Located 5 km from Sagres, Cabo de São Vicente represents the most southwesterly point of the Algarve. Although it is not the westernmost point of Continental Europe, it has always been the very last piece of land seen by sailors from the South of Portugal before going into the ocean.
Cabo de São Vicente, known since the times of the Phoenicians and the Romans, owns its name to St. Vicente, a Spanish priest whose bones were found in the cliffs.
The old fortifications ordered by the Spanish missionary Francisco Xavier in the XVI century were devastated during the earthquake of 1755. Today there is a lighthouse on the extreme tip of the Cape; it was built by order or Queen Mary II and it began to be operational in 1846.
The lighthouse was abandoned for a few years, until it was restored in order to be enlarged and to work again.
Cabo de São Vicente is characterized by a very beautiful and wild landscape. If you want to admire its beauty you should visit it in time for the sunset, when the sun hides behind the waters of the Ocean.
The cliffs around the cape overlook the Atlantic Ocean, reaching up a hight of 75 meters.
Several groups of birds fly around and nest among the cliffs. Some of these birds are very rare, making Cabo de Sao Vicente the perfect destination for birdwatching lovers.
The lighthouse, standing on the cliff and shining its deep red color, is home to the small yet well curated Museo dos Faròis, which is also a visitor’s center. The museum shows the role played by the city of Sagres in the Portuguese maritime history. Both the museum and the center are open to the public every Wednesday afternoon.
The lighthouse is 24 meters high, it was constructed on the old ruins of a Franciscan monastery. Today it still guards one of the world’s most important ports.
About one kilometer before the lighthouse there is the Fortaleza do Beliche, built in 1632 on the ruins of an old fortress. The interior, which used to house a hotel, today is closed to the public.
It is possible to go down a small path to get close to the sea. It is the ideal place to enjoy a picnic while staying away from the strong wind that never stops blowing in the area!
Whether you are coming from Sagres or Lagos, the fastest and easiest way to reach Cabo de Sao Vicente is by renting a car. There is also a bus operated by Eva, a bus line that connects Cabo de Sao Vicente to Sagres and Lagos. The service is available from Monday to Friday at specific times.