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Cabo da Roca Portugal

Cabo da Roca Portugal; most westernmost point of Europe with stunning cliffs

Cabo the Roca Portugal is a great place to visit from Lisbon. This is the most westerly point in the country, but also that of mainland Europe. Let's look at all the sights you can see here and if a trip to Cabo da Roca is worth it.

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Discover Cabo da Roca

A quick overview

 What to see? Cabo the Roca is the most western point in mainland Europe.

Costs? Totally free 🙂 But you do need transportation to get there.

Where? A cape in the Sintra mountain range, close to the Portuguese capital city Lisbon.

Worth it? Yes! It’s easy to reach and easy to combine with a visit to Sintra or Cascais.

What is Cabo da Roca Portugal?

Cabo da Roca Portugal is the most western point of the country and continental Europe. The cape is near Lisbon, and it’s a popular spot to visit. Cape Roca is a whopping 140 meters (460 ft) high, providing excellent views over the Atlantic Ocean. It was once known as Promontorium Magnum by the Romans, and it was often referred to as the Rock of Lisbon during the Age of Sail between the mid-16th and mid-19th centuries. Cabo da Roca is located within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, just west of Lisbon city centre.

Cabo da Roca Portugal things to do

Cabo da Roca Lighthouse

Aside from stunning cliffs, there isn’t much to see at Cabo da Roca. But one building stands out: a beacon of light has dominated Cabo da Roca since 1772 to protect ships. It was the first lighthouse of many to come. Cabo da Roca Lighthouse or Farol do Cabo da Roca, is located 165 meters (541 ft) above sea level, and it was the first new purpose-built lighthouse in Portugal. Previous lighthouses were built on existing platforms or beacons.

It was decided in 1758 by the Marquis of Pombal that six lighthouses be built along the Portuguese coast to assist with navigating ships. Cabo da Roca Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse in the country. The structure is 22 metres tall and is surrounded by nine other buildings. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is not open to the public.

The monument

Close to the parking lot and close to the cliffs, you’ll discover another highlight. You’ll find a stone monument with an emblematic cross at the westernmost point of continental Europe. The memorial contains a plaque stating it is indeed the westernmost point of continental Europe, and there is a text as a homage to the Portuguese poet Luís de Camões. The text reads:


Aqui… (Here)
Onde a terra se acaba (where the land ends)
E o mar comeca (and the sea begins)


At this westerly point, it was believed, up until the 14th century, that the land ends here where the sea begins! You can see wide and far, so it’s no surprise! The plaque also reveals the coordinates and height: latitude 38°47 north, longitude 9°30 east, and altitude 140 meters above sea level.

The gift shop

Aside from the stunning views, the lighthouse and the monument, there is little to see around Cabo da Roca. Most tourists will stay 20 to 30 minutes to enjoy the views. Remember, there can be strong winds along this rocky coast, so be sure to dress warm. After you visit Cabo da Roca, you can take a look at the gift shop. If you need help deciding what to buy in the souvenir shop, check out this article about the most loved souvenirs from Portugal. They may have something nice to bring home for you.

The beaches

The western coast of Portugal has many beautiful beaches, and at Cabo da Roca Portugal you’ll find several of them. One of the most dramatic is Praia da Ursa or Bear Beach. Ursa Beach is very near, but you’re in for a hike to reach the cliffs. If you’d like to visit the beach, you’ll be hiking about 40 minutes from the road. The windswept cliffs and rock formations are some of the best in Portugal, and Ursa Beach is well worth a visit! If you like stunning beaches and hidden gems, Praia da Ursa is not to be missed.

Please note: the trail is very rocky and steep in places. You don’t need to be an athlete, but a certain fitness level will be helpful. The same goes for Praia da Aroeira, which you can only reach after a cliff walk. You find Praia da Aroeira between Cabo da Roca and Praia da Ursa. Further south, you can see Praia de Assentiz and Praia do Louriçal, two small beaches hidden between the rocks. You can see both beaches from the top of Mirador Sul do Cabo da Roca.

There are some more accessible sandy beaches nearby as well. Take, for example, Praia da Adraga, which you can easily reach by car. Praia da Adraga is a 15-minute drive from Cabo da Roca, and this beach has some stunning stock formations to the left-hand side as well. Or visit Praia Grande do Rodízio, a beach that families much love. This beach also has excellent facilities and restaurants nearby.

Hiking trails

As you can tell from reaching these incredible beaches, some fantastic hiking trails are along the Portuguese coast. So before you hit the road back to Lisbon, it’s a fabulous idea to discover the hikes at the most westerly point of Europe. Many trails follow the cliffs, and you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Hiking north will be your best bet. Praia da Ursa is around 1 kilometre to walk, and you’ll reach Praia da Adraga within 2 kilometres from Cabo da Roca.

The hike towards Praia de Assentiz (south) is around 800 meters, and Praia de Louriçal is 1 kilometre away. These two hidden beaches are not openly accessible to reach by foot. Sintra-Cascais Natural Park offers many more incredible nature trails through the woods and mountains. So, after a stunning coastal walk, head over to Sintra and discover the fairytale-like landscape!

Flora at Cabo da Roca Portugal

Plant life is also pretty amazing along Cabo da Roca, and especially during a hike, you can see some stunning plants along the way. One of the most common plants is the Hottentot fig or Carpobrotus Edulis. It’s a ground plant with succulent leaves and beautiful yellow flowers. Besides Hottentot-fig, it’s also named ice plant or sour fig.

How to reach Cabo the Roca?

Cabo da Roca is a well-visited site in Portugal, so let’s take a look at how you can reach the cape from Lisbon, Cascais, and Sintra.

Driving to Cabo da Roca

The easiest way to reach Cabo da Roca is by car. It takes around 1 hour to drive from Lisbon, and from Sintra Town and Cascais, the journey takes just under 30 minutes. Cabo da Roca is located close to the village of Azóia, and there are many places to see in this area. Take a day trip to the coastal town Praia das Maçãs or marvel at the views at Azenhas do Mar.

Renting a car is an excellent idea to discover more places along the Sintra coastline. Rentals are widely available in Lisbon or at the airport. Check this post for information about your rental car in Portugal, or check the best deals with DiscoverCars below. A large parking lot at Cabo da Roca has plenty of space for buses and cars.

Take the bus to Cabo da Roca

Many tourists make a day trip to Cabo da Roca by public transportation. Two bus services are available, one from Sintra and one from Cascais. The Cabo da Roca bus line is 1624 that travels between Sintra and Cascais. For the current timetable, check the Carris Metropolitana website

Usually, the bus is available between 9.40 AM and 7.40 PM. In winter and during holidays, there will be other times available.

From Cascais, it takes just over 30 to 40 minutes, and to Sintra Town, around 40 minutes to one hour. The bus station in Cascais is just outside the train station.

Sintra Circular Line

If you stay in Sintra, you can also take bus line 1253, the Sintra Circular Line. This line operates more frequently and starts just outside Sintra train station. Click here to see the current timetable on the Carris Metropolitana site.

This bus is available from 6:30 AM until 8 PM (depending on the season, so be sure to double-check this). For more information about public transport, check this article.

By taxi

If you’re in Lisbon, you can take a train to Sintra Town or Cascais. After your train journey, you can take a bus to the most westerly point. There is also the option to take a taxi if needed. Try Bolt or Uber for competitive prices, or take a regular taxi instead of public transport.


From Sintra to Cabo da Roca it will. cost you somewhere between € 15,00 to € 30,00. From Cascais, the journey usually costs from € 15,00 upwards.

With an organised tour to Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca is one of the most famous day trips from Lisbon. Tours often combine a visit to Pena Palace or Quinta da Regaleira with visits to Cabo da Roca and Cascais. So you’ll get to see 3 or 4 sights at no extra cost. All you need to do is sit back and relax, and during many tours, your guide will provide you with a lot of information about Sintra and the palaces. A day trip is popular, so be sure to book on time. Below, you’ll discover some fabulous options.

Things to do near Cabo the Roca

Aside from the lighthouse and the cliffs, you can visit a few more places nearby. Make a trip to the Convent of the Capuchos, for example, a hidden gem in the Sintra forests. It’s also known as the Convent of Cork, as its structure is totally made of natural materials, including cork. The parish of Colares is another hidden gem; from here, you can easily reach Praia das Maçãs and Azenhas do Mar.

Sintra Town is busier, but there are many beautiful sights, from famous palaces such as Palácio Nacional da Pena to stunning sites such as Quinta da Regaleira. Other must-see attractions are Biester Palace, the Moorish Castle, Sintra National Palace, and Park and Palace of Monserrate. You can combine a few of these places on a day trip from the bustling city of Lisbon, but staying in the area is a holiday in itself!

Staying overnight in the area of Cabo the Roca

There is little around Cabo da Roca, but the area is an excellent location for a holiday outside Lisbon! The nearby village Colares is fabulous, but Praia das Maçãs (Apple Beach) and Sintra Town are popular destinations. Examples are the luxurious Tivoli Palácio de Seteais Sintra and the Penha Longa Resort. Adraga Patio House is great for families, and when you travel on a budget, Lanui Guest House is fabulous. Check out the hotels below and book your dream destination for your trip to Portugal.

Booking.com

FAQ

Cabo da Roca is a great place to visit in combination with some nearby sights. You can join a day trip from Lisbon, take public transport, take a taxi or drive the Cabo da Roca. There are lovely towns nearby as well as mesmerising beaches.

Cabo da Roca is the most western point of continental Europe. You can also find one of the oldest Portuguese lighthouses here.

From Lisbon to Cabo da Roca is most accessible by car or taxi. You can also take a train to Sintra or Cascais and continue your journey by bus. Many tour operators offer excursions to Cabo da Roca as well.

Conclusion

Cabo da Roca is the most westerly point in Portugal, continental Europe and even the Eurasian landmass. At this location, you can see a lighthouse and a monument. Stunning cliffs and beaches surround the area. That makes it an excellent destination for hikes to, for example, Praia da Ursa. Cabo da Roca is only a short but challenging walk from here. You can reach Cabo da Roca by car, taxi, and public transport.

You can also join an organised tour to Cabo da Roca if you prefer. Cabo a Roca is very popular amongst tourists, but you can easily escape the busier areas after a short walk. Be mindful that the weather can change quickly here, and bring extra clothes if needed.

Are you curious to visit more capes in Portugal? Check out Cabo Espichel, where you can even find ancient dinosaur footprints!

Written by Marga

Written by Marga

Content creator, travel writer and photographer

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I’m Marga, the blogger and photographer behind this site! I live in Lisbon, and I’m a cat-mum to 13-year-old Savage. I love coffee, cheese, a good book and exploring this beautiful country. I write about Lisbon and the rest of Portugal, and I hope this website will help as an inspiration for your holiday.

10 Responses

  1. We really wanted to visit Cabo da Roca as a day trip last time we were in Lisbon, but didn’t have time. But now reading your post, it may be better to just have a base around Cabo da Roca and explore the area and go on some hikes from there.

    1. The hikes are phenomenal! Most people just stop at the cape for 20-30 minutes and leave. If you have time you´ll be amazed by the beauty around! Enjoy 🙂

  2. Visiting the westernmost point of Europe sounds like a cool thing to do. I always like going to those types of places- like the southernmost point of the continental US in Key West.

  3. Lovely photos and thanks for the happy memories!! We loved our visit ( via our vintage camper van) to Cabo da Roca on one of our long stay explorations of Portugal.

    1. Ooooooh that sounds amazing! I believe there are some places also where you can stay overnight in the camper. That would be some view to wake up with!

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