus from Lisbon to our doorsteps in Aljezur, is about 3.5h and is much less hassle, and far more enjoyable, than driving yourself.  The journey takes you through the cork forests of the Alentejo and costs €18 (  If you arrive in Faro, there are trains leaving every 1:30h to Lagos.  The journey takes about 1:40h and costs less than €6.  For a timetable check  From Lagos, a bus goes twice a day to Aljezur but we are also happy to pick you up.

View Larger Map Google map of south-west Portugal indicating the location of CERES.  Klick on link for directions.

exploring when you are here
:   You normally would not need a rental car during your stay with us.  The town and two of the best beaches are in easy cycle distance from the Centre.  In case you need to carry field equipment or if you are not good on foot, rental cars are plentiful and inexpensive in the Algarve. We highly recommend Luz Car ( - a local company known for their hassle free service.

responsible travel policy

We are well aware that visiting us usually involves international travel for the majority of students and researchers. CERES recognises the impact of air travel on the environment, and is concerned about its contribution to climate change. To help offset the emissions from flights, we have set up forest restoration projects at our terrestrial reserve. The cost involved in offsetting is automatically included in our prices.

We hope that during your time with CERES, you will experience how to significantly reduce your environmental impact whilst, at the same time, improving your quality of life. We believe that implementing good practice in environmental impact reduction will not only reduce the carbon impact during your stay but also inspire you to try some ideas back home and spread the word. We welcome creative ideas submitted by staff, suppliers and course participants. 

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