Ecovia do Litoral - 5

Around Sagres and Cape St Vincent

You have cycled from Faro (or further east) to Sagres and had a good night's sleep. There are just a few miles to go before you can say you've reached the western end of the Ecovia do Litoral, and the southwestern tip of Europe. This could be a very easy day's cycling, but as long as the weather is fine, why not explore the Southwest Alentejo and St Vincent Coast Natural Park a bit?


Instead of following the Ecovia westwards along the coast, retrace your route northwards along the old road that runs beside the main EN268. When you reach the intersection with the Via Algarviana walking route (look out for the signs, or bring a map), follow that up a sandy track past a farm. You will come out on the metalled surface of the Caminho Agricola dos Montes which runs in a southwesterly direction across open farmland. There are clumps of bamboo growing beside the road and it would be wise to pick up a suitable cane and carry it with you for the next few miles to scare off any guard dogs that are not chained up.

You will need to cut across to a parallel agricultural road at some point (there are several linking roads off to the right), before the one you are on peters out. This parallel road turns due south and runs downhill, straight and true, towards the coast. Where the Romans ever in these parts, I wonder? When the road turns first to the right, then to the left, you will know you are about to emerge onto the Ecovia do Litoral which follows the N268 coast road to Cabo de Sao Vicente (Cape St Vincent). Cycling these last few miles can be a challenge if, as is common, there is a strong headwind. On the way, look out for the squat Beliche Fort in a wild spot on its own small headland, shortly after a pottery shop on the opposite side of the road with its wares displayed colourfully on the exterior wall.

cap_st_vincent.jpg Cape St Vincent has its own, somewhat larger fort. You may be happy to hear that within the fort's substantial walls, sheltered from the Atlantic winds, is a pleasantly sunny cafe. After a drink and a sit down you will be ready to set off back to Sagres, passing the 0km marker that denotes the start of the Ecovia. Make sure you visit Henry the Navigator's fortress, with its famous compass rose, while you are in Sagres.

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