Cabo de Sao Vicente

Cabo de Sao Vicente – The view at the end of the Europe

The Romans called this windblown cape, Cabo de Sao Vicente, ‘Sacred Promontory’ and in middle ages, this solitary cliff, facing the Atlantic Ocean, was referred as the ‘end of the world’. Together with its neigbour Cabo de Sagres, these attractions are certainly the most southwestern tip of Europe. Since the ancient times, the expansive cape has been considered sacred and magical, as the view from this vantage point made the sunset seemed larger while disappearing dramatically.

The centuries of exposure to the oceanic elements has led to various rock formations within and around the jutting cliff. These formations and caves form the stunning background for the cape sheltered Praia de Beliche beach, renowned for its great surfing conditions. Cabo de Sao Vicente in Algarve’s southwestern end, rises almost vertically at a majestic height of up to 75 meters and stretches over a few kilometers.

The name of Cabo de Sao Vicente (Cape St. Vicent in English) is linked to the legend that the body of St Vincent, the martyred saint from the 4th century, was swept ashore here. Beginning with its historic namesake, the cape has set the background for several events from the past.

The vicinity of Cabo de Sao Vicente in Algarve has been the site for many naval battles, including the significant Battle of Cape St Vincent. This battle saw two parts over nearly twenty years, with the British defeating the Spanish fleet in 1797.

Its strategic location was a major reference point for shipping and explorers, while today, its lighthouse still serves as the beacon for major shipping routes and with its 60 km range, it is said to be one of the most powerful in Europe.

The historic and imposing cape being one of Algarve’s numerous natural attractions, is now home to diverse ecology. Birdwatchers will be delighted as several species such as the kestrel, peregrine falcons and Bonelli’s eagle, have made it their nesting ground.

Cabo de Sao Vicente is only accessible by narrow roads. Visitors can choose to rent own car and take a drive from nearby towns such as Vila do Bispo, some 10km away. There are also day excursions and private tours available from the popular tourist destination Lagos, which is about 30km away.

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