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Sagres/Cabo de São Vincente

See & feel the raw beauty of the Algarve countryside by venturing west of Lagos through rolling hills to Sagres and Cabo de São Vicente. We never tire of bringing our guests to these areas because of the wide-open views and endless stretches of cliff-bound coastline. If you decide you only want to leave Lagos once, then this is the excursion you really must take!

Make your first stop at Cabo de São Vicente and take a walk into the lighthouse courtyard where your senses will be tested with the serenity and remoteness of the cliffs mixed with the fierce power of the thundering waves. This lighthouse stands at the southwestern tip of Europe and hugs the very edges of the cliffs. There are rumours that more than 10 nuclear submarines pass by this corner en route to and from the Mediterranean sea each day! If you see one, let us know!

As you feel yourself surrounded by this massive expanse of cliffs, take a few minutes to gaze down the jagged coastline and out to the ocean and reflect on "life for awhile". You will notice some daring local fishermen, perched on the treacherous narrow cliff platforms that tower above the roaring waves, awaiting their catch. It makes me wonder how they ever got to these precarious spots.

If you can manage to pull yourself away from this beautiful, extremely windy (bring a windbreaker) corner of the world, hop back in your vehicle and drive back towards the town of Sagres. Before you get to Sagres, stop along the way at Beliche beach and the old fort, on the right. Fortaleza de Beliche is an old fortress offering spectacular views, and Beliche also has a great tiny sheltered beach.

The dirt path to the right of the fortress entrance is graced with lush vegetation and delicate tiny vibrant shocks of seasonal flowers. The path is narrow, rocky and quite slippery as you decline towards sea level, so be careful not to venture to far down. Both of these sights offer a great photo opportunity and are worth the stop.

You should be hungry by now, so head back to Sagres for lunch. On the main street in Sagres you will find the"Dromedario" restaurant. Just look for the "cool camel" on the sign on the left side of the road. This restaurant became our absolute favourite, many years ago, for its charming Moorish decor and awesome selection of food. A nice variety of Pizzas are served along with salads, sandwiches and crepes. Something for every palate. On our last visit we enjoyed the Pizza, Sandes de Frango (chicken sandwich), Vegetable Crepe, Chocolate Crepe (save room for this) and a bottle of Vinho Verde (traditional Portuguese wine). You really should try a Batido", a milkshake with fresh fruit - one of their specialties! We met the owner on one occasion. We found him working and mingling with his clientele on Christmas Eve. He takes great pride in his restaurant and he continues to make creative improvements to this little eatery.

Take a stroll down to the marina, just across the main street and down the hill from the restaurant. It is a great way to digest your meal while enjoying the sites and observing the variety of activities on the go. One afternoon, a crew busily attended to their boat building project, while in the distance windsurfers took advantage of the strong Sagres winds.

It's now time to head back to Lagos, and to stop in at the many road side pottery dens. They are some of the best you will find. One of our favourites is in Raposeira, "Hiperceramica Paraiso". It offers a great selection of ceramics, linens, cork items and a variety of other traditional handicrafts at competitive prices. This large shop is on the right side of the road as you head towards Lagos. On every visit, I continue to be intrigued with the parking lot gravel with is made up of colourful crushed ceramics.

: From Lagos, hop onto the EN125 heading west, along the Western Algarve coast. Follow this road until you get to Vila do Bispo (and by the way, fight the urge to stop at the numerous pottery dens - stop on your way back, after you've been to Sagres or else you'll never get there!!). At Vila do Bispo, you'll see signs for route 268 to Sagres - follow this road and drive through the little town of Sagres noting the signs to Cabo de São Vicente.

Driving time from Lagos: 40 min.

: At Cabo de São Vicente, there's really only one place to park - along the sides of the road near the Lighthouse. In Sagres, there is ample parking along the main street.

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