Move over Speedy Gonzales

OK, so we don’t have any cheetahs in the Algarve (or in the rest of Portugal for that matter). Fair enough. But these Algarve animals are all way faster than that stupid mouse with its giant yellow sombrero. ¡Arriba, arriba! ¡Ándale, ándale!

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2017


Sea: sailfish

Swimming between 35-50km/h at its fastest, the dolphin is the Algarve’s most rapid marine mammal. Want to see them in the wild? Join one of the many dolphin watching boat trips or stare out over sea and hope it’s your lucky day; every once in a while they’re spotted from Portugal’s coast.

However, the sailfish (pictured) is quicker. Way quicker. With an impressing 109km/h, sailfish are considered the fastest marine creatures on this planet. This has also to do with their leaps out of the water, during which they move faster than they would in the sea. Sailfish are grey-blue, can reach a length of up to 3m, weigh up to 100 kilos and also swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

Picture below by Rich Gasparian


Land: lynx

With a top speed of 80km/h, the lynx probably wins lots of races on land. From the four types of lynx species, only the Iberian one (pictured) can be found in the Algarve. There aren’t many around though; lynxes are one of the most endangered cat species. They’re bred in captivity near Silves.

Another mention deserves the chameleon. Not the animal itself is quick, but its tongue is. While shooting out their tongue (which can be 1.5 times the length of their body) like a bullet, chameleons project a peak acceleration of up to 500 m s–². To put it differently: if a chameleon’s tongue was a car, it’d get from 0 to 97km/h in 1/100th of a second. Find them in the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve near Olhão or the pine woodland near Monte Gordo.

Picture below by


Air: peregrine falcon

The peregrine falcon (pictured) is the absolute record holder when it comes to speed. This fastest animal on the planet can reach more than 300km/h when in its hunting dive. The bird soars to a great height and dives steeply to catch its prey, smaller birds. In the Algarve, you’re most likely to find the peregrine falcon in the Ria do Alvor or the Sagres area.

When flying horizontally, the peregrine falcon reaches a leisurely cruising speed of up to 90km/h. In level flight, the common swift (which is also found in the Algarve) takes the top place with 111km/h.

Picture below by Juan Lacruz


See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2017

Posted in Features.