When setting up your home in the West Algarve, it is easy to forget the area has been the base for communities for millions of years. Salema Beach, just 10 minutes from Reserva da Luz, is not only a haven for sun, sea, and leisure; it’s a portal to a distant geological history that unfolds in the form of remarkable paleontological features. Here, amid the golden sands and gentle waves, visitors can connect with an awe-inspiring chapter of our planet’s past—the dinosaur footprints etched into the limestone slabs approximately 125 million years ago.

At the base of the access stairway to the western end of Salema Beach lies a geological treasure—a trail of footprints left behind by a large bipedal ornithopod herbivore. These footprints, frozen in time on a limestone slab, tell a vivid story of a time when dinosaurs roamed the very ground we walk on today. The ornithopod tracks are characterized by three short, wide toes that gracefully conclude in a rounded shape, creating an almost symmetrical impression on the rock.

What makes these ornithopod footprints particularly fascinating is their size and the information they offer about the ancient creatures that produced them. These tracks are not merely imprints; they are windows into the morphology of dinosaur feet and hands, shedding light on their locomotion and other aspects of their biology. The footprints, each almost as wide as they are long, create a tangible connection between the present and the Mesozoic era.

For those exploring Salema Beach, a journey to the western end unveils not only breathtaking vistas but also a living museum of prehistoric wonders. Guided by the rhythm of the waves and the whispers of the wind, visitors can observe and contemplate the footprints of giants, immersing themselves in the fascinating world of West Algarve’s paleontological legacy. As the tide retreats, revealing these ancient imprints, Salema Beach beckons us to walk alongside the dinosaurs and marvel at the intricacies of their long-lost existence.