Cabo de São Vicente
Cape St Vincent, or Cabo de São Vicente as it’s know in Portuguese is probably my favourite place to see the sunset in the Algarve. So much so, that we’ve visted at sunset twice now – once on each trip and it just gets better and better each time. That, and there’s a lighthouse there, and we all know I love a good lighthouse!
As I was going through my pictures from the trip, I realised I took SO many of our evening here that it kind of just deserved it’s own little post. And I just love the place so much. It’s a heaven for campervans and surfers, and I literally can’t wait to head there in the van over Christmas and get to see this amazing view all over again!
Our first stop in the area was to Praia do Martinhal for some lunch, but being out of season, the restaurant was actually closed so we headed for a walk along the beach instead, watching a surfer catch some waves. I’d love to learn to surf one day, but the sea terrifies me!
Praia do Beliche
With there being so many beaches in the Algarve it’s hard to choose a favourite, but this is definitely one of mine, especially at sunset. Each time we’ve been during the winter, it’s been full of surfers heading down for a sunset surf. Now, it’s not one of the easier beaches to get down to, but there’s plenty of steps which lead the way down which get quite steep towards the bottom.
We sat here for a while watching the surfers wait for waves as the sun started to go down. There’s not much to do there as there’s nothing really nearby, but the views are amazing! During summer, there’s a beach bar/restaurant serving grilled food and cold drinks on the beach, but obviously it closes for the winter, like most places.
Cape St Vincent is the southwestern most point of mainland Portugal, also known as ‘the end of the earth’. Back in the day, people believed that as the sun went down over the sea, it went over the edge of the world. Located 6km north-west of Sagres, the cape is a landmark for ships sailing into the mediterranean sea from the atlantic ocean with the lighthouse guarding the way to one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
There’s been some kind of lighthouse on the cliffs since around 1520, but the one that stands today was constructed and put into operation in 1846 and was illuminated by an olive oil lamp shining 6 miles. It fell into ruin by 1865 and in 1897, remodelling begain to increase the height of the lighthouse by 5.7 meters. The lighthouse was finally automated in 1982.
It’s one of the most powerful lighthouses in Europe, with the light being able to be seen from up to 60 km (37 miles) away! We’ve never actually been there after dark, so we’ve not had the chance to see it in action yet!