Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sat August 22 2015

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | August 22, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    Walking to the Edge of Europe in Portugal

    Walking to the Edge of Europe in Portugal

    PHOTO: I stood at the edge of Europe with my new friends at my side and couldn’t be happier to be alive. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    My alarm went off and all I could muster was a slur of sounds and grunts as I rolled out of bed at an ungodly hour. It’s 4 a.m., I’m layered up and standing outside of my hostel waiting for Ade, Rachel and Matt to arrive. Only a night prior, drunk with adventure and possibly idiocy, my new friends from London, Australia and I decided that we couldn’t leave Portugal without walking to the edge of Europe.

    “Why take a bus when you have two working feet?” sounded like a good idea at the time and although we had no idea how long it would take or where exactly to go, we were told of a town called Sagres where we “needed” to watch the sunset over the lighthouse and drink a Sagres beer. So that was that. It was settled and the next morning off we went.

    Although I’m a big believer in Google Maps, Ade wasn’t, so at dawn we all met, ready to embark on our journey. We boarded a bus we hoped went in the right direction and drove to the nearest village of Vila Buspo, powered up with an espresso, backpacks full of freshly baked buns, cheese, apples, bottles of water and off we trudged laughing with walking sticks in hand.

    5 minutes in and already we were lost.

    PHOTO: Candids of our five-hour journey from Vila Buspo to the Edge of Europe.

    After asking a local for the general direction to Sagres, he said, “That’s crazy, you can’t walk there from here — it’s way too long.” Our response was “ah, that’s okay — we’ll make it there eventually.” He shook his head, pointed us in the direction and off we went, excited for the day.

    Five hours later, a couple of wrong turns leading us on what we like to call “a more scenic route,” blisters and determination, we FINALLY made it.  

    It was one of those indescribable moments, where no words can do it justice. We stood at the edge in pure silence and awe as the day came to a close, proudly holding those ice-cold Sagres beers in Sagres.

    It was all worth it, every single step. At that moment I understood the saying: “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

    PHOTO: Matt stands along the shoreline at Praia da Mareta, taking all the beauty in.

    Sagres in itself is a small town that you can easily walk around in a few minutes, but it contains some of the most magnificent beaches I’ve set foot on. What a combination: a beer named after the town that doesn’t suck and a landscape that’s will leave you misty-eyed.   

    Must Do’s:

    • Surf or Swim: Sagres has three beaches — Beliche, Tonel and Praia da Mareta, but Praia da Mareta is by far the most visually stunning.

    • Watch the sunset: Most people go to the lighthouse at The Cape St. Vincent, but we found the sunset to be better and less crowded along the cliff side at The Fortaleza de Sagres (also known as Sagres Castle).

    • Drink a Sagres (beer) in Sagres.

    Getting There: From Lagos, you can catch a direct bus to Sagres, or, if you like to walk, take the bus for €3.20 and get off at Vila Buspo. From the bus stop, walk along the coast until you hit Sagres.

    PHOTO: The breathtaking view walking along the cliff’s edge next to the Fortaleza de Sagres.

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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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