10 Wonderful Things To Do In Sagres
Curious about the allure of Sagres and its potential as a day trip or a base in the Algarve? Delve into my insights to uncover the essence of this unique destination and decide the ideal duration for your visit.
Table of Contents
Top Activities in Sagres
* Embark on a half-day tour along Portugal’s stunning coast. EXPLORE MORE
* Experience an off-road adventure to Cape Saint Vincent. DISCOVER MORE
* Immerse yourself in the charm of Sagres with a sunset tour. LEARN MORE
Sagres, situated at the western tip of Algarve, offers a tranquil escape from urban life. The town’s laid-back atmosphere distinguishes it from other Algarve locales. It attracts surfers, outdoor enthusiasts, and slow travelers, along with day-trippers eager to explore the fortress and marvel at the southwesternmost point of mainland Europe, Cape St. Vincent.
1. Explore Sagres Beaches
Sagres, favored by water sports enthusiasts, especially surfers, boasts beaches perfect for sun-soaking and leisurely strolls. Each beach around Sagres faces a unique direction, catering to various preferences in wind exposure.
Consider Praia da Martinhal for windsurfing and family-friendly vibes, Praia do Beliche for a small, unspoiled setting popular among surfers, Praia da Mareta as the largest family-friendly beach easily accessible from town, and Praia do Tonel for avid surfers and water sports enthusiasts.
2. Sagres Fortress Exploration
Uncover the history of Sagres Fortress, dating back to the 15th century when it was commissioned by Prince Henry the Navigator. The fortress, devastated in 1755 and restored in the 20th century, now features notable structures such as the wind compass and the church of Our Lady of Grace.
The modern building within the fortress houses a gift shop and an exhibition space, offering immersive experiences about the Age of Discoveries and Sagres’ historical significance. As you stroll along the cliff’s edge, marvel at the diverse beaches, the natural park surrounding Sagres, and intriguing rock formations from the late Jurassic period.
Sagres Fortress is open from May to September, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (temporary hours, usually until 8:30 pm; check the website for updates) and October to April, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Tickets cost €3, providing access to a captivating journey through history and nature.
Exploring Sagres with Guided Tours
Unlock the wonders of Sagres with the Sagres & Cape St. Vincent Half-Day Tour departing from Lagos. This excursion takes you to Porto da Baleeira, Praia do Beliche, and Cape Saint Vincent, ensuring you don’t miss the captivating fortress.
If you’re in Albufeira, the Half-Day Lagos & Sagres Highlights Tour offers a comprehensive exploration of must-see attractions, including the Fortaleza.
For a more personalized experience, consider a private Sagres coastline and fortress road trip. This road trip promises a journey through high cliffs, secluded beaches, and charming villages in western Algarve, complete with a picnic at a hidden fortress, a visit to Sagres fortress, and a stop at a hidden beach for a leisurely walk or swim.
3. Embrace the Waves: Surfing in Sagres
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced surfer, Sagres offers an ideal setting to ride the waves.
Opt for the calm waters of Mareta and Martinhal beaches if you’re a beginner, while the more exposed bay of Tonel awaits advanced surfers seeking a thrilling experience.
4. Witness the “End of the World” at Cabo de Sao Vicente
Marvel at the 75-meter cliffs crowned with a striking red lighthouse at Cabo de Sao Vicente. Although scaffolding might have obscured the view during my visit in October 2022, the lighthouse, built over a 16th-century Franciscan convent, promises an impressive sight, especially during sunset.
Visit during the day for a stunning experience, or plan for a mesmerizing sunset at “the end of the world,” wrapped up warmly against the wind. Choose your cliffside spot carefully, away from impromptu restrooms, and consider joining a Sunset Sagres & Jeep off-road Algarve Natural Park West Coast secret spot tour if you’re based in Sagres or Lagos.
For those staying in Lagos, the Sagres: Small group (max8) Sunset Tour by minivan provides hotel pick-up, a glass of port wine, and a pastel de nata as you savor the sunset.
Art and History at the Lighthouse
Pause at the entrance to the lighthouse complex, where the café, shop, and toilets are located, to admire a ceramics display by local artists from Monchique, such as Studio Bongard.
Although I missed it during my visit, the Lighthouse Museum inside offers a compelling account of Sagres’ role in Portugal’s maritime history. Keep an eye out for rare birds soaring around the cliffs and consider bringing binoculars or joining a birdwatching tour for a closer look.
5. Explore Sagres on Foot: Hiking Adventures
Nestled within the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, Sagres offers a picturesque countryside perfect for hiking. Whether you follow the Rota Vicentina long-distance trail or opt for shorter walks, you’ll encounter fellow nature enthusiasts. One of my favorite walks is along the cliffs between Baleeira Port and Mareta Beach, adorned with vibrant wildflowers in the spring.
Discover 13 scenic trails on AllTrails, catering to various preferences and skill levels. From family-friendly circular routes to challenging linear paths, Sagres has hiking options for everyone.
6. Witness Fishermen in Action at Porto da Baleeira
Experience the charm of this small scenic harbor as fishermen sort their catch and mend their nets. Take a leisurely stroll along the quayside, enjoying panoramic ocean views. For a taste of the local catch, head to A Sereia, the restaurant above the fish market.
7. Discover Unique Ceramics
Indulge in colorful hand-painted dishes and ornamental objects at Artesenato a Mó, located on the road to the lighthouse. For a more unique and artistic selection, explore the works of Studio Bongard, available at the lighthouse. If possible, make a trip to Monchique to witness their full range.
8. Cycle Amidst Sagres’ Wild Scenery
Embrace the wild beauty of Sagres on a bicycle, with numerous bike rental options available. Consider an e-bike, costing around €30 per day, for an adventure along the rugged coast. Explore various routes, both short and long, downloadable from the Portuguese Trails website for independent cyclists.
9. Road Trip Through Western Algarve
Embark on a private half or full-day road trip through the stunning landscapes of West Algarve. Beyond Cabo de São Vicente and the fortress, discover soaring cliffs, endless beaches, powerful waves, and breathtaking views. For an unforgettable journey, inquire about the WOW Algarve Road Trip.
10. Immerse Yourself in Bird Watching
Explore the diverse bird species in the Sagres peninsula’s wonderful landscape. For an expert-guided and memorable experience, consider a full-day bird-watching tour. Gain insights into the area’s rich avian population and appreciate the beauty of birdlife in this unique habitat.
Navigating Your Way to Sagres
Sagres, positioned in the southwest, is a bit of a trek from the nearest airport, Faro. Opting for a drive will take approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, with the most straightforward route being inland via the A22. If you prefer public transport, be prepared for a longer journey of around 4 hours, including a change at Lagos.
Simplify your journey by booking a Faro Private Transfer to Sagres, ensuring a convenient pickup at the airport and a seamless transfer to your Sagres hotel.
For those planning to rent a car, I highly recommend exploring deals from Discovercars and Rentalcars.
Choosing Accommodation in Sagres
Consider the Mareta Beach – Boutique Bed & Breakfast for modern air-conditioned rooms, some featuring ocean views. Its prime location ensures proximity to beautiful beaches. Secure your stay.
Nestled in the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, Memmo Baleeira – Design Hotels offers an outdoor pool with stunning ocean views and rooms boasting private balconies. Its closeness to the historical center of Sagres enhances the experience, with some rooms offering sea or garden views. Check availability.
Enjoy cliff-top views of the fort and the lighthouse at Pousada de Sagres. The swimming pool offers panoramic vistas, and the attentive staff enhance your stay. Select your ideal room.
Experience boutique-style rooms and villas with private balconies and terraces at Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort Hotel. With five pools and three onsite restaurants, this resort, located only 150 meters from Martinhal beach, promises a luxurious stay. Preview the accommodations.