Sagres is a place still undiscovered by the big flux of Algarvian tourism.
It is the southernmost point in Portugal and in Europe! This small yet charming town is in the county of Vila do Bispo and it Portugal’s most beautiful window onto the Atlantic ocean.
With only 2000 habitants and limited tourist attractions, its beauty is connected to an irresistible array of nature activities, water sports and serenity.
You will see grand cliffs and viewpoints from which you will see the waves break dramatically. Bring your camera, you will be able to take postcard worthy pictures to show your friends.
Come get to know Sagres, its attractions and the town who has a fantastic history that involves nautical expeditions, caravels and legends.
Where to stay in Sagres?
Sagres is a small place but it has some good options for accommodation. It is visited by nature lovers, surfers and families that prefer calmer places. It has hotels and also private accommodation (Airbnb).
Public transportation is minimal and not used often. Algarve Fun recommends that you rent a car, not only to explore the coast but so that you can also book accommodation in a neighbouring villa is you choose to do so.
Centre of Sagres
Here is where you will find most people, hotels, restaurants and bars. And from which you can walk to some beaches, such as Baleeira or Poças.
In the centre you can opt for Aparthotel Navigator, Memmo Baleeira Hotel, Algarve Surf Hostel or the Mareta Beach Boutique.
Praia do Tonel
Although it is only a three minute drive from the town’s centre, we still consider it to be outside the centre as it is not easily accessible, especially in the summer’s high heat.
Praia do Tonel is the area with the nicest scenery. When you lie on the beach you will be able to see fortress of Sagres, Cabo de São Vincente (the southernmost point in Europe) , an endless turquoise sea and tall red cliffs. It is a very exclusive region and stunning scenery.
If you wish to stay close to this place, the Tonel Apartments have good quality-price and are open year round. Some apartments are on the ground floor and have a terrace (with tables and chairs) and access to a lawn and a great garden where the kids can play while parents relax.
Praia do Beliche
This is a beautiful, less visited and sheltered beach. It has difficult access via a long steep staircase that is half paved, half wooden. Without any doubt a beautiful place, but you will find great difficulty if you are carrying prams or for anyone with reduced mobility.
To stay close to Beliche beach, choose the SUP Sagres-Apartments & Stand up Paddle Tours, the Campsite or a private flat in the Esparregueiras complex.
In the Santo António area, there are the great Ponta Ruiva and Telheiro beaches, both accessible by car. The closest accommodation is Monte de Santo Antonio, an Alentejo style house that offers breakfast and where you can relax after a long day at the beach, or you can also stay at Vila do Bispo, where you will have more options.
Vila do Bispo
Vila do Bispo is where the county hall is located and where you will find services such as the health centre, fire station and supermarkets.
It is a very pleasant and typical place where you have several accommodation options: Case Mestre GuestHouse, Pure Flor de Esteva Bed & Breakfast, Hotel Mira Sagres or Quinta da Pedra.
Closer to the Castelejo beach you have the option of staying at Abrigo das Nortadas.
The Martinhal area is very close to the centre of Sagres and has the fabulous Martinhal Family Resort with seafront views of Martinhal and Rebolinhos (very exclusive) beaches, where you will find villas, apartments or you can stay at the Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort Hotel.
In this area, you’ll have access to restaurants, mini market, some shops and beach bars.
Things to visit in Sagres?
Other than soft sanded beaches hidden between the cliffs with several shades of blue that never tire there are some attractions that are also worthy of a visit:
Porto de Abrigo/Fishermen’s Shelter
The fishermen’s shelter (and other tourism boats) is a historical port right in the middle of Sagres. Here, there isn’t the luxury of a yacht marina but the fresh scent of the sea and the bustle of the men preparing their nets and cleaning their boats for another day or night of work.
Ponta da Atalaia
It is a cape that tells the story of the Muslim people that settled there in the 12th century, mosques and a madrassa. It is said that a plane that was shot down during the second world war fell at this cape.
Nowadays it is a place to watch nature and the scenery, accessed by a road that goes up to the cliff.
Fortaleza de Sagres/Sagres’ Fortress
By this steep cliff, thrashed by the winds, you can see a wall, still, in good condition, that was known as “the end of the world” as it was unknown what was beyond this wall. At its centre you will find an arms square, a magnificent compass rose* on the floor and the church of Santa Maria/Saint Mary.
Nowadays the Sagres fortress is open to the public every day so that you can enjoy its pre 18th century interior structure, the viewpoint, the lighthouse, the modernized areas, the expedition centre, the shop and the cafeteria.
Its function was to control the area from pirates and protect the fishermen with their tuna fishing net frames (for tuna fishing a labyrinth of nets is set at the bottom of the sea to attract and catch tuna).
Inside the fortress there is a chapel dedicated to Saint Catherine.
Cape St. Vincent’s lighthouse
The lighthouse of Cape St. Vincent (or Dom Fernando’s Lighthouse) was lit in 1846. It was lit by olive oil and its light reached six nautical miles.
Nowadays it has been renovated and modernized, and its light reaches thirty three nautical miles. It is one of Europe’s farthest reaching lighthouses.
It is one of the Algarvian lighthouses that you can visit inside and learn more about its history and function.
Entry: Wednesdays between 2pm and 5pm, free entry.
It is the southernmost point in Europe and has magnificent views.
Pedra das Gaivotas/ Seagull Rock
Put these coordinates into your GPS: 37.029321, -8.989585,
It will take you off the main road just north of Cape St. Vincent and it will take you to the cliff via a small dirt road.
Now look ahead.
You are looking at the Pedra das Gaivotas/ Seagull Rock.
A giant rock in the middle of the sea, inhabited only by seagulls that nest there. It is a beautiful view that makes you feel small, faced by such magnificent panoramic views.
Did you know that Sagres is one of the few places in the world where white storks are known to nest between the high cliffs?
Located at the top of the southern cliffs of Cordoama beach, this viewpoint has a panoramic view of Cordoama and Castelejo beaches, the darkest rock formations in the area, the Atlantic ocean and Vincent coast.
Ruínas da Fortaleza e Porto da Arrifana/ Fortress ruins and Arrifana Port
In a very steep place where you cannot park the car, you will find the real fishermen, surfers and nature lovers’ homes. Other than being able to visit the fortress you can enjoy fresh grilled fish or have a drink after a swim in this small beach.
You will be at a higher level than the sea so you might have the chance to get some amazing pictures, just as if you had a drone.
Sagres’ beaches are nested among the cliffs, their sand is white and although the water is colder than the rest of the Algarve, it is nice and translucent.
Many beaches have waves, which pleases surfers and SUP’ers and you will have the chance to take a class on one of these healthy sports, tuned in with the scenery and the environment of the region.
Grab your towel, your sunscreen, hat/sun umbrella, as you will need it, and take a look at the list of beaches that Algarve Fun have found for your holidays.
Sagres’ area has more than 20 beaches, each with its own charm. As you wander the area, get off the road every time you see a sign for the beach and get to know another Algarvian corner.
We leave you with the most famous ones:
Martinhal beach (37.019795, -8.925204)
In this beach with calm waves, you will see the small Martinhal islets that are at sea in front of the beach. It is an amazing view and some more adventurous people swim there when the tide is low to explore the caves.
Enjoy the 800 metres of white sand at your feet, parking, nautical sports centre and two restaurants.
Baleeira beach (37.011716, -8.930433)
It is the beach at the centre of Sagres’ vila right next to the Fishermen’s shelter.
It doesn’t have any cliffs but it has rocks and stones. Its position allows you to see the Sagres bay and the boats moving to and from the port.
Marteta beach (37.005608, -8.937977)
With an extensive sand area, located in the Sagres town, this beach is one of the most visited in the summer. It is good for a swim and has easy access to restaurants.
Tonel’s beach (37.005831, -8.947800)
This beach has access to crystal clear waters where you can see the beginning of the cliffs. From this beach north wise, the cliffs become more and more dramatic and steep.
Beliche beach (37.025808, -8.964140)
Sheltered from the predominant winds in this area of the Algarve, Beliche beach is as beautiful as challenging. To get there you need to climb down a staircase that is safe, but steep.
There is a restaurant at the beginning of the stairs. We recommend you take snacks and drinks with you.
This beach is very popular among surfers.
Enclosed and wrapped by dark steep rocky formations, the scenery is a bit different, but the white sanded beach is still very pretty.
Amado’s beach (37.167490, -8.902273)
It is an amazing beach in the neighbouring area Carrapateira. It is spectacular and has a hint of Alentejo’s beach traits with its surrounding vegetation.
It is very calm and ideal for families.
It is also considered to be one of the best beaches in Europe to surf in.
Arrifana beach (37.292319, -8.864604)
Located in a shell shaped bay, it is well sheltered from the cold European northern winds.
It has an extensive sand area, with over 700 metres. If you look into the sea you will see a straight dark rock emerging from the sea: Pedra da Agulha/ Needle’s Rock.
Its is good for diving, surfing and bodyboarding.
From Arrifana beach you can see the Arrifana Fortress.
If you would like to have a look at the beaches live feed, it has a camera that feeds directly into this link:https://beachcam.meo.pt/livecams/arrifana/
Don’t worry about privacy with the video, it is only for the surfers to check the sea before choosing a beach, it is impossible to see people’s faces on the sand.
Which is the best time to visit Sagres?
Sagres has a Mediterranean climate. The summers are hot and dry and the winters are mild. Any time of the year is good to visit. Yet, if you want to relax on the beach, the best time is between May and October.
In the winter the views are just as fabulous but as the area is flat and higher than the sea levels, it gets cold humid winds.
But a lot milder than any other area in the North of Portugal.
The medium temperature in Sagres is 23°C in August and 15°C in January. Water temperature is between 17°C e 23°C.
You can check the climate data for Sagres and other areas in the Algarve here:
Where to eat in Sagres?
You are in a fishing village, so what you will find the most are fish and seafood restaurants.
Here the king of seafood is Goose Barnacles , caught on the rocks in Sagres, it is a clam that has a sea like taste.
The best place to try them is Café Correia in Vila do Bispo.
If you wander through the town in Sagres, you will find several unmissable restaurants, at friendly prices on Comandante Matoso Street (the main street).
Sagres at night
There are some places where you can enjoy a drink and listen to some music. The best known place is Dromedário on the main street, the Água Salgada bar very popular among surfers and the Chiringuito Last Chance.
If you are looking for a place to dance into the night, you have Topas disco, which is the only one in town, so it is a popular meeting point.
How to get to Sagres?
By taxi or transfer: it takes around an hour and a half from Faro International Airport.
By public transport: you can take a train to Lagos and from there get a taxi or bus.
If you are spending your holidays elsewhere in the Algarve, you can visit Sagres for a day. It’s worth it, as this place is a must-see. We recommend Sagres Tours as with a guide you go directly to the main attractions and spend no time searching.
Activities in Sagres
From scuba diving to boat tours of the caves, bodyboard and windsurfing lessons, deep sea fishing, dolphin and whale observation, all in a very lull environment.
The pedestrian walk to observe the fauna and flora are also big attractions.
One of the best ways to explore this area is with a Segway Tour, you can feel the breeze on your face as you stroll along the flat streets of Sagres and glide to the cliffs with the Atlantic Ocean always in company.
If you prefer something more adventurous, the full day West Coast and Sagres Jeep Tour is a great option. It begins in Sagres, passes in picturesque village, lunch, includes a visit to Cape Saint Vincent and then to a secret beauty spot to admire the view and wildlife, where you can only reach with these large wheeled vehicles. Come find out!
A half day Jeep Tour to Sagres is recommended for those who don’t have much time but don’t want to miss this unique place in the Algarve. Includes a swim on a secret beach!
Ever thought of learning to surf? Sagres is the Algarve’s Mecca for surfers, there are plenty of beaches to learn and schools available for surf and SUP lessons or rental for students of any level.
Another tour that can make it very interesting is the Lagos, Sagres and Cabo São Vicente Tour. Departures take place around lunchtime and return to hotels around 7 pm. You will visit a church in diamonds, a slave market, the westernmost point of Europe, a lighthouse, a fortress and many stunning cliffs. It is a very complete and very culturally rich tour.
Sagres is an unequalled place in the world with unique species and landscapes that will make you want to come back for more.