The western coast of the Algarve between Sagres and Odeceixe in the north near the border with the Alentejo, which is more than 50 km long, presents a completely different scenario for holidays. The climate is harsher here, the rocks are steeper and rougher and the inset sandy beaches more exposed to the westerly winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Surfers and paraglider will find excellent conditions all year round; lovers of nature and hikers will enjoy the untouched landscape of the nature reserve and its special flora and fauna on the plateau of the cliff top. Watching the migrating birds in October during their stop-over on their flight to their winter quarters in Africa is an annual highlight.
The western coast Costa Vicentina between Sagres and Odeceixe
The so-called "Costa Vicentina", the western coast of the Algarve stretches over more than 60 km from Cape St.Vincent, the south-western most corner of the European continent, to Odeceixe on the Algarve-Alentejo border. The rugged rocks of the steep coast are broken up by small sandy bays.
The landscape is still, generally, unspoilt by tourism and rich in many different types of flora and fauna. The Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e da Costa Vicentina with 70.000 ha it is one of Portugal's largest nature reserves. The Reserva Biogenética de Sagres between Cabo de São Vicente and Ponta de Sagres has a unique ecological system, which attracts ornithologists from all over the world during the autumn.
The most important places in the Costa Vicentina
The best known place on the west coast is Sagres. This was of historical importance under Henry the Navigator during the Age of the Portuguese Discoveries. Today Sagres boasts one of the best fish markets in Europe and is home to various surf camps and schools. The hamlets of Burgau and Salema, located on the southern coast of the natural park east of Sagres, are well known as holiday destinations.
The little municipality Vila do Bispo in the interior is almost untouched by any tourist activities. Further to the north the municipality of Aljezur is situated on a creek, the Ribeira de Aljezur, a few miles away from the coast. The accommodation here and in the surrounding areas including Odeceixe is less sophisticated than you find in the tourist hot spots
Sports & Leisure
Sports and Leisure facilities in the Costa Vicentina
The sandy beaches on the west coast are surrounded by bays of steep rocks and are exposed to the wind. The climate is harsher than in other parts of the Algarve but the surging swell from the Atlantic is spectacular, attracting surfers and paraglider in particular. Nature lovers will especially appreciate this calm and almost unspoilt paradise.
The westernmost golf course of the Algarve, Santo António Golf, formerly known as Parque da Floresta, is situated near the village of Budens on the EN125 between Lagos and Vila do Bispo. Two other courses, Espiche Golf and Boavista Golf are situated on the outskirts of Lagos.
In October the areas around Sagres and Cape St. Vincent are particularly sought out by migratory birds. Most of the species that make their way to Africa each winter pass through here, particularly the great glider birds that circle for hours on the thermal air currents. To take advantage of this phenomenon, the World Bird Watchers’ Festival is held here every year, offering visitors the chance to take part in walks organized by specialists, whose explanations make the bird watching experience even more exciting.
All year round the Costa Vicentina is a paradise for hikers enjoying the pleasure of unspoilt nature. The heath on the high plateau on top of the coast is already lavishly in flower during the first months of the year, and the cliffs offer great views to the impressive coastline.
Around Vila do Bispo and Raposeira, Neolithic menhirs have been found, together with human footprints which are almost 5000 years old. In olden times this area was considered to be a sacred site as the end of the known world.