Cape Roca: What to see and how to get there on your own from Cascais, Sintra and Lisbon
Cape Roca: the extreme point of Europe

Cape Roca: What to see and how to get there on your own from Cascais, Sintra and Lisbon

Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of continental Europe. People come here to see the beauty of the sheer cliffs, to imagine the power of the ocean waves and to feel a little bit like a pioneer explorer.

Until the end of the fourteenth century, Cape Rock was considered the end of the earth. From here, Portuguese navigators set off on expeditions to the New World, Africa and China. In the modern world, the cape is a famous attraction visited by thousands of tourists.

Map of Cape Rock and the 403 Scotturb bus stops

What to see in Cape Rock?

People go to Cape Roca for nature, for the vast ocean, magical landscapes. The colorful coastline, cliffs 140 meters high are impressive. They say that if you look at the horizon from this point for a long time, you can see a semicircle: this is where navigators realized that the planet is a ball.

In addition to the endless sky and ocean, incredible scenery, the cape has a lighthouse, a stella, a restaurant and a tourist information center where you can get a certificate that you have visited the edge of the earth.

The lighthouse at Cape Cabo da Roca.
The lighthouse at Cape Cabo da Roca.
Waves crashing against the rocks
Waves crashing against the rocks
Cape Rock coastline
Cape Rock coastline
The desolate nature of the Cape
The desolate nature of the Cape

Cabo da Roca Lighthouse (Farol do Cabo da Roca)

The lighthouse on the cape was built in 1772 and is now the third oldest lighthouse on the Portuguese coast. Thanks to special prisms, the light of the lighthouse lamps is practically white and can be seen at a distance of 46 km. There is a real lighthouse keeper working there. Only four lighthouses in Portugal have kept this tradition, the others work in automatic mode.

Admission to the lighthouse is free, open on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the spring and summer, and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the fall and winter. Other times visit by appointment as part of an organized group. Before traveling, check the opening hours on the Autoridade Maritima Nacional Maritime Authorities website.

The lighthouse building near
The lighthouse building near
The lighthouse from a different angle
The lighthouse from a different angle

Obelisk (Ponta Mais Ocidental do Continente Europe)

The coordinates of the site and a quote by Portuguese poet Luiz Camões are carved on the stone stele: «This is the place where the land ends and the sea begins». A commemorative cross is placed on the top of the monument. This place is considered to be the westernmost point of Europe.

There are two beaches close to the promontory. If you stand with your back to the obelisk, the sandy beach of Ursa (Praia da Ursa) is on the right and the wild rocky beach on the left. The descent to the beaches is difficult. I advise you to wear comfortable sneakers if you are going to walk down.

The Cliffs of Cape Rock
The Cliffs of Cape Rock

Tourist Info Center

Near the lighthouse there is a tourist office with a souvenir shop where a certificate is sold that confirms a visit to Cabo da Roca.

  • Opening hours: from 09:00 to 18:30 from 1.10 to 30.04, from 09:00 to 19:30 from 01.05 to 30.09.
11 €
Price of a certificate of visit to the westernmost point of Europe

The info center has a post office from which to send postcard letters to home and friends. Nearby, you can have a cup of coffee or a glass of port overlooking the ocean in the restaurant with panoramic windows. Opening hours: 09:30 to 22:00, except Mondays.

There is nothing else on the cape: no hotels, no stores, no entertainment. The main entertainment here is listening to the ocean waves at the edge of the earth.

Tips and tricks

  • It’s windy all year round, so take a light jacket — unpredictable wind gusts change direction and strength.
  • Locals told us that people are fined for going over the wooden fence that is set up along the edge of the cliff. Mounted police watch from the sidelines, and desperate daredevils take selfies on the edge. The strong wind and the likelihood of fines don’t stop curious travelers and photo enthusiasts. In 2014, a married couple from Poland fell into the abyss while taking a memorable photo. Be mindful of the danger and do not go close to the cliff.
  • I recommend memorizing the departure time of the return bus: there are no hotels nearby and cabs are expensive.

If you travel to the Cape by car, linger for the sunset. Seeing the reflection of the sun in the ocean is a magical sight to remember forever.

The rays of the setting sun on the cape
The rays of the setting sun on the cape

How to get to Cape Roca from Sintra and Cascais

The most unconventional way to get to Cabo da Roca from Sintra is to take an electric car for 56—80 € for two people for half or full day. The more usual way is by bus: the journey takes about half an hour.

Cape Roca is almost midway between the cities of Sintra and Cascais. The Scotturb bus route 403 goes there: the bus leaves Cascais for Sintra, stopping at the cape. The same way in the opposite direction.

Scotturb bus route 403 bus route
Scotturb bus route 403 bus route

The ticket is sold at the driver’s desk. The schedule of the routes depends on the season. There are flights that pass Cabo da Roca without stopping. Such buses are marked with the letter «a» on the website.

  • In Cascais, the bus stop (Cascais Terminal) is located near the train station: take the underpass to the other side and walk up to the stop. The Cascais Villa shopping center is nearby, and there is an inexpensive food court on its top floor.
  • In Sintra, the bus also stops near the train station. If you exit through the main entrance of the train station and walk to the right, there will be a stop after 20 meters.

The road to Cape Roca is a serpentine road. If you have a weak vestibular system, you may get carsick.

When planning your trip, check the Scotturb website for up-to-date schedules

How to get to Cape Roca from Lisbon

There are no direct flights from Lisbon to the edge of Europe by public transportation. There are several options: with connections, by car or with an excursion.

  • By car: the journey will take no more than an hour. Renting a car in Lisbon through Rentalcars costs only from 11 € per day in low season, from 25 € in high season.
  • Private transfers: from 60 € per car on Kiwitaxi.
  • Group excursion: from Lisbon to Sintra and Cabo da Roca — from 50 € per person.

In Cabo da Roca, on the edge of Europe, the power and immensity of the Atlantic Ocean is felt in full force. People come here to breathe in the Atlantic breeze, standing on a promontory and feeling like a grain of sand while the huge waves at the foot of the cliffs break into thousands of splashes.

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