A Visitor's Guide to Sagres
If you head toward the most southwestern point in mainland Europe, you will inevitably pass through the town of Sagres.
an incredible link to Portuguese history, glorious beaches, cliffs, and
ocean views, Sagres is a must-see location during your Algarve holiday.
Like Tavira in the east, Sagres and the Algarve’s west coast
aren’t as popular with tourists as more central locations like Portimao
or Faro. But at less than a four-hour drive from Lisbon and just over an
hour from the Faro airport, it is an easy and accessible location with
plenty of things to explore.
Here, we’ve created a visitor’s guide to Sagres so you can make the most of your visit to the area!
Things to Do in Sagres
You might think that a city not known as a tourist hotspot would be a
little light on things to do, but you would be wrong. Here are our top
picks for things to do in Sagres:
Go to the Beach
Sagres has some of the best beaches in Portugal! Whether you
want to ride a wave or relax on the shore and ponder the vastness of
the Atlantic ocean, these beaches have you covered.
Praia da Mareta
Praia da Mareta is the beach located most closely to Sagres. It tends to
get busy, but with 800 meters of golden sands, it is likely you will be
able to find a little space to relax.
This region of the
Algarve tends to be battered by strong winds and large waves but Praia
da Mareta is in a bay and protected by a large, rocky headland that
keeps things a little calmer. You will see lots of windsurfing,
kayaking, and diving.
If you don’t want to get in the water, you
can take advantage of the fact that the beach is south facing, giving
you sun all day long!
There are three restaurants located near the beach and ample parking so it is easy to make a full day of it!
Praia do Martinhal
Located to the east of Sagres, Praia do Martinhal is another relatively
large beach. It has several islets located offshore that can be visited
by boat. These limestone islets are known for their caves and underwater
grottos. It is possible to arrange a diving trip or to catch a boat
from the beach or from Sagres harbor.
While fairly sheltered,
there is still a strong wind along the water so it is actually quite
perfect for windsurfing. The water here can be cold, even in the summer,
so you may want to consider wearing a wetsuit if venturing out.
sand at Praia do Martinhal is soft and fine, making it ideal for
building sandcastles. Rarely does this beach get crowded so feel free to
let your inner architect get to work!
Winds from the north can
sometimes make the beach feel chilly so if that’s the case, take shelter
in one of the nearby restaurants and simply enjoy the spectacular view
while dining on some fresh seafood. Restaurante Martinhal is located on
the east end of the beach and there are a few other places not too far
Praia do Tonel
If surfing is your thing, Praia do Tonel is the place to be. This
uncrowded, relatively small beach offers some of the best waves in
Europe! If you are a beginner surfer and looking to give it a try, there
is a surf school located right on the beach.
At high tide, the
beach is rather small with few places to sit out and relax but at low
tide, there is plenty of space. The waters are cold here, especially in
the winter, and the currents can be quite strong. Swimming at Praia do
Tonel is not recommended unless you are an experienced, strong swimmer.
beach itself is surrounded by high cliffs that give it a secluded and
sheltered feel. There are several amazing rock formations that line the
beach and just offshore you will see the massive “lion rock.” Depending
on your angle, this formation looks like a lion lying in the water or a
submarine. But be careful near the cliffs as falling rocks can present a
Even if you don’t want to surf, the views here
are incredible. To the left of the beach, you can see the Fortaleza de
Sagres or Fortress of Sagres. And in the evening, the sunsets are truly
The western Algarve, and the Sagres area specifically, is known for its great surfing conditions.
mentioned above, Praia do Tonel has the biggest and best waves, serving
as a bit of a surfing mecca. But there are other beaches in the area
like Praia do Beliche and Praia do Zavial that also draw a large number
Even if you don’t want to ride the waves, it is easy
to spend hours sitting on the beach, or the cliffs above it, watching
the many surfers who flock to these locations every day.
best time of year for new or inexperienced surfers is in the summer
months when waves are relatively small. In the winter, waves are large,
rough, and better suited to advanced or experienced surfers. If you are
visiting in the winter, you can take surfing lessons at Praia da Mareta.
Should you need to take surf lessons, Sagres is home to several
schools that offer both single lessons and surfing bootcamps that will
cover all the basics over the course of several days.
Visit Cabo de Sao Vincente
About 6km outside of Sagres is Cabo de Sao Vincente or Cape Saint
Vincent. This location is the most southwesterly point in continental
Europe and the Romans once believed it to be the literal end of the
world. And with cliffs that rise 75 meters above the sea, it isn’t hard
to see why!
The views from the cape are unbelievable. You can get
a real sense of magnitude and vastness of the ocean. It is truly
Cabo de Sao Vincente is home to one of the most
powerful lighthouses in Europe. It was first constructed in 1846 and has
a beam that can be seen from 60km away. Because the lighthouse is still
in operation, you cannot tour it but there is a museum, gift shop, and
The winds can be really strong here so be sure to
bring an extra layer to keep yourself warm. And be sure to stay a safe
distance from the edges of the cliffs. Between the winds and loose
rocks, it can be dangerous to get too close.
If you can time it properly, stay to watch the sunset. You’ll be glad you did!
Visit Fortaleza de Sagres
Fortaleza de Sagres is a fortification that dates back to the Portuguese
expansion in the 15th century. By order of Prince Henry the Navigator,
the fortress was constructed in 1453 to protect Sagres from Moorish
The fort has some incredible views of the coastline and
on a clear day, you can see all the way to the headlands of Cabo de Sao
Once you enter the fort, you can see a large, 43
meters wide, circular pattern on the ground. This is believed to have
been a wind compass, once used as a navigation tool. Interestingly
enough, this compass wasn’t discovered until the 18th century and wasn’t
fully excavated until 1919.
Inside the fort, you can see the
cannons that would have been used as protection and a chapel known as
Nossa Senhora da Graca. The chapel was erected in 1579 and inside you
can see depictions of St. Vincent, the martyred 4th-century deacon whom
the cape is named for.
There is a path that goes from the fort
to the cape and back. A leisurely walk along the path is a great way to
take in your surroundings!
Reserva Biogenetica de Sagres
Between Fortaleza de Sagres and the Cabo Sao Vicente is the Reserva
Biogenetica de Sagres, a protected nature reserve that is home to a
number of unique and biodiverse species.
The area has a range of
coastal habitats like marshes, cliffs, dunes, and lagoons. These
habitats promote rare plant life including the biscutella vicentina,
diplotaxis vicentina, and hyacinthoides vicentina.
from all over the world “flock” here to catch a glimpse of the 25 bird
species that nest in the reserve. In fact, the Reserva Biogenetica de
Sagres is one of the only places in the world where the white stork
builds its nest on rocky sea cliffs.
In the fall, this is a
great place to view the migration of several glider birds, or birds of
prey, including booted eagles, short-toed eagles, sparrow hawks, honey
buzzards, griffon vultures and Egyptian vultures.
During your visit, if you’re lucky, you’ll see the local raft of otters playing in the sea and hunting for food!
Where to Eat in Sagres
Given its prime location on the coast, Sagres has plenty of fresh
seafood and traditional Portuguese food available to try! Here’s a list
of some of our favorite places to eat in Sagres:
Restaurante Carols is one of the places where you can taste some truly
incredible seafood. Try the goose barnacles as a starter and anywhere
you go from there is just a bonus. Try some octopus rice and cuttlefish
or a nice tuna steak. The prawns here are spectacular!
Service is welcoming and friendly in a cozy atmosphere. It can get a little busy here so do call ahead and try to book a table.
Built on the site of the owner’s grandparent’s house, this restaurant provides beautiful sea views and a comfortable atmosphere.
you have a cataplana of seafood, try the barbecue fish, order tapas, or
tuck into the Portuguese sausage, your taste buds will be thrilled! Try
your dishes with the house wine for the complete experience.
Where to Stay in Sagres
Because Sagres is so close to other locations in the Algarve, many
people choose to visit as a day trip. But, if you’d like to stay in the
area a little longer, here are some places to stay:
Memmo Baleeira Hotel
Memmo Baleeira has everything you’d want for a perfect stay. On the
hotel grounds you will find a restaurant, bar, lounge, spa, gym, outdoor
swimming pool, and a heated indoor pool.
The rooms are bright and clean. Try to book one with a balcony so you can take advantage of the views.
are a number of activities available for guests to enjoy. Take classes
at the Memmo Baleeira surf school, rent a bicycle, book a Jeep trip, or
schedule a round at one of the nearby golf courses.
cliffs of the coast within walking distance, you can pack a lunch and
set off to explore the area! This is a great region to explore.
Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort Hotel
For a little bit of luxury, look no further than Martinhal Sagres.
Set within a protected natural park and overlooking Martinhal Beach,
expect comfortable, relaxing rooms and spacious villas.
a number of restaurants on the resort grounds that will appeal to
everyone as well as a shop available to those who want to do some meal
prep on their own.
With a spa, gym, tennis court, sightseeing
tours, and 5 swimming pools available, it would be hard to get bored. If
you are traveling with children, Martinhal Sagres also has a number of
activities catered to little ones.
Once believed to be the
mystical place, Sagres still holds much of its magic. Whether you’re
planning a surf trip, looking for an historic destination, or both, you
will find it here.
To fully explore the region, you can book a spot on our 6-night vacation package that will take you from Lagos or Carvoeiro to Sagres. If you have something else in mind, reach out to us and we’ll help you plan the perfect Sagres holiday!