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Vila do Bispo » Sagres

20,5 Km

This trail brings us closer to the culture, geology and biodiversity of this extreme southwest of Europe, a unique and special place.

In terms of its climate, its distinct chalky soil and its proximity to the sea, the coast of Sagres and Cabo de São Vicente is quite unique, and was classified as Sagres Biogenetic Reserve in 1988. It is home to endemic species, occurring exclusively in this region and along on the southwest coast of Portugal. These endemic species include Biscutella vicentina, Diplotaxis vicentina, Hyacinthoides vicentina, Herniaria algarvica, Cistus palhinhae, Teucrium vicentinum, Thymus camphoratus, Linaria algarviana, Bellevalia hackelii and Silene rothmaleri (endemic to this reserve).

The peculiar rock formation of Telheiro Beach is a geological heritage invaluable for scientific research. It is highly recommended to go down to this beach in order to observe this fantastic geomonument. At the top of the cliff, you can observe raised beaches, that is, historic traces of sea erosion when the ocean was at a much higher level. Beneath these deposits is Silves sandstone with its fantastic reddish color, more than 200 million years old. Finally, at the base of the cliff, are schists and greywackes more than 300 million years old, broken and folded, the “root” of an old mountain chain, that has since been devastated by erosion.

Sagres is best place in Europe for observing migratory seabirds, such as scopoli’s shearwater, great black-backed gull, great skua, sandwich tern and other terns. Especially when the weather is bad, these species can be observed from land. When the weather is good, it is the dolphins that attract your attention, traveling through the sea off the coastline. In October, don’t miss the famous Sagres birdwatching festival. In addition to migratory birds, Sagres is home to an isolated population of red-billed chough (Phyrrocorax phyrrocorax), which nests on escarpments and feeds on pasture fields.

Sagres means “sacred” and for three millennia, this was one of the limits of the known world within the extreme southwest of Europe. For the peoples who sailed from the Mediterranean (Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans and Arabs), Cabo de São Vicente was the frontier for mare incognitum and was known as the Finis Terrae, that is, the End of the World. A legend says that the relics of a Christian martyr named São Vicente, arrived there in the 8th century, adrift in a boat guarded by two crows. The cult of São Vicente became so important that D. Afonso Henriques, after taking Lisbon from the Moors, had the relics collected and transferred there to made São Vicente the patron saint of the city.

Where to start

Vila do Bispo
Praça da República, next to the Mother Church, following to the municipal market along the Historical Way marked with red and white.

Sagres
In the Sagres Garden, next to the tourism office.

Datasheet

Degree of Difficulty: Average

Extension: 20,5KM
Approximate duration: 7 Std

Accumulated ascent: 150m
Accumulated descent: 200m

Maximum ALTITUDE: 150m
Minimum ALTITUDE: 20m

Recommended Season: September till June

Rules and Recommendations

THE CIRCULATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES PUTS WALKERS AT RISK

AVOID DOING THE HISTORICAL WAY ON A MOTOR CYCLE OR IN A JEEP, LOOK INTO OTHER OPTIONS

DO NOT LIGHT FIRES

SEVERAL FARMS AND CATTLE HERDS ARE PROTECTED BY GUARD DOGS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION

BE CAUTIOUS WITH CATTLE. ALTHOUGH GENTLE, THEY DO NOT LIKE STRANGERS APPROACHING THEIR CALVES

THESE TRAILS PASS BY PRIVATE PROPERTY. RESPECT IT AND CLOSE GATES AND FENCES YOU WILL FIND ON THE WAY

THERE ARE VERY FEW SUPPORT SERVICES ALONG THE TRAILS. BRING WATER AND FOOD SUPPLIES WITH YOU.

IN SOME PARTS OF THE TRAILS YOU WILL HAVE TO CROSS PAVED ROADS. BE CAREFUL!

YOU WILL FIND SEVERAL LOCATIONS IDEAL FOR PICNICS. DO NOT, IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LEAVE TRASH BEHIND

BE FRIENDLY WITH THE LOCALS, TELL THEM WHY YOU’RE THERE AND SHARE EXPERIENCES.

Tips

Except for the final section, on arrival at the lighthouse, there is no supply spot during the journey.

Take advantage of your stay in Sagres for a nautical excursion for whale and sea birds watching.

Warnings

The first part of this trail corresponds to the Historical Way, marked only in white and red.

When arriving at Telheiro Beach, carefully walk down the wooden staircase. From there, the marking can be spotted by piles of stones. Walk with the utmost attention so that you do not go off the right track. If you can, when you find fallen piles, rearrange the stones for future hikers.

This section overlaps with other routes. Pay attention to the signs.

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