Places not to be missed during your stay in the Algarve
Sagres, the place where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet, was a port for fishermen and traders from all over the world, but also an area ravaged by corsairs. The imposing fortification of Sagres is the human extension of the natural rock and was for centuries the main fighting post of a geostrategic maritime defence system. The Portuguese policy of expansion in the 15th and 16th centuries led to the foundation of Vila do Infante. As part of the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina Natural Park, the Sagres Promontory has an interesting biodiversity of fauna and flora and unique endemisms that all visitors can observe. Sagres, a place of memory where nature, the sacred and man have always combined in a symbiotic way, generating religious cults and historical, political and touristic myths, is worth a visit!
Walking through the Algarve, we reach the tip of Europe. A few kilometres after Lagos, we enter the protected area of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, and another Algarve away from the hustle and bustle of the better known tourist areas. Here, on the edge of Europe, you can breathe the fresh air of the Atlantic. Sagres is the last settlement in mainland Europe, a small town with a hippy, surfer and nature-loving vibe. A place that still has few sophisticated services, that reconciles us with the simple things in life and that is full of wonderful images to keep in our memories. If your route takes you to Sagres, you will know that its history is closely linked to the epic Portuguese discoveries, as it was here that the great navigators who “gave new worlds to the world” were trained in the 16th century, more specifically at the navigation school in Fortaleza, which can still be visited today. You can also visit some villages with interesting baroque churches such as Vila do Bispo, Raposeira or Guadalupe. There are also wonderful beaches, a paradise for surfers and nature lovers, hidden among impressive cliffs: Zavial, Burgau, Beliche, Tonel, Castelejo and Cordoama. And Cape St. Vincent, whose lighthouse still guides all ships leaving Europe to cross the Atlantic. Every day one of the most marvellous spectacles we can witness takes place: the sunset over the Atlantic. Goodbye to light. An experience we highly recommend. This little corner has a beautiful unspoilt landscape, windswept and sun-drenched, a rugged coastline overlooking a rough sea within easy reach.
In the harbour of Baleeira you can see the boats returning from work and the sale of fish at Docapesca.
It is the first beach on the south coast, which juts out into the wide bay that rises to the east of Cape San Vicente, protecting it from the prevailing winds and waves. Located in the town of Sagres, Mareta is a popular urban beach, popular for quiet swimming and a good starting point for canoeing or diving in the cove’s underwater caves. The 800-metre long beach is framed by limestone cliffs that rise up at the end of the beach, with the straight line of Cape San Vicente marking the landscape. These rock formations have huge caves and limestone platforms colonised by colourful plants such as the maritime pampillo. Walking eastwards, the beach becomes quieter.
Although less protected than Beliche, this beach is still part of the inlet bounded by Sagres Point and Cape St. Vincent. From the beach you can see the straight line of cliffs at the tip of Sagres and the Sagres Fortress, a 16th century building with a 14th century chapel inside which is said to have housed the tomb of St. Vincent. Cape St. Vincent and its lighthouse can also be seen at the opposite end of the inlet. Pedestrian access to the beach is via a wide ramp carved out of the warm-coloured cliff, where you can see very marked gullies, sculpted by the flow of rainwater. The beach stretches to the south; you can see the outline of the limestone cliff and the vegetation that colonises it, such as sea fennel and sea orache, plants that are resistant to salinity.
Beliche Beach is a guarded beach in the municipality of Vila do Bispo, near Cabo de St. Vincent and Tonel Beach. It is a sandy beach at the bottom of a small bay cut into the cliff, and is very popular with surfers. It is a very quiet beach.