SPA Salino: float in a salt pool under the Portuguese sun
An outdoor wellness centre in the middle of a natural reserve. Doesn’t that just sound amazing? It’s reality in the eastern Algarve! SPA Salino is a terrific place to unwind. Just float around a bit in the salt pans and let the air, sun, water and minerals do it’s work. Heaven on earth!
Reserva Natural do Sapal
The nature reserve Sapal is an area of lakes, marshland, creeks and canals around the town of Castro Marim. Around one third of the reserve is occupied by salt pans. For hundreds of years, the people of Castro Marim have been producing high quality flor de sal (sea salt) here.
Some of the salt pans are now used as a wellness centre called SPA Salino. That means that you can float on the warm and salty water in the marshes. The combination of the minerals in the water and the soothing nature surrounding you, helps your body and energy to rebalance. There are sun beds where you can relax in between your floating sessions.
If you want to get the full experience, you can start your treatment with the application of salt mud on your face. Leave it to dry for about an hour or two and you will enjoy a soft and pretty skin afterwards. Your head will remain above water thanks to the head pillow you can take with you in the baths.
My own experience
I visited the SPA Salino in May. I must say I am no fan of health centres at all, because I am terribly restless. But in an attempt to relax for once, I tried the full package in this spa. I do love warm water, so that was a big plus. And I loved putting the mud on my face! And then there were the birds… While I was floating around, I saw so many of my feathered friends. That was just amazing.
To be honest, there were two things I was loving so much. I cut my foot on the rocky bottom while attempting to get out of the pool (how typical). So consider that a warning…. And it was a tiny bit too cold for me on the sun beds. Make sure you pick a nice, warm day for your visit.
- You can just turn up at the spa to use the salt baths. If you want extras like a yoga class, a meditation class or therapeutic massages, you will have to book in advance.
- Bring swimwear and a towel. There’s a shower and dressing room for you to use after your treatment.
- There’s a small bar with a terrace where you can have a drink or snack.
The company running SPA Salino is called Água-Mãe. Besides the spa they also offer guided tours of the salt pans, explaining all about the way they extract the salt using artisanal processes. This is also something you will need to book in advance.
You can find SPA Salino just outside of Castro Marim. That’s a pretty town in the eastern Algarve, which is well worth a visit of it’s own. The easiest way to find the spa is to use Google Maps. It’s on the Estrada Nacional 122, on which you will have to take a sandy road to get to a blue-and-white building. SPA Salino is hidden at the back of this building.