Well, actually, mainland Europe’s most westerly point, as our taxi driver correctly mentioned, since Europe’s most westerly point is located at the Azores, a Portugese Island.
But Cabo da Roca then. If your’e in for some dramatic landscape, barren lands and nature’s raw beauty, it’s the place to be. It’s the place ‘where the land ends and the see begins’, as so appropriately mentioned by Portugal’s most famous poet Luis Camoes on the stone monument marking the point. At this point, the green land drops abruptly in the swirling Atlantic from steep 140-meter-high cliffs. Here is also a 1772 still-working lighthouse, an important point for navigation.
It’s quite windy but on the sunny day we visited, we had a beautiful panoramic view. We just walked up to the monument, took some pictures, felt the sweeping winds and enjoyed the cliffs and the panoramic views over the Serra de Sintra and the coast. And met the Hottentot-fig.
Never heard of it? Well, we didn’t either. But we noticed this beautiful bright yellow and purple flowers – also called ice-plants- all over the place. It seems native to South Africa and can only survive in harsh circumstances. You seem to come across it frequently on coastal cliffs in Europe but it’s the first time we saw it.
There is no entrance fee at Cabo da Roca, just go there and walk around. If you have a bit more time, there seem to be some walking paths too. In any case, make sure you stick to the walking paths and stay behind the fences, the weather and in particular winds can be very unpredictable here.
When you are visiting Sintra, it’s a perfect detour. It’s about 18 kilometers west from Sintra, 40 kilometers west from Lisbon and 15 kilometers north of Cascais. At latitude 38º 47´north and longitude 9º 30´west to be precise. Just take the scenic route N 247 and follow the signs, you can’t miss it. Best way to get there is by car as part of your day trip to Sintra, as we did. Here you can also find some more information.