Sagres is a small town in the south-west of Portugal which until now has largely escaped from the frenetic construction developments in other parts of the Algarve.
While it was originally a Roman city, which they thought was the end of the world, from where they used to, and still, watch the sun sink into the ocean every evening, its modern history begins in the fifteenth century when in 1420, with great foresight, it was established as a training place for sailors and seafarers. As a result the Portuguese sailors were the first to pass Cape Bojardan in West Africa in 1438 and to go around the Capua Tormesntuosa in 1498 which later had its name changed to the cape of Good Hope because they felt there was then a good hope of reaching the Spice Islands. Both Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama were students of this training school in Sagres. Later some Portuguese sailors attacked Columbus’ ship as it passed by Sagres and he had to swim 10 kilometres to safety. The English Pirate, or, in modern language, the first hijacker, Sir Francis Drake was there too to attack the Spanish in 1587 and Nelson fought them here again in 1797.Following the great earthquake in 1755 the town almost died until its modern modest restoration. It is still small but developments are beginning to take shape. There is really just one long street where you can find many cheap restaurants, shops and cafés.
What can you do here? There is a large national park and if you are interested in birdwatching a visit there is a must for you. If you are a surfer you will need only to go only a short distance out to meet the winds and high rollers for your surfing. If you are a young person you will find great entertainment at night in the crowded clubs and bars which spill their clients on to the streets.But it is not place for older folk. You will need to travel a little, maybe to Tonel or Beliche, which have wide beaches stretching for more than 200 metres from the high cliffs behind you to the waterfront. You could also go a little to the north and watch the migratory birds as they rest on their way to the north or south.
Accommodation is expensive because there are few hotels. There are rooms available with families at a cheaper rate. Again, in the peak season it may be difficult to find accommodation. But there are some camping sites at a short distance away where you will be able to pitch your tent in safety.
Getting to Sagres may also be expensive. A taxi from Faro will cost you anything up to Euro 250 and public transport can take a long time. And also changing your money or Traveller’s cheques in the local banks my a costly transaction.