If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be standing at the “end of the world,” then Sagres is the place to visit the next time you are in southern Portugal on the Algarve. Located at the most south-westerly point of Europe, Sagres was considered the end of the world in ancient times. Standing on the cliffs of Cabo São Vicente (Cape of Saint Vincent), you can imagine what the famous Portuguese explorers must have been thinking as they stared out at the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean and imagined what might be on the other side.
Prince Henry the Navigator came to the Algarve in 1419, and he built a fortified town and school of navigation in Sagres, which would forever be tied to Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. It was here that Ferdinand Magellan (circumnavigator), Bartolomeu Dias (Africa-rounder), Pedro Cabral (discovered Brazil) and Vasco da Gama (found sea route to India) would come to study, as well as Christopher Columbus.
A few miles west of town you can visit the remains of the 16th C. Fortaleza de Sagres that was subsequently destroyed by Sir Francis Drake in 1587, and then rebuilt in the 18th C. You can also see the lighthouse on the cape, which is one of the most powerful in Europe, with a range of 60 kms. While in town stop by the working fishing harbor, and don’t miss the sandy beaches that surround this historic town.
Photo credit: Associação Promosagres Sagres
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