Cabo da Roca – Colares, Portugal - Atlas Obscura

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Cabo da Roca

Sintra-Cascais National Park

One Portuguese poet described this cape, the westernmost point in mainland Europe, as "where the land ends and the sea begins." 


Situated in Portugal’s Sintra-Cascais National Park is the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Rugged cliffs meet the Atlantic Ocean in this place of natural beauty, where sea, land, wind, and forest come together to create a unique atmosphere.

When the earth was thought to be flat  and have a beginning and an end, many believed that Cabo da Roca was one of the ends of the known world at the time. From the edge of the promontory, you can see a huge expanse of the open sea, dunes, beaches, cliffs, and trails to walk along—all of which make Cabo da Roca an obligatory stop.

Around Cabo da Roca, tall rocky cliffs stand more than 100 meters (328 feet) above the water. The place is quite windy due to the geographical conditions but the sunset alone is worth the visit! There are some trails that connect the place to the Sintra mountain range.

Perched on a cliff is the Farol de Cabo da Roca (Cabo da Roca Lighthouse), which began operating in 1772. It was one of the first in Portugal to be built for this purpose, and today is the third-oldest lighthouse along the Portuguese coast.

Luís de Camões, in his epic poem Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads), described Cabo da Roca as “where the land ends and the sea begins.”

Know Before You Go

The place is well indicated, just follow the signs!

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