Cape St Vincent, Salema, Portugal

It's no big secret that Portugal is one of Europe's top travel destinations. The landscapes, culture, food and history are an unmissable combination! If your travels do take you to Salema, try to take a day off from the beach in and visit the popular Cape St Vincent or Cabo de Sao Vicente, the most southwestern point of Europe, where not only the views will amaze you, but also the interesting history of the area as well.

 

Literally Standing on the Edge of Europe

Although bleak and barren, the sunsets here are simply spectacular, and it is here where uneasy Portuguese sailors would launch their boats into the unknown oceans beyond. The cape, called Promontorium Sanctum by the Romans, and admired all through history, even by the Phoenicians, is so named today, after a Spanish priest martyred by the Romans. The old fortifications were severely damaged by Sir Francis Drake in 1587, and then totally destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1755.

A Treat for Lighthouse Lovers

There’s a wind-battered red lighthouse at the far end of the cape which serves hundreds of sea-going ships which round the point on a daily basis, as well as the ruins of a former convent. The Museu dos Farois was opened here in 2010, and although small, is absolutely exceptional.

The importance of Sagres in Portugal’s naval history is showcased here, including the history of the lighthouse, as well as replicas of cartography dating back to the 16th century. As you reach the 4.5 km mark, you will come across what is left of Fortaleza do Beliche, which was built on the site of an older fortress in 1632. Fortaleza do Beliche was once converted into a charming hotel, but since the cliff it stands on is slowly crumbling away, it is extremely unsafe and is now sadly strictly off-limits to the public.

It may not be beach, sand, sun and sea, but this is definitely a trip worth fitting in to your Portuguese adventures!

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