Sagres is situated just a few kilometres from Europe’s most south western point, Cape St. Vincent. Although it is on the Algarve, Sagres is far less developed than other towns to it’s east, making it a popular destination for those seeking quieter, more relaxed summer holidays.
The town has a lovely beach, attractive square, a working harbour, restaurants that are well known for their fresh fish dishes, and bars. Most of the towns historic buildings were destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. How there is still plenty of history surrounding Sagres, making it well worth a visit.
Today Sagres is best known for its fine beaches which are popular with surfers all the year round. Because of the shape of the coastline here, sheltered beaches are very easy to find.
Praia da Mareta, a popular family beach, is the town’s main beach. Just five minutes from the town on the more sheltered southern side, this 600 metre long beach is made up of sand and pebbles.
Praia da Baleeira, situated on the eatern side of the harbour, is a small sandy beach. However, sometimes there can be problems with the water quality due to its proximity to the harbour.
Praia do Tonel, located on the exposed northern side of Sagres point, is a large sandy beach, popular with surfers. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards in the summer.
Praia do Martinhal, located just outside Sagres, is a quiet sandy beach, surrounded by dunes.
During the 15th century Prince Henry the Navigator chose Sagres as his home and it is here that he founded his school of navigation. Famous people who attended the school include Fernao de Maglhaes (Magellan), Pedro Alvares Cabral and Vasco da Gama. The Henry the Navigator Fortaleza is located on the headland of Ponta de Sagres to the north of the town. The walls of this impressive 17th century fort only remain on one side. Inside these walls you will find the restored 15th century chapel of Nossa Senhora da Graça and the Rosa dos Ventos, a pebble wind compass (discovered in 1921) which has a diameter of 142ft.
From the tip of Ponta de Sagres there are fantastic views of the coast, right up to Cape St Vincent, Europe’s most south-westerly point. The cape gets its name from the martyr St Vincente whose relics were allegedly carried to the cape from the Holy Lands by ravens. The ravens guarded these relics until 1173 when they carried them to Lisbon where they still remain.
Here on the cape you will find Europes second most powerful lighthouse. This lighthouse was built over the ruins of a sixteenth-century Franciscan convent in 1846 to guard one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The lighthouse has two 1000-watt lamps which can be seen up to 60 kms away.