Sagres, Algarve Travel Guide
- Quiet and calm escape from the rest of the world
- Some of the most beautiful and crowd-free beaches in the Algarve
- Delicious foodie spots and traditional Portuguese restaurants side by side
- Entrenched surfer culture and numerous surf-ready beaches
- Surrounded by mostly undeveloped natural landscapes
- Amazing clifftop sea and sunset views
- Nearly silent nights makes it prime territory for resting and star-gazing
- Quite far from the party vibe in other Algarve towns (pro for many)
- Ocean here is cold and generally rougher than eastern Algarve
- Can be too quiet for some
- Limited kid-friendly activities
What It's Like
While Sagres is technically part of the Algarve, it's so strikingly different from the other towns lining the coast that it feels like a region unto itself. Part of that has to do with geography, as the small town sits at the far western end of the Algarve. You're not going to find fake British pubs here, and certainly no roving packs of drunk bachelor and bachelorette parties. Instead, Sagres is surrounded by mile upon mile of protected parkland and almost entirely undeveloped coastline, where dramatic golden cliffs plummet to surf-ready waves below. If you're looking to get away from it all, Sagres just might be the place.
That's not to say that there's nothing to do here. Instead, it's all about balance. Sagres doesn't have the historic town center of Algarve destinations like Lagos, Alvor, and Albufeira, and the town center consists of one main street lined with bike shops, surf shops, coffee shops, local eateries, and fresh seafood spots. There are also a few foodie joints that get booked up days in advance. The scene is quiet and low-key, though a few bars do show sports and stay open a bit later. Otherwise, you're likely to spot locals mingling and playing lawn sports at the park that sits in the center of town, above Praia da Mareta, the main beach.
Those beaches are the other main reason to visit Sagres. They're almost entirely free of direct development, making them perfect for escaping the crush of everyday life. The water here is chilly and rough, as the peninsula on which Sagres sits is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Those same conditions draw surfers in droves, and helps give the town its bohemian vibe. If you're looking to ride the waves, head to Praia do Tonel, where you can also grab a bite at the casual beachside shack that slings great food and cold beers.
While Sagres doesn't have a condensed historic district like many other towns in the Algarve, one of the most popular sights is the local Fort. You see, the Sagres region was used as a base for Henry the Navigator's brutal imperialist invasions of Africa in the 15th century, though the fort as it currently stands was constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries. The ramparts and historic buildings are fascinating to explore in their own right, but the clifftop views steal the show here. Alternatively, you can head to Ponta da Atalaia for similarly spectacular vistas, where pathways crisscross the dry landscape and cliffs providing vantages in all directions.
Where to Stay
Sagres is so tiny that it really doesn't matter where you sleep at night. It's universally quiet and calm, so rowdy bars and parties are never an issue. If you'd like amazing views across the area's cliffs and seascapes, opt for the classic Pousada Sagres, which is the only hotel that sits directly above the town's main beach on Ponta da Atalaia. The views are stunning. The town center holds mostly humble crash pads, self-catering options, and simple budget properties. Fancier options are found at the east end of town, around the port. The Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort is the only hotel in Sagres that's right on a beach (just to the east of the town center). It's a striking luxury option, though walks to the small town center will be a bit long.