Cabo da Roca, The Edge Of The World And The End of Europe

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Life in Portugal, Lifestyle and culture

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Cabo da Roca is the most western point in Portugal and all of Europe, most often referred to as “the edge of the world”. It is a rugged coastline adorned with rocky cliffs overlooking the roaring Atlantic Ocean; and one of the best views in Portugal.

The area is very isolated with only a lighthouse, cafe and gift shop to explore. But it is the sound of the raging waves crashing against the enormous cliff faces that attract thousands of visitors year-round.

Here we discuss all about Cabo do Roca’s history, how to get there, what to do, where to stay, where to eat, and what beaches you can visit nearby.

The history of Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca is located at a latitude of exactly 38º 47’north and longitude 9º 30′ west. These coordinates are very important for those sailing along the coast, as it is the most westerly point of mainland Europe. Records indicate that there was once a fort on Cabo da Roca in the 17th century that played an important role in guarding the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor. It is said to have formed a defensive line along the coast, especially during the Peninsular Wars. Today, there are only traces of this fort, while the main attraction is the view and the lighthouse. You’re going to be very close to Estoril, why don’t you take the chance to visit this glamorous town?

How to get there?

  • From Lisbon? The best way to reach Cabo da Roca from Lisbon is by car; the journey will take approximately 30-minutes. However, if a car is not an option you can also use public transport. You can take buses #035 and #403 or journeys by train to Sintra or Cascais, and then continue from there.
  • From Sintra? Getting to Cabo da Roca from Sintra by car takes just 20-minutes. Bus #403 will also get you there.
  • From Cascais? The drive from Cascais to Cabo da Roca will only take about 15-20 minutes. And bus #403 also passes through here.

Hiring a car in Portugal? Read our ultimate guide to driving in Portugal here!

What to do in Cabo da Roca?

Enjoy the sunset!

This is 100% one of Portugal’s most beautiful locations to watch the sunset. Imagine overlooking the incredible rocky coastline and hearing the sound of thundering waves, all while watching the sky transform into a wonderful splash of pinks and blues.

Go for a hike in Cabo da Roca

Since Cabo da Roca is situated on a coastline, there is also a mix of hiking or bicycle trails to try. These are considered quite challenging, so make sure your fitness is up to an adequate standard before going. There are a variety of short and long routes, that can be explored in detail here.

See a dinosaur’s footprint

According to scientific studies, there are actual dinosaur footprints located on the cliffs of the Cabo Espichel coastline. Along the weathered tracks are two sets of footprints from different periods: the Pedra da Mua and the Jazidas de Lagosteiros. The footprints are thought to be made by two herbivores and carnivores, with a total of 66 footprints distributed across 11 tracks and some others that are isolated. Exploring Cascais or Sintra? Read this guide for your Perfect Day in Cascais! And this one for your everything about Visiting Sintra!

Where to sleep in Cabo da Roca?

  • Quinta do Cabo Guesthouse (from €142/night) – Situated in Azóia, the bed and breakfast offer guests a fantastic sun terrace, outdoor swimming pool, and bar. There is even a tennis court and billiards room. All rooms are private so perfect for couples or families.

  • Pura Vida Windmill Lodge (from €112/night) – Also in Azoia, this is a cozy bed and breakfast with a swimming pool and complimentary continental breakfast.
  • VIP Inn Miramonte Hotel (from €48/night) – Surrounded by pine forests and the beautiful Sintra Mountain Range, this hotel is a 3-minute drive from the beach. They also offer guests the use of a games room, 24/7 reception, and a swimming pool.
  • Tivoli Sintra (from €143/night) – Situated in the heart of the magical town of Sintra, this hotel is set in a tranquil hillside, offering panoramic views across a dramatic landscape. There is also a panoramic bar and restaurant to enjoy these views.
  • The Oitavos (from €215/night) – A luxurious 5-star hotel combining ultramodern design with an untouched natural location in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. It features pools, sports facilities, an Equestrian Centre, Helipad and the award-winning Oitavos golf course. Stay here for the royal treatment!

Where to eat in Cabo da Roca?

  • Refúgio da Roca – Delicious Portuguese meal in an affordable, cozy restaurant. The ambiance, service, and food will exceed your expectations. Make sure to try the mixed seafood pasta, or pretty much any seafood dish.
  • Occidente Cafe – Fantastic Portuguese meals served in a family-run restaurant off the beaten track. While the menu is small, the quality and flavors are not. Try the prawns or mussels paired with a glass of vinho verde!
  • 3Gomes – A traditional Portuguese restaurant with a modern touch. It is cozy, featuring a beautiful historic fireplace and a small terrace to sit outside for guests. The seafood, steaks, and desserts are all exceptional!  The squid kebab is my favorite.
  • A Casa Do Luís – Definitely one of the best restaurants in Azoia, serving the freshest of fish. Definitely, a must-try if passing through. Try the grilled squid or swordfish.
  • Moinho de Don Quixote – Delicious restaurant with a fantastic view of the hillside and coast. It is very cozy with an outdoor terrace and a warm interior. The nachos here are surprisingly popular, but the rest of their menu is great too.

Are you a foodie? There are amazing restaurants in Lisbon, nor very far from Cabo da Roca. Check out our list of best Michelin star restaurants.

Nearby beaches

  • Praia da Adraga – A stunning beach on the North Atlantic coast, even recommended in British newspapers. Known for its rocky cliffs and golden sand, this is the perfect place to set a beach towel.
  • Praia Grande Rodízio – A popular surfing beach on the edge of the Serra de Sintra National Park. There are often massive waves and a powerful swell, so only suitable for advanced level surfers and swimmers.
  • Praia da Ursa – One of the most popular beaches nearby Sintra and Cabo da Roca, Ursa Beach is a secluded beach that is very difficult to reach. But once there you are rewarded with a mesmerizing rocky coastline, golden sand, and crystal clear water. We only recommend if you are reasonably fit, and don’t recommend staying after dark.

Discover more of Portugal’s beaches! Read this guide to the best beaches in Portugal today!

Final Note

Bring a jacket! It is often very windy at Cabo da Roca, and a completely different to temperature to that in Lisbon, Cascais, or even Sintra!

about the author
I'm a freelance copywriter and free-spirited traveller from Australia. I fell in love with Portugal when I arrived here and hope to share with you all the reasons why.

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