“Aqui, onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa”
This phrase is engraved on the monument that is located at Cabo da Roca, the cape of rock in Portugal. “Here, where the land ends and the sea begins” are the famous verses of Portugal’s national poet, Camoes, from his epic poem “The Lusiads”. These verses are indeed a matching description to the breezy cape, which forms the westernmost point of continental Europe.
Being in Portugal on vacations and since i am i geography enthusiast, i couldn’t miss visiting Capo da Roca. It was actually part of my personal list of the 100 places that i would like to visit in my life. It can be reached easily be anyone. From the railway station at Rossio, in Lisbon, many trains depart regularly to the town of Sintra. From there there is the bus No 403, that will take you to the famous cape. This is a route you should follow early in the morning because the national park of Sintra presents great interest and definitely it worths a lot of your time in order for you to see its palace and castles.
The route with the bus 403 is beautiful, along the fully green Sintra’s country. Scenic images will keep changing and the long distance won’t be felt. Depending the traffic it will take you 30 to 40 minutes to reach the cape. As soon as you get off the bus you will instantly feel the Atlantic’s salty breeze! It blows a lot in the area and the wind has transformed the scenery massively.
The area indeed has no trees and the only vegetation are some low-lying plants, which have been adapted to saltwater and windy conditions. From the point where the bus drops you, follow the path till the edge of the cliff. There, at your left hand you will notice the monument that is located there, which defines Cabo da Roca as the westernmost extent of the European continent. On the monument there is an engraved inscription on a stone plaque, with the verses of Camoes along with the geographical coordinates of the site. The cape is 38 degrees and 47 minutes northern of the equator and 9 degrees and 30 minutes western of the first meridian of Greenwich ( 38° 47′ 0″ N,9° 30′ 0″ W
The Cabo da Roca is formed by talls, over 100 meters, massive, vertical, rocky formations and every so often there are sandy beaches on the coastline. From the edge of those sheer cliffs the sea was visible all the way down.
The Atlantic ocean. All the way to the horizon the sea was dominating. Beyond my eye’s point of view, the next land that someone will meet is the coast of north America. The sea was fierce when i arrived and the locals told me that there are always waves in Cabo da Roca. The huge waves were hitting furiously the shores, forming the coastline in time. The rocks and the cliffs were curved by the movement of the waves, in shapes and forms of special beauty. Looking at my right hand, gigantic rocky formations, were raised alone like towers, as they were cut off from the land. The scenery was amazing, having a wild beauty. A wild beauty that instantly the tourist see.
Not far away lies the light house of the cape which for many years achieves its duty, guiding the ships that pass in the open sea. Like they did in the antiquity, since the Roman era, when other light houses were saving the sailors from certain death on the sharp rocks of the area.
There is no way that you won’t be impressed if you visit Cabo da Roca. Is it because of the rough beauty of the scenery, because of the endless Atlantic ocean that makes people feel tiny or maybe because of the sense that we are at the edge of the earth? I imagine that people during the middle ages, when everyone thought that the earth was flat, were looking the same sea with awe, like i did hundred of years later! With awe of being at the end of the “then known” world….