For out next activity in Sintra, we decided to take in the sea air and drove along to Cabo da Roca, the most westerly extent of Continental Europe. The Romans called the place Promontorium Magnum, which translates to something along the lines of Large or Great Cape. Acclaimed Portuguese, Poet Luis de Camoes, named the cape as, ‘The place where the land ends and the sea begins’. Which is prehaps is the most literal description anyone could ever give to a coastline.
Granite boulders and sheer sea cliffs make up the coastline along this stretch. The granite cliffs, which are more than 100 metres in height, show strong signs of coastal erosion. At time a fort was situated here, protecting the northern proximity of Lisbon harbour. But over time chunks of it fell away into the ocean until now only a few ruins remain.
The area around the cape is pretty under developed, with the only other major feature being the Cabo Da Roca lighthouse, which was Portugal’s first purpose built lighthouse, having been constructed in 1772. The current lighthouse though only dates back to 1842 and stands at 22 metres from its foundation, this, combined with the 140 metre tall cliff it is situated on, enables the light to reach an incredible 46 km.
The cape was actually pretty crowed on this one occasion we visited, more so than Cape St Vincent, and even though we went during the late afternoon. I ‘d hate to see it at sunset. Nevertheless it is a place I would have liked more time to explore, the cliffs were absolutely stunning and it would have been worth a longer walk. However, on advice from our hotel, we hung near the car, as the car park is apparently the favourite haunt for numerous thieves. Which is great shame considering the beauty of this place and our desire to simply wander way from the lighthouse and the crowds.
I hope you enjoyed this seventh part of my trip to Portugal. If you did enjoy it feel free to write in the comments, or leave like and thanks for reading.