Sunsets at the Edge of the World at Cabo da Roca
The most western edge of the Eurasian landmass, Cabo da Roca provides stunning views as you can see the sun set below the horizon (and seemingly under the ocean).
Cabo da Roca is the very most western end of mainland Europe. It is most readily accessible by the 303 bus from the historic town of Sintra or from the seaside resort town of Cascais.
Both Sintra and Cascais are easily reachable from Lisbon in under an hour by train. The entire journey, if connections are smooth, should only take about an hour and a half total to go from Lisbon to Cabo da Roca (via Sintra or Cascais).
Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes, as you can climb along the cliffs around Cabo da Roca. The area is steep, so be sure of your footing (though there is a fence before the drop into the ocean). As Cabo da Roca is also an exposed cliff-face over the Atlantic, be prepared for the the weather to be significantly cooler and windier than elsewhere in Portugal.
Sunsets at Cabo da Roca are beautiful as you can see the sun sink behind the horizon, but be prepared for crowds. Also keep in mind that bus fare must be paid in cash.
The wind whipped at us the moment we stepped off the bus. Cool and blustery, it carried a salt-sting that instantly jolted us awake after our whirlwind tour of Sintra.
From the bus stop, it was less than 500 feet to the end of the world. At Cabo da Roca, the Eurasian landmass comes to a dramatic halt of sheer rock face, an invasion of succulents, and a near 400 foot drop into the raging Atlantic below.
Facing west, the sun began to set. From such a height, with nothing to block the horizon, the ocean folded into itself as the earth curved ever so slowly away from us.
As the sun sank lower, it set the horizon's mists on fire and sent pink lines of flame across the Atlantic back towards us. The sun did not disappear from the sky as much as it dipped beneath the horizon — seemingly below our very feet — as it was swallowed up by the ocean.
In such a magical soft twilight, the rest of Cabo da Roca became nearly mystical. Its crystalline rock faces and granite sea boulders became imbued with pinks and blues as the sand on the cliff was painted a dazzling yellow. Even among the number of other tourists watching the sunset, Cabo da Roca felt removed and nearly totally secluded as a world apart.
As Luís de Camões, Portugal's Shakespeare, wrote about Cabo da Roca:
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