The Western Algarve: a region of dramatic natural panorama, especially in the secluded and elongated town of Sagres, which is situated in the extreme South-Westerly tip of Europe. Comprising of towering sea-carved cliffs, vast golden beaches and wild Atlantic Ocean, Sagres was once thought to have marked the edge of the known world.
Less than 25 minutes drive from our Espiche townhouses and villa in Luz is the town of Sagres. Unlike the other fishing ports in the region, Sagres offers a rugged and scrubby headland marked by two structures; the Lighthouse at Cape St. Vincent and the Fortress at Sagres Point. Although many holidaymakers would be put off by Sagres' dishevelled appearance, the breath-taking location actually entices adventurers, divers and surfers in hordes. Drawn by surf schools, stunning views, warm waters and wide stretches of fine sandy bays, it's no wonder it is a sun and surf paradise, especially with the Atlantic wind keeping the summer months cool.
The western Algarve has gained a reputation as one of the best destinations to catch the gnarliest waves in Europe, with Sagres being the surfing capital, it nearly always has excellent surfing conditions all year round for both novice and experienced surfers. The swell can produce relatively gentle waves in the bays between Lagos and Sagres perfect for those who want to learn at their own pace or with a surf school, while the beaches north of Cabo de Sao Vicente, face the full brunt of the Atlantic current and can see swell sizes up to 5m, testing even the most experienced surfers. Around the end of October Praia do Amado hosts legs of the World Surfing Championships.
If you would rather recline and watch the surfers there are plenty of splendid beaches to choose from. To the east of the fortress three beaches offer a little more shelter, Praia da Mareta, is a golden stretch with a typical beach bar that serves the freshest grilled sardines, next to the fishing harbour is Praia da Baleeria. Finally on the outskirts of Sagres is Praia do Martinhal the largest and most popular beach in the region. To the northwest of the fortress is Paria do Beliche a surfing beach surrounded by orange cliffs as well as Praia do Telherio a wild and remote surfers beach with stunning views to the lighthouse at Cabo de Sao Vicente.
The barren landscape focuses the eye towards the grand fort at Sagres point - although at first glance you would not think twice of the historical importance of this desolate site. Fortaleza de Sagres was once home to Prince Henry the Navigator. During the Age of Discoveries (15th century) Henry brought together talented mariners, astronomers, ship-builders and cartographers to create his school of navigators where they learnt to build great ships, navigate the uncharted seas, improve seafaring, planned voyages to discover the unknown world (Brazil, China and India). Inside the fortress is a former 16th century monastery, a 14th century chapel, an impressive 39m-diameter wind compass, and spectacular views over the ocean, where previously Henry’s caravels with red crosses on their sails lined the horizon.
For a capital of discovery, Sagres is still mysterious, remote and undeveloped compared to other towns and villages in the western Algarve. Perfect for those who want a bit more of an active holiday and will give you a taste of the traditional Algarve, with cycling, walking, fishing, diving and surfing is all on offer here.
Northwest of the fort, is the headland, Cabo de Sao Vicente (Cape St. Vincent) named after the Saint after his body was taken there to protect it from the invading Moors. Cabo de Sao Vicente is still a place of pilgrimage. The lighthouse is considered to be one of the most powerful in Europe and guards one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The area is exposed to wind-lashed cliff tops, 200 ft above the swelling and frothing Ocean but the views from the point are simply breath taking.
There are lots of places to wine and dine or to just have simple snacks with fabulous views. Along the towns main street there are sunshades and enclosed patios where you can watch the world go with a refreshing ice-cold ‘Sagres’ beer in hand.