Rocks of the Algarve: The rugged south coast
Places to go if you like rocks (and heights):
1. Cape Saint Vincent (Cabo de São Vicente)
On the very southeastern tip of Portugal, headlands reach out via sheer cliffs into the Atlantic ocean. This tip has the second most powerful lighthouse in Europe, to guard ships from the rocks and guide them towards Lisbon. Both sides of this tip made for some phenomenal scenery; as with all amazing places where you could fall to your death, the Europeans saw fit to leave everyone to themselves to be responsible for their own steps instead of putting up guardrails.
2. Praia do Beliche
Not far down the road is the very scenic beach which has inspired me to return to Portugal sometime in September when the weather is still hot enough to swim. Some keen surfers were seen below, and within the sheltered beach I feel that it would make the perfect spot for a holiday.
3. Sagres Fortress
Not just a fortress, but also a school of navigation, the ruins of Sagres Fortress remain impressive if you can turn your mind back to a time when people were exploring the earth by ship. A giant sundial is formed into the ground, and panoramic views open from every side. I wish we would have had another hour or two to take a walk to the very point of the fortress; now I have a reason to return I guess.
4. Ponta da Piedade
I call them stone cathedrals. Just a short drive from Lagos, this beautiful point of stone sculptures carved by the ocean stood in the evening sun. We relaxed for the last part of the day to watch the sun shift the monoliths to red and gold against the deep blue.
If you aren't into rocks, you probably won't be into the south coast of Portugal. But then again, there's always partying.