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Top 10 things to do in Sagres

The small town of Sagres in the Western Algarve has many amazing things to do. The picturesque location of the town, its pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs, and diverse landscape, and a variety of outdoor activities make it one of the top place to visit in the Algarve. You can visit Sagres as a day trip or stay here longer. There will be plenty things to do to keep you busy.

Mareta Beach in Sagres
Mareta Beach is a must-visit place in Sagres

Suggested tours and activities in Sagres

Visit Cabo de S.Vicente

Visiting Cape St.Vincent or Cabo de Sao Vicente in Portuguese is definitely a not-to-miss thing to do in Sagres. The cape is known as the southwesternmost point of continental Europe. The dramatic cape with the lighthouse offers spectacular views of the surrounding cliffs and beaches. You get the best view of the cape and the lighthouse from the cliffs on the left-hand side (facing the cape).

The cape is 6 km northwest of Sagres. You can drive there, walk, or take a bus. There is a restaurant inside the lighthouse complex and several food stalls along the road. On the way to Cape St.Vincent, you can stop at Beliche Beach, a beautiful sandy beach surrounded by high cliffs and visit Beliche Fort, a small fortress with stunning views. From the lighthouse, you can walk along the cliffs towards Vila do Bispo following the Fishermen’s Trail.

Sunset is the best time to visit Cape St.Vincent you can watch the sun disappearing into the sea colouring the sky and the water into different shades of red and yellow. 

If you’re planning to spend some time in the Algarve I would recommend visiting Ponta da Piedade in Lagos. It’s another picturesque cape with breathtaking views.

The lighthouse at Cabo Sao Vicente in Sagres
A visit to Cabo St.Vincent is one of the top things to do in Sagres

Relax on the beach

Despite the small size of the town, there are several beautiful beaches in Sagres. Even during the peak summer season, it’s not a problem to find a spot on one of the town’s beaches. Mareta Beach at the west end of Sagres and Praia do Martinhal at the east end of the town are two long sandy beaches that are great for tanning and swimming. Both beaches are easy to access and have good facilities including toilets, parking lots, and restaurants. These two are the best beaches to come to with children. 

Baleeira Beach is a small beach at the harbour that almost disappears at high tide. It’s a nice beach to come by to see the pier and the boats but not to spend a day. The spectacular Tonel Beach, a popular surf spot is 1 km away from the town’s centre. And Beliche Beach a popular spot for travellers with campervans is 3 km north of Sagres. Getting to Beliche Beach is a bit of a challenge. You have to walk down long wooden staircases. 

Martinhal Beach at the sunset
Martinhal Beach is one of the best beaches for sunbathing in Sagres

Go surfing

Sagres is one of the most popular surfing spots in the Algarve. Surfing is one of our favourite things to do here. You can get waves here year round though in winter the waves are bigger. Praia do Tonel and Mareta Beach are two popular beaches for surfing in Sagres. It’s possible to get waves at Beliche Beach as well but the difficult access to the beach on the long staircase makes it less attractive compared to the other two beaches. Zavial Beach, 14 km east of Sagres is another popular surf spot in the area. It gets very busy even outside of the season surf schools often come here. 

There are many surf shops in the town where you can rent gear and take surfing lessons. 

Surfers at Tonel Beach in Sagres
Surfing at Tonel Beach is one of the popular things to do in Sagres

Visit Sagres Fortress

The Fortress of Sagres is a remarkable fortification construction which occupies Sagres Point, a picturesque cape 1 km outside the town. Unlike most other fortresses this one has only one wall protecting it from a potential invasion coming from the land. The rest three sides of it are protected by high rugged cliffs that are impossible to climb. The fortress occupies a vast territory and includes several landmarks. The Walls with old cannons, Rosa dos Ventos, the Church of Our Lady of Grace, A Voz do Mar maze, and a small lighthouse are the main attractions. One can spend a couple of hours exploring the territory inside the fortress and enjoying spectacular views of Mareta Beach, Praia do Tonel, and Cape St.Vincent. 

There are no restaurants inside the fortress if you’re going to spend there some time bring snacks and water with you. 

The scenery inside the Fortress complex in Sagres
A long promenade to the lighthouse inside Sagres Fortress

Go snorkelling

Snorkelling around Sagres you can see beautiful rock formations, small underwater caves, and a lot of fish. Water in Sagres is called year-round you’ll need a wetsuit for snorkelling which you can rent at a surf shop. Summer months are the best time for snorkelling in Sagres when there is less swell and better visibility. Snorkelling along the cliffs at the east side of Mareta Beach you can see a lot of fish and nice rock formations. Praia do Martinhal is a good place for snorkelling if you want to see underwater limestone formations and reefs. 

Clear and calm water at Mareta Beach in Sagres
On a nice day, snorkelling around the cliffs at Mareta Beach you can see a lot of fish. A view from the top of the cliffs

Explore the cliffs

The high cliffs surrounding the town offer breathtaking views of the coastline. The best areas to walk along the cliffs are at Cape St.Vincent, the coastline between Mareta Beach and Sagres Fortress, and the cliffs at Ponta da Atalaya viewpoint. The last one is my favourite spot for the views of Mareta Beach and Sagres Fortress. If you do a loop and walk along the cliffs from Praia da Mareta to the harbour through Ponta da Atalaya. It’s a 2.5-kilometre walk on a footpath with spectacular views. 

Watch the sunset

Watching the sunset is a must-do thing in Sagres. The cliffs of Tonel Beach and Cape St.Vincent are the two best spots for watching the sunset. Tonel Beach is in the town you can walk there for the sunset while the cape is 5 km north to get there and back is not a quick walk driving is a much better option. We’ve watched the sunset from both places and both offer spectacular views. In the peak summer months from the cliffs at Tonel Beach, you might not be able to see the sun disappearing in the water as it’ll set behind Cape St.Vincent so it’s better to watch the sunrise from there. 

Go hiking

Hiking is the best way to explore the spectacular coastline near Sagres. You can do a day hike from Sagres to Salema following the coastal route of the Rota Vicentina. The distance of the walk is 20 km. The trail is quite challenging and takes 6-7 hours to complete. On the way, you walk past several beaches including Praia do Barranco, Praia da Ingrina, and Zavial Beach. You don’t have to walk all the way to Salema. You can walk as far as you wish, turn around and walk back or take an Uber. The trail is marked both ways with blue and green strips painted on wooden poles and rocks. 

Zavial Beach is a popular surfing spot near Sagres
Zavial Beach can be reached on foot from Sagres

Do a boat tour

Your visit to Sagres can be complete without doing a boat or a kayak tour along the rugged cliffs. There is a great variety of water activities in Sagres from cliff tours to dolphin watching and SUPing. A boat tour to Cape St.Vincent offers spectacular views of the rugged cliffs and sandy beaches. On the tour, you get to see all the natural landmarks of the area. The boat goes along the coast from the harbour past Mareta Beach, Sagres Point, the Fortress, Tonel Beach, and Beliche Beach to Cabo Sao Vicente.

If you want to see some hidden beaches and caves you can do a boat tour along the southern coast. It takes you all the way to Salema past Praia do Barranco, Zavial Beach, and Praia da Figueira. A dolphin-watching tour is another popular activity in Sagres. The marine life in the Algarve is impressive. On the 2-hour tour, you get to see many dolphins and if you’re lucky Minke Whales. 

Sagres harbour with many fishermen's boats
The view of the colourful Sagres harbour from the top of the cliffs

Try local seafood

For hundreds of years before becoming a popular surfing spot Sagres was favoured by  fishermen. Nowadays many locals still work in the fishing industry. You can see many colourful fishermen’s boats at the harbour. Several restaurants in Sagres offer seafood and fish dishes where you can try freshly caught fish. Popular local species include monkfish, mackerel, sardines, clams, octopus, and moray eels. A Sereia, A Tasca, and Retiro do Pescador are some of the most popular seafood restaurants in Sagres.

Places to stay in Sagres

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