Cabo de São Vicente

Natural Feature in Sagres

Image by Dmitry Samsonov Five Hundred Pixels

Europe’s southwesternmost point is a barren headland 6km northwest of Sagres' town centre that was the last piece of home that Portuguese sailors once saw as they launched into the unknown. It's a spectacular spot: at sunset you can almost hear the hissing as the sun hits the sea. A red lighthouse houses a small but excellent museum showcasing Sagres' role in Portugal’s maritime history.

The cape – a revered place even in the time of the Phoenicians and known to the Romans as Promontorium Sacrum – takes its present name from a Spanish priest martyred by the Romans. The old fortifications, trashed by Sir Francis Drake in 1587, were later pulverised by the 1755 earthquake.

Before reaching the lighthouse, you'll pass the ruined fortress Fortaleza do Beliche.