To the ends of the Earth! We roamed all over southern Portugal during our getaway to the Algarve; and Sagres – at the end of Europe, more or less – was one of the beautiful places we stopped to check out some scenery and watch the world go by.
Sagres really is at the end of Europe, and was only about a 30-minute drive from our apartment in Lagos.
Even though Portugal is a relatively small country, it will never cease to amaze me at how quick it can be to get from one point to another.
While we’d never been here before, our friends in Seville often come here – as do thousands from all over – to surf at some of the best beaches in Europe. The town itself is pretty small with a population of around 2,000, but people flock here for the waves and sand, especially in the summertime. Our visit was before the crowds rushed in, so we got to share this idyllic place with just a handful of folks.
Before the beach, though, we had to get some food. Our good friends, Paul and Anja, pointed us to a local joint quite a bit away from the shoreline, where locals and in-the-know tourists go for fresh and delicious seafood.
Retiro do Pescador, as it’s called, treated us to piles of rice and mixed sea creatures, and we sat outside in the sun enjoying the goodness for a couple of hours.
After a coffee and a cake, we made our way down to the beach, fighting off some pretty high winds at the top of the cliffs.
Once we wound our way down from town to the beach below, everything was much calmer and we had a stroll along the strand, admiring the soft sand, clear water, and scenic cliff sides.
Even though it wasn’t high season, it was warm enough for the beach café to be open and busy, and we caught a table outside to sit and enjoy our surroundings. With coffee, naturally.
Done with being lazy for a bit, we headed back up to the top of town and made our way over to the Fortaleza de Sagres.
First constructed in the mid-15th century and fortified in the 16th century, this fort has overlooked the end of Europe for over 500 years.
It’s now a tourist destination and historical point, and its outside grounds provide sweeping views of the beaches of Sagres as well as Cape St. Vincent.
Also, plenty of opportunity to watch surfers do their thing.
We didn’t go inside, instead choosing to just walk around at the top of the end of the world.
I can only imagine what it must have been like to guard this place back in the day, what with all the crazy fighting and colliding armadas out there.
Daydreaming over, we hopped in our car and made our way to Cape St. Vincent, er, Cabo de São Vicente.
The lighthouse here has watched over sailors and seafarers since the mid-19th century, but has been a hallowed ground in various iterations since Neolithic times. That is, its history is crazy long and certainly storied.
We stood here for a while, simply watching the waves crash into the base of the cliffs below.
It’s quite mesmerizing, so you sort of need someone to snap you out of it.
Not to worry, considering how many people are taking pictures of themselves in front of such scenery.
At the end of a full morning and afternoon of drooling at so much beauty, we hopped in the car and headed out. While we do not surf, we can still recommend Sagres and its coastal buddies to anyone who comes to the Algarve.
Its prettiness is staggering, and it’s really easy to get sucked into just sitting around and staring at the live landscape paintings before your eyes, beach weather or not.
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Have you ever been to Sagres, or the Algarve in general? If so, what’d you think? If not, what say ye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!