Cabo de São Vicente. Cape St.Vincent- 'corner" of Europe.Portugal

Cabo de São Vicente


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 Francis Drake in 1587, were later pulverised by the 1755 earthquake.

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

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Sagres attractions

1. Farol de São Vicente

0.07 MILES

The lighthouse complex at Cabo de São Vicente contains a small but excellent museum that gives a good overview of Portugal’s maritime-navigation history,…

2. Fortaleza do Beliche

0.76 MILES

Built in 1632 on the site of an older fortress, Fortaleza do Beliche is 4.8km northwest of the town centre, and 1.2km southeast of the lighthouse at Cabo…

3. Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Graça

3.01 MILES

Within the Fortaleza de Sagres, this small whitewashed church dating from 1570 is a simple barrel-vaulted structure with a gilded 17th-century altarpiece…

4. Fortaleza de Sagres

3.05 MILES

Blank, hulking and forbidding, Sagres’ fortress offers breathtaking views over the sheer cliffs, and all along the coast to Cabo de São Vicente. Legend…

6. Praia do Martinhal


One of the prettier beaches in the Sagres area, 2.5km northeast of the centre, Martinhal is backed by a resort development, so it's a little complex to…

7. Fortaleza da Baleeira

3.86 MILES

Above the fishing port, all that remains of the tiny 16th-century Fortaleza da Baleeira is an archway and part of the walls.

8. Praia do Amado

11.17 MILES

Known for its exposed, left- and right-handed beach breaks that work year-round, surfer favourite Praia do Amado is 2.3km southwest of the town square.