Lighthouses, ruins and deserted beaches…….. all found at the southwest point of Portugal! Many visitors get no further west than Lagos, carry on further down the coast and head into a different Algarve!
Look closely at a map and just west of Sagres can be found S. Vicente this rocky point claws its way into the Atlantic. The most Southwestern point of Portugal is tipped by a large lighthouse which dominates this wind swept peninsula and when I say wind swept I mean it!!!! Many visitors like ourselves stepped from the balmy t-shirt and short weather of the beaches into what felt like a force 10 gale! Luckily jackets were in the car, never fear if you arrive unprepared the entrepreneur spirit is alive and well and you can buy wraps, jumpers and blankets from a strategically placed van!
The lighthouse has a small visitor centre and a WC or bathroom and the “Toilet Harridan” who has no mercy whatsoever! She does not give a damn if you are bursting to use the necessary and do not happen to have the 50 cents in your pocket! No money, no pee! No peeing on credit either! Lesson learnt I now carry 50 cents everywhere…….
The view from the lighthouse and cliff top are stunning, do be careful though as the wind when we visited had the power to move you, hopefully not over the top of the cliff!
We visited the lighthouse first and backtracked looking for a larger viewpoint of the lighthouse, each pullout had something of interest……. The ruins of an old fortress, crumbling and forgotten, the huge edifice of Fortaleza de Sagres dating back to the 15th century, a sometimes popular spot judging by the size of the almost empty parking lot.
One of those pullouts overlooked a plunging cliff face, which on closer inspection revealed a jewel gleam patch of blue ringed with white. We had inadvertently found Beliche beach! Access is by a steep, switchback stairway, not an easy climb……. especially going up. We had heard rumours and here it was……. a deserted beach! We shared the beach with a handful of people instead of the usual multitude, much to the dismay of shade renters.