Sagres - Algarve - Portugal
Welcome to Sagres Uncovered! Your guide to Sagres holidays!
Welcome to Sagres Uncovered! Your guide to holidays in Sagres in western Algarve, Portugal. Get all you need to know about the town, its beaches, accommodation, restaurants, bars, shops, things to do and in fact, all things Sagres Uncovered!
Sagres is the most south-westerly resort in the Algarve and in Roman times was part of an area called the Promontorium Sacrum (from whence the name, Sagres, derives). At this time it was believed to be the most westerly part of the world and it was thought that the setting sun off the point made the waters of the ocean boil. It is still relatively untouched by tourism and is an attractive town of mainly low rise houses, lining the quiet streets.
Because of its location people often expect a wind-swept barren landscape, but Sagres is a truly tranquil town with beautiful beaches, a picturesque harbour at Baleeira, a very pretty square, Praça da República, and stunning views. It is very popular in summer with visitors, but all year round with fishermen and surfers because of the western Atlantic waters creating such good waves for surfing.
Sagres is particularly popular with visitors coming to see the place where Prince Henry the Navigator, son of King João I, built his famous school of navigation. The school has earned Sagres a significant place in history because it was where Henry bought together great mariners, astronomers, ship-builders and cartographers to build and navigate great ships in the period of the Age of Discoveries.
Sagres is also home to Henry’s fortress, Fortaleza de Sagres, which was originally built in the 15th century and rebuilt in 1793 after it was destroyed by Sir Francis Drake in 1587. Inside the fortress is a former monastery founded in the 16th century and a 14th century chapel, built on what is traditionally said to be the site of São Vincente's grave. An impressive, yet puzzling sight, is also the 39m-diameter wind compass (“Wind Rose”)!
Further along from the fort, is the headland, Cabo de São Vincente (“Cape St. Vincent”). The point was named after the body of St. Vincent was taken there to protect it from the invading Moors and became a place of pilgrimage for centuries. In 1173, the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, had the remains of St.Vincent transported to Lisbon. There is also a lovely lighthouse (claimed to be one of Europe’s most powerful lighthouses) and the views from the point are simply breath taking.
Sagres has no shortage of accommodation to stay in, with apartments, hotels, guesthouses and boasts one of only three Pousadas, Pousada de Sagres - Infante, in the Algarve. Pousadas were originally government-supported hotels designed to preserve Portuguese culture and history and they offer a truly luxurious and calming stay.
Sagres - perfect for walking, cycling, surfing, diving or generally getting a taste of the Algarve that is still relatively untouched by tourism. It is certainly very popular with the campervan / mobile home owners as there are always lots of them parked overlooking Mareta beach, with their occupants relaxing in deck chairs outside in the sunshine, at whatever time of the year we visit and what a view it is!
It may be the most south-westerly point in Europe, but it certainly isn't bleak or boring! The beaches are lovely and if there is a wind blowing, then there will always be a beach that is sheltered from the prevailing wind if you want to sunbathe - or of course, there should also always be a beach that is good for surfing! Sagres is only around a twenty minute drive from Lagos, the largest town at this end of the Algarve, for shopping or a more lively nightlife, or there are lots of beautiful, near deserted beaches on the western Atlantic coast just waiting to be explored.
Trying to sum up Sagres is difficult! There are lots of places to wine and dine or simply have a snack - bistro style, pizzeria, typical Portuguese. There are restaurants with fabulous views, there are restaurants with sunshades and tables on enclosed patios along the main street where you can watch the world go by.
There are glorious sandy beaches protected by high cliffs. Sometimes the wind blows, but the scenery is still spectacular! It has history. It is quiet, but also very popular with surfers who, no doubt, enjoy a get together in the evenings to discuss the best waves. You can sit at a cafe in the square and read the paper, or you can watch the local menfolk play boules. Hopefully the photos speak for themselves and you can make your own mind up!