September 12, 2010

Walking in the Rain in Sagres

It's February 18th and the rain is coming down on the "Algarve", again.  But it didn't stop our plans to visit "Sagres", the most southerly community in Portugal and the most south-westerly in continental Europe.
Cabo de São Vicente, photo courtesy of

Now we picked Sagres today because I read that there is a lighthouse there, and I must have a picture to add to my collection!  There is some great history there too.  "Henry the Navigator" built a fortress on the windswept cliffs and, according to tradition, a school of navigation and shipyard.

Little remains of Prince Henry's original fortress: the walls that can be seen are part of the 17th century fort.

Once inside these ancient walls, we were able to walk around and do some exploring.  Still visible is the giant pebble wind compass, the "Rosa dos Vento" 141 feet in diameter, said to have been used by Henry.

The only building still surviving and thought to have been around in more or less its present form in Henry's day, is the starkly simple little church within the fortress, "Nossa Senhora da Graça".

I actually loved how they have not tried to restore the canon's that are placed strategically around the parameters of the fortress to fight off intruders back in the 1700's.

But with all this history, the thing that amazed me the most were the fishermen who come here to try and get their catch for the day.  They actually pay the fee to enter and then pick their spot on the cliffs.  Now maybe this would be okay on a nice calm sunny day.  But today the rain is pouring down and the wind is howling, and these guys are standing on the edge of the cliffs to catch a fish!  You gotta want it bad!

We fought the rain as we walked out to the point where I could see a little lighthouse.  Not very impressive, but a lighthouse none the same.

But this is the lighthouse I wanted to get a closer look at.....Cabo de São Vicente!

This lighthouse has provided the guiding beam that safely directs the hundreds of ships that pass the Cape every year from the inevitable destruction that would otherwise occur.

Bummer that it was raining so hard and we were already soaking wet, because I would have loved to have taken a walk around this beauty!

Well it's time to head back to Ferragudo and get dried out for tomorrows adventure!

If you would like to see more pictures of our day, click here, "Where's Debbie" and then on the album "Sagres"


  1. Hi Debbie, Sorry it was raining that day ---but I love seeing the lighthouse.. My hubby would love to see the old fortress.

    I cannot believe those fishermen can sit on that cliff --and fish from there... What if a big fish pulls them in????? Yipes!!!!

    Thanks for sharing --especially the lighthouse.

  2. I've read a lot about Henry the Navigator, so it was very interesting to see your pictures taken at the location of his school. The wind compass and church are especially interesting to me.
    I think you feel the way about lighthouses that we do about waterfalls. A waterfall is a waterfall regardless of how small.

  3. Hi Debbie,
    That is an incredible place an you did a nice job of documenting it. I love the fishermen on the cliffs. It gives me vertigo to look at them.

  4. Stunning pictures, all of them! It appears that the fishermen are taking their life in their hands. That ground compass, goodness, how would one use such a thing? And how did it keep from getting buried over? I LOVE the tiny church!

  5. Nice post with excellent pictures. The pictures alone would make me want to go there, because they show how much character the place has!


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