Romans called Cabo da Roca "Promontorium Magnum". Right up to the Age of Discovery it was considered the edge of the world. Atlantic winds create a habitat for only the hardiest and low-laying fauna adding to the rugged beauty of the area. For visitors, the amazing panoramic views over the Serra de Sintra and the coastline are the allure. Precarious hiking trails of various lengths follow the topography of the headland. The cliffs below are constantly pounded by mighty Atlantic waves. This is an ideal breeding ground for the prized Goose Barnacles (Percebes), a delicacy in many local restaurants.
Located at latitude 38º 47´north and longitude 9º 30´west is a monument indicating the most westerly spot of mainland Europe. On it, an inscription says "land ends and the sea begins" written by Luís de Camões and a crucifix crowns the stone structure.
Historical records date the fort ruins at Cabo da Roca from the 17th century. It was once one of many fortified structures forming a defensive line guarding the mouth of the Tejo and Lisbon beyond. The first lighthouse to stand here utilised the fort's foundations and came into service in 1772. It was the first new purpose-built lighthouse constructed in Portugal. However, the current 22-metre-tall structure originates from 1842. Standing 150m obove the waves, the lighthouse can shine its 1,000-watt 28 miles (46km) out to see.
Cabo da Roca has no buildings other than the lighthouse, the coffee shop and gift shop/tourist office. The car park here is free. Most visitors stay for 30-40 minutes, depending on how bracing the wind is. There's half an hour's wait between buses which route joins Cascais with Sintra. Try to time your visit for sunset to admire a true feast for the eyes.
From Sintra follow the N247 17km (10.5 mi) West via Colares to Cabo da Roca.
• Carris Metropolitana bus #1253 leaves from Sintra Train station to Cabo da Rocha.