It is the westernmost point of Portugal and Europe. Cabo da Roca is also nature in its purest state, between the rebellious sea and the breath of wind.
Located in the parish of Colares, between Lisbon and the Serra de Sinta, Cabo da Roca is all about poetry. It tells the story of a Portugal of discoveries and the sea, a Portugal sung by Camões: “Here…where the land ends…and the sea begins…”. In fact, from here you can see almost everything, here you have the world at your feet.
History dictates that in the 16th century there was a fort in Cabo da Roca that was of great importance in guarding and defending the capital of the kingdom, especially during the Peninsular Wars. However, nowadays, little remains of these vestiges.
Even so, in addition to the immensity of the sea, visiting Cabo da Roca is to see up close one of the first lighthouses built in our country, dating from 1758, starting to function in 1772. This lighthouse was the eye that guided our, very experienced, navigators along the tumultuous coast.
Cabo da Roca is undoubtedly an obligatory stop on a route through the region – a few minutes in communion with nature will do the whole family good. You can visit it in the early afternoon after a walk through the Serra de Sintra, or save the visit for the end of the day – sunset, once the sky is clear, is a moment of unique beauty.
The legend of Cabo da Roca
As there is no consensus that this legend refers exactly to this place, the people say that a mother noticed that her son was missing and that she could not find him anywhere. One day, some shepherds heard a boy crying, finding him at the foot of a cliff. Everyone quickly helped and the boy returned to his mother’s arms, looking healthy, as if nothing had happened.
When questioned about this feat, the boy reports that “some women who were flying had come to pick him up and threw him down the gorge from the air”, but there was a lady who gave him a soup of cloves from the mountains every day. It was then decided to hold a mass of thanks to this lady. And it was when he entered the church that the boy recognized who gave him food: the Virgin Mary.
Azenhas do Mar postcard
Azenhas do Mar is a small picturesque whitewashed village perched on a cliff, just over 12 kilometers from Cabo da Roca. Worth a visit on the way. The views from the top are unobstructed and agitated, either by the force of the sea or the intensity of the wind, and a dip in the village’s ex-libris – ocean pool is a must.
Take the opportunity, before heading off to discover the mountains, to eat the best fish on the coast at the restaurants A Adega das Azenhas or Restaurante Azenhas do Mar.
Cabo da Roca: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park
Include a visit to Cabo da Roca on a getaway to Sintra-Cascais Natural Park?? If Cabo is poetry, Sintra is prose, but refined.
The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park was created in 1994 and is a very important point both for its biodiversity and for the history it contains. There are 14 thousand hectares of nature in its purest state, with a great diversity of fauna and flora, and therefore the ideal place for families who love nature.
There are several routes where you can enjoy the best that nature has to offer. There are more than 200 species that inhabit this space, both in the forest areas and in the coastal area of the cliffs.
In addition to this animal diversity, the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is also a true open-air museum, conducive to stories imagined by the most creative minds. Here you can find the classics like the Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle, the National Palace of Sintra, the Forte da Roca or the Palace of Monserrate. Places that attract thousands of tourists for their beauty, history and legends.
Or visit more secluded points of interest, but of equal importance, such as the Chapel of S. Mamede de Janas, the Set of Medieval Silos in Colares or the prehistoric monument at Praia da Maças. Speaking of beaches, Praia Grande or Praia do Guincho are part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and are true jewels in the Portuguese crown.
Necklaces and their wines
In addition to all the natural exuberance, a getaway to this region deserves a visit to the interior of the mountains. Colares is a historic village nestled between the sea and the mountains, with a center rich in architectural heritage – from churches to manor houses. Also a mandatory visit to Várzea de Colares and the Regional Winery, the oldest in the country. In fact, visiting Colares is tasting the local wines – with strongly maritime notes due to the sandy soils where the vines are planted.
Cabo da Roca is thus an excellent starting point for exploring one of the richest areas of the country. A moment with the family or as a couple, in perfect harmony with Nature, in its purest state.