All around you are the wind and waves and you have the feeling that the world finishes here in Sagres. Geographically this is at least for Europe correct, as this part of Portugal is the most south-westerly point of the continent. Situated between Cabo de São Vicente in the north-west and Ponta de Sagres in the east, the town of Sagres with its 2000 inhabitants has been defying the tides for centuries. In the past Sagres was a maritime town, but nowadays with its spectacular cliffs, it has become a retreat for nature-lovers and romantics, as well as having grown increasingly popular with surfers and backpackers.
Twenty years ago Sagres was a destination purely for hippies. In spite of its remote location it can be reached these days by car from Lisbon airport via the A13 and A22 in just under three hours and from Faro in just over an hour. Sagres has a large choice of accommodation in different price categories ranging from the 4-star hotel to apartment resorts, but has still managed to keep its special charm. If you are on a tight budget there are also hostels to give you that special surfing feeling. The town itself and its restaurants and beaches can all be easily explored by foot and even Cabo de São Vicente is only an hour’s walk away. The Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina is especially a paradise for hikers and walkers, who can find relaxation and solitude along the steep cliffs.
The name Sagres comes from "sagrado“ which means "holy" and refers to the sacred sites around the cape. As did many others before them, the Phoenicians, Greeks and Cathars came here to worship the gods, mostly the gods of the wind and the sea. At the time of the Arab expansion the Christians also built a church here, which it is said was named after the famous Arab geographer Al-Idrisi, but as there have always been numerous ravens to be seen around the church, it is now simply called “Church of the Ravens”. In the 8th century the remains of the holy Saint Vincent were interred here and the cape was named after him. At the Ponta des Sagres you can still today visit the Fortaleza de Sagres. The foundations of this fortress originate from the early 16th century, as does the town of Sagres. The Fortaleza de Sagres is a very important Portuguese monument and if you are interested in history you will most certainly want to have a look at the ancient compass just in front of the fortress which was excavated by archaeologists. It is over 40 metres in diameter, but the original purpose and origin of the image are still not clear.
Founded in the early 16th century, Sagrado has a long history, but it is the flair of the town that attracts visitors nowadays. It has the typical very relaxed atmosphere of a “surfing town” which is simply infectious. You can meet up in one of the small cafés, play music and walk along the beach. One of the many highlights is a boat trip to the open sea, where you can watch the dolphins splashing around. Whether you want diving, surfing, windsurfing or yoga courses, the three beaches of Praia do Tonel, Praia do Martinhal and Praia do Mareta are ideal for water-sports enthusiasts, beach-lovers and relaxation seekers. The spectacular sunsets here are the icing on the cake of an all-round enjoyable holiday experience. A beach holiday in Sagres is definitely something special as here more than anywhere else at the Algarve the sea and sky seem so close to one other - at the end of the world!
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