Portugal, the underrated neighbor of Spain, lies in mystery and neglect. It’s hard to believe that this tiny country is actually the motherland of the massive Brazil, which is a popular, respected travel destination. Even if the rest of the world doesn’t realize Portugal’s potential, the Portuguese are proud, and they enjoy not having to share their coastal majestic land with mobs of tourists.
However, the truth is that Portugal deserves to be explored and cherished. Its feeling of desolation and tranquility is what gives it its charm. Maybe Portugal doesn’t need flocks of people like its popular neighbor Spain, but it still has room to host some passionate travelers.
The enchanting secret even within Portugal, the city of Sagres sits on the isolated brink of Portugal and all of Europe. It is not densely populated, and it doesn’t offer a plethora of tourist attractions. It simply offers itself: natural beauty, a small array of languages, an impressive title, and exhilarating activities. Let’s explore that.
1. Natural beauty of Sagres, Portugal
The beauty of Sagres, Portugal, steals the hearts of many unsuspecting tourists. On the coast, there are towering, dramatic cliffs that frame the calm ocean and horizon. The sand on the beaches is soft, and the Atlantic Ocean sparkles in varying shades of blue. Remote beaches, rare pearls, are tucked away in between surrounding, protruding cliffs.
2. Playa de Beliche
One of these rare pearls is the Playa de Beliche. Access to this beach is not easy, which makes the endpoint that much more rewarding. It takes a little hiking and creativity, but upon arrival, you can bask in the beach’s serenity for hours. When I made the hike to the Playa de Beliche in Sagres, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a few hipster couples had somehow maneuvered big, old-fashioned Volkswagens to the beach and were apparently living out of them. These people knew the prize of the Playa de Beliche, and they were relishing it.
The general climate of Portugal is maritime, which means you can expect a lot of sunshine and heat, especially in the summers. The Atlantic Ocean is moderately warm and refreshing, perfect for surfing, swimming, or lounging. A warm, sandy, secluded piece of nature is an ideal travel destination, and Sagres can offer just that.
4. An Array of Languages
Language is not much of a barrier in Portugal. In Spain, Spanish is widely spoken, and in some areas, you would be lucky to find an English-speaker. The Portuguese, however, are usually well versed in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. Even in the small village town of Sagres, all three of these languages are present. You have three options of communication when traveling here and don’t need to worry about learning a new language; better yet, if you want to learn a new language, you have three options!
5. An impressive title: The end of the world
Sagres hangs on the tip of Europe’s most southwestern point. Before the Americas were discovered, the majority of the world was inclined to think that the earth was flat. The general public believed nothing existed southwest of Sagres, Portugal, officially making it “the end of the world.” Some historians in the 15th century also believed that the ocean beyond Sagres was filled with dangerous sea serpents. Sagres was the literal cliff of the world before the abyss of unknown dangerous waters.
Since it is the west-most point of Europe, you can watch the sunset over the ocean. When I visited Sagres, my friends and I made it just in time to see the sun sinking into the ocean. It was incredible to think what lay beyond the sunset we were seeing: miles and miles of ocean and then the familiar America. Visiting the Sagres point is an impressive accomplishment. It’s an honor to say you’ve explored the actual ends of the earth.
There are a number of activities you can do in the incredible untouched nature of Sagres. Some necessary must-dos for adventure seekers are hiking, rock climbing, cliff jumping, surfing, and exploring the Sagres Fortress.
Hiking the ends of the earth of Sagres, Portugal, is an essential experience. As mentioned before, some beaches are only accessible through hiking, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on either an incredible beach or an amazing hike. There are many trails, ranging from easy to difficult. You can go off the path or stay on; you can dare to walk on rocks jutting off the cliff or stay far away from the edge. Hiking is great exercise, and anyone can enjoy the fantastic views from the cliffs.
7. Rock Climbing
Many natural cliffs give ample opportunity to rock climb. I had never been rock climbing before Portugal, and the cliffs are not equivalent to a beginner’s rock climbing wall at REI. Nonetheless, it was an exhilarating challenge and something I couldn’t pass up. There are many organizations you could rock climb with, or if you have the necessary equipment, you could set it up with friends.
8. Cliff Jumping
Cliff jumping is definitely for adrenaline seekers, but Sagres, Portugal, is the perfect location to test your fearlessness. There are different heights and locations to jump from but no instructions or specified safe zones. I would recommend going with an expert or an organization so that you can discover the best areas to jump. Also, if you’re not the strongest swimmer, it would be wise to think twice before jumping. Cliff jumping sometimes requires swimming long distances to shore.
Finally, surfing is a popular sport in Portugal and a great activity to try while traveling there. The Atlantic Ocean is warmer than other oceans, and the waves can be pretty tame near the shore: ideal conditions for beginning surfers. However, Sagres isn’t just a destination for amateur surfers; avid surfers travel to Sagres, Portugal, because it is considered a surfing village, and the waves farther from the shore are some of the biggest during spring, autumn, and winter. Sagres is a city of coast, so surfing is easily available to individuals of any level. I’m not a big fan of the ocean water, but I still tried surfing for the first time when I was in Sagres. It surprisingly turned out to be the highlight of my entire trip to Portugal.
10. Sagres Fortress
The Sagres Fortress is located on a peninsula, a short distance north of the most southwestern point. The fortress is surrounded by cliffs on three sides and contains breathtaking views. Some legends credit the fortress as the spot where Prince Henry the navigator taught Portuguese explorers. There is a lot to see in this fortress and a lot of history to uncover, so you may want to give yourself at least an hour to explore the fortress.
Sagres is great representation of the lively country of Portugal. The city is tiny and quaint, but it should not be underestimated. There is plenty to do and see, and the lack of swarms of tourists gives it more allure. If you’re there for a longer period of time, be sure to check out some fishing harbors and try lots of seafood. Remember to bring your camera and caption your beautiful Sagres photos with #AmazingTravelBeauty.
By: Hannah Veldkamp