Whilst researching our break in Portugal I made a list of all the things we wanted to see and do.
One of those things was to visit Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for the colourful Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors, Palacio Quinta da Regaleira and Monserrate Palace and about a half an hour taxi ride from where we were staying at in Cacais.
With the focus on the stunning historical palaces, it is easy to miss that the most western point of mainland Europe lies within the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais, so I made sure that a visit to Cabo da Roca was on our itinerary.
Although there are organised tours to Cabo da Roca and Sintra running from Lisbon, we arranged a taxi with Martinhal Cacais to take us to Sintra via Cabo da Roca which cost us €50. The journey took 25 minutes from the hotel and our driver was fantastic, showing us points of interest along the way.
Cabo Da Roca is set on a cliff top 150 metres above the sea and despite being 16°C that day, the wind was howling in from the Atlantic, making it feel very chilly.
The headland itself is marked by a stone monument with a cross on the top. The inscription, on the side of the monument, is a quote from the famous Portuguese poet Luis Camoes (1524–1580) who aptly described the area as “Where the land ends and the sea begins“.
What Cabo da Roca does offer, are panoramic views over the Serra de Sintra and the coast, which makes it well worth the visit. The main headland area has concrete pathways but the coastal pathways are dusty and rocky to walk on so no good for pushchairs if you fancy tackling them.
That said, Cabo da Roca is a wild and rugged headland, which is perfect for exploring. If you have time to spare, the coastal paths offer a challenging walk, but the views are more than worth it.
Cabo da Roca is almost completely unspoilt by development, with just a carpark, small gift shop, a cafe and the lighthouse.
The lighthouse was the first purpose-built lighthouse in Portugal and was completed in 1772 but its present form originates from 1842. The lighthouse stands 150m above the ocean, with its light being able to be seen up to staggering 46km away!
Cabo da Roca is a very popular location for tourist visits, although it is best combined with a visit to Sintra itself as you don’t spend anymore than an hour there, unless you decide to tackle one of the coastal paths.
The constant strong winds coming off the Atlantic means that all plant life is low-lying and able to grow under the high saline conditions. The boys had great fun charging around, looking at all the different colours.
If you are visiting Lisbon, Cacais or Sintra for a holiday, then I strongly recommend a visit to Cabo da Roca, the views are spectacular.
Have you visited Cabo da Roca?