Little fortress on the coast between Sagres and the Cabo de Sao Vicente
The fortress, situated on the Algarve coast near Sagres between the beach of Beliche and Cape St. Vincent had been erected to protect the strategic important harbour of Sagres.
Cabo São Vicente
Europe's most south-western corner: sacred ground from time immemorial
Cabo de São Vicente (Cape St.Vincent) near Sagres in Portugal and the Ponta de Sagres together form the south-western corner of the Algarve and the European continent. The cape consists of a steep cliff of about 69 m with almost no vegetation. It was already sacred ground in Neolithic times, as standing menhirs within the area attest. The name of the area it is located in still recalls the Promontorium Sacrum (or Holy Promontory) of the Romans. The Ancient Greeks called it Ophiussa (Land of Serpents), inhabited by the Oestriminis. The early Christians followed that tradition and dedicated this last part of the known world to St. Vincent, giving name also to the neighbouring coast (Costa Vicentina). According to the legend the relics of the martyr Saint Vincent were transported from the Holy Land to the cape by ravens. The impressive lighthouse which provides a guiding beam to ships passing the cape is open for visits. Although this is one of the most frequented seaways in the world, ships have to respect such distances for security reasons, that they can barely be seen on the horizon. On the surrounding cliffs, beaten by the strength of the vast Atlantic, local fishermen risk their lives wedged on dramatic perches with the thundering sea below. Year by year some of them, as well as some imprudent tourists, meet their death here. This article is based on an article Cabo de São Vicente from the open encyclopedia Wikipedia under the GNU license for free documentation. A the list of authors is available on the Wikipedia site.
Costa Vicentina: Torre de Aspa
The highest elevation in the Costa Vicentina near Vila do Bispo
With its 156m the Torre de Aspa is the highest elevation in the Costa Vicentina, the still almost untouched western coast of the Algarve. The way from the district capital Vila do Bispo across the blossoming and aromatic smelling heath is not easy to find. And the last miles over lanes full of road holes are a challenge for each driver - unless you have an off-roader. But the great views to the south (till Sagres) and to the north to the beaches of Castelejo and Coroama will more than compensate you for your efforts.
Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina
The natural reserve of the Costa Vicentina - the western coast of the Algarve
The Algarvian western coast between Cabo de São Vicente near Sagres and Odexeice, bordering to the Alentejo. The so-called "Costa Vicentina", the western coast of the Algarve stretches over more than 60 km from Cape St.Vincent, the south-western most corner of the European continent, to Odeceixe on the Algarve-Alentejo border. The rugged rocks of the steep coast are interrupted by small sandy bays. The climate is harsher than other parts of the Algarve and the surging swell from the Atlantic is spectacular, attracting surfers and paragliders in particular. Around Vila do Bispo and Raposeira, neolithic menhires have been found, human footprints which are almost 5000 years old. In historical times this area was already considered sacred as the end of the known world. The landscape is still generally unspoilt by the tourism and rich in flora and fauna species. The Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e da Costa Vicentina with 70.000 ha it is one of Portugal's largest natural reserves. The Reserva Biogenética de Sagres between Cabo de São Vicente and Ponta de Sagres there is a unique ecological system, which attracts ornithologists from all over the world during the Autumn.
Porto de Pesca de Sagres
Fishing harbour situated in a sheltered bay of Sagres
The fishing harbour in Sagres is supposed to be one of the best places in the world to buy fresh fish and seafood. The fish auction taking place in the afternoon attracts dealers and restaurant chiefs from all over the Algarve.
Raposeira: Ermitage Guadalupe
The chapel Nossa Senhora de Guadelupe with a museum about the Age of the Portuguese Discoveries
The chapel is one of the rare examples of medieval architecture, because it was one of the few building of this time that survived the catastrophic earth quake of 1755. The ermitage is located on the EN 125 between Budens and Raposeira.
Sagres Biogenetic Reserve
Algarve’s Noah’s Ark
As one of Southern Europe’s last remaining and most important stretches of wild, unspoilt coastline, benefiting from both a low level of human interference and a low population density, the area from Ponta de Sagres to Cape St. Vincent is a protected area filled with a wide biodiversity of different species and natural habitats, many of which are quite unique in the world. With its own specificity, resulting from its particular geographical position, varied landscapes, and a climate that is simultaneously marked by the influence of both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean conditions, this region of the south-west Algarve and the Costa Vicentina has been classified by the Council of Europe as a Biogenetic Reserve since 1988 and is one of the most important centres of marine resources and multiple ecological occurrences. The great diversity of the wealth of natural resources to be found along the coastal strip, the existence of various geographical accidents and the occurrence of different phenomena, such as rocky outcrops emerging from the deep waters in the summer, all these features contribute towards the development of important and high levels of biodiversity. The rocky coastline from Ponta de Sagres to Cape St. Vincent presents a wide variety of coastal habitats, including marshland, cliffs, sand dunes and lagoons. At the same time, the differentiated characteristics of the marine ecosystem favour the development of a rare and very specific variety of flora, very often described as unique in the world. Biscutella vicentina, Diplotaxis vicentina and Hyacinthoides vicentina are all examples of plants whose scientific names derive from the fact that they only exist in this region. Particularly notable amongst the various species that reproduce in this region are a wide variety of birds, with 25 different species building their nests on the cliffs. In fact, the Sagres Biogenetic Reserve is the only place in the world where white storks build their nests on sea cliffs and the only place in the country where there is a colony of otters using the marine environment to search for their food. One of the more interesting biological occurrences in this part of the south-west Algarve is the migration each autumn of thousands of glider birds, in other words birds of prey, including booted eagles, short-toed eagles, sparrow hawks, honey buzzards, griffon vultures and Egyptian vultures. This information is extracted with friendly permission of RTA from their website.
Sagres: Fish auction
One of the best places in Europe to buy fresh fish and seafood
Vila do Bispo: Montes dos Amantes
Neolithical menhirs (5.000 B.P.) in the surroundings of Vila do Bispo
Footprints of early human beings can be found at various places in the Algarve. One of the best documented examples is the menhir garden "Montes dos Amantes" near Vila do Bispo. The so called "roteiro megalitico" leads from one menhir to the next. He can be easily reached by car if you take a small road in parallel to the EN125 to Sagres from the roundabout at the western exit of Vila do Bispo. Then follow the signs. The menhirs are of Neolithic origin, and date to around 5000 B.P. It is known that they were "imported" into their current positions as they are of a Carboniferous Limestone, as opposed to the Jurasic Limestone that outcrops on the hills underfoot. This information is extracted from the website valegrifo.