The cape Cabo de São Vicente is the southwestern end of the continent Europe. There the coast of Portugal turns from west to south. This region is part of the Algarve region with awesome beaches but also a lot of tourists.
There is also a short south coast few kilometers south of Lisbon with marvelous beaches, mountains, caves and trails where we spent some nice days
This south coast runs along stunning Serra da Arrábida between the windy cape Cabo Espichel and the nice fishing town Setúbal which we explored with our bicycles.
There are many awesome beaches between Setúbal and Cabo de São Vicente. In December most of them were very lonely. Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean was often possible - depending on the waves, wind and sun. The water temperature of the sea was with 17 to 18°C quite convenient. We visited following beaches and rocky coasts per food or bike:
- Praia Carreiro da Fazenda of the village Vila Nova de Milfontes with its interesting wreck Klemens, see the story here (in German)
- Marvelous beaches of Zambujeira do Mar
- Stunning beaches of Odeceixe
- Wonderful Carrapateira with its touching museum Museo do Mar et da Terra da Carrapateira and the outstanding road Estrada da Praia which we bicycled
We had gotten many valuable tips for this coastline from our friends Anja and Bernd - Thank you so much
We did a strenuous hike of nearly 10 kilometers from the parking place of the cape Cabo de São Vicente in the southwest corner of Europe to the terrific viewpoints Rocha das Gaivotas and Pontal Gordo. We could enjoy the wild west coast of the Atlantic Ocean with its huge waves and the more calm south coast. The closest town to the cape, nice Sagres has a decent overnight staying place directly on its coast. From Sagres we pedaled and hiked northeastwards to the beautiful viewpoints Ponta da Atalaia and Ponta dos Caminhos
We spent Christmas 2023 on a reasonable overnight staying place in Lagos. We cooked on Christmas Eve delicious salmon and ate too much because we had also many cookies - Lebkuchen from Nuremberg. In Lagos and further east the coast is typical of the famous Algarve - 20 to 50 meters high rocky limestone line adorned with caves, grotto, holes, towers, little bays and sandy beaches.
On Boxing Day we headed to nice Portimão with its beautiful beaches. We found an ideal overnight staying place close to the beach Praia do João de Arens - approximately 4 kilometers outside of its center which we explored with our bicycles on an evening with full moon. We found a nice hairdresser which we all needed desperately, and a very little vegetarian Indian restaurant with delicious food.
Slowly we continued to awesome Albufeira where we spent New Year's Eve. There was huge party on its beach Praia do Peneco with life music and outstanding fireworks on the Atlantic Ocean including an incredible airshow at midnight.
On the way to Albufeira we visited the famous cave Gruto de Benagil and more nice sections of the coast like the beaches Praia do Carvalho and Praia da Malhada do Baraço - a beautiful circle from Lagoa of approximately 11 kilometers on foot.
On New Year 2024 we drove on narrow and winding roads into the hilly mountains approximately 35 kilometers north of the coast. We found an ideal campsite in tiny Ameixial - free of charge including showers and electricity. With our bikes we pedaled an exhausting trip over four peaks (including 589 meters high Pelados) up and down about 30 kilometers. On our return to the coast we hiked to the summit of rocky Rocha da Pena (485 meters sea-level) and we visited the rewarding town Estoi.
The capital of the Algarve region Faro is also the "capital" of Storks, at least in winter. Nearly every high point was occupied with nests and they found much food in the wetlands and lagoons around Faro. We crossed some of the swamps per bicycles to the windy but marvelous island Ilha de Faro.
We spent our last night in Portugal in the awesome fishing town Santa Luzia which is famous for its anchor cemetery on the island Ilha de Tavira. Another superb excursion was the busy town Tavira which is accessible on good bike lanes from Santa Luzia.
Before we left Portugal on January 8th 2024 we explored the two fortresses in Castro Marim, which is located on the border to Spain.
Most of our overnight staying places, hiking and cycling trips are in included in our GPS coordinates file of Portugal.