To the Romans Cabo da Roca was known as "Promontorium Magnum" and thought of by many, right up to the Age of Discovery, as the edge of the world. Atlantic winds create a habitat for only the toughest and low laying fauna adding to the rugged beauty of the site. For the visitors it's the amazing panoramic views over the Serra de Sintra and the coastline which is the enticement. For the brave there are precarious hiking trails of various lengths which follow the line of the headland. Below the mighty Atlantic pound the rocks, ideal breeding grounds for the Goose Barnacles (Percebes) which are a delicacy in many of the restaurants hereabouts.
Located at latitude 38º 47´north and longitude 9º 30´west is a monument which indicates the most westerly spot of mainland Europe. On it an inscription says "land ends and the sea begins" written by Luís de Camões and crowning the stone structure there's a cross.
Historical records date the fort ruins at Cabo da Roca from the 17th century. It was once one of many fortified structures which form a defensive line guarding the mouth of the Tejo and Lisbon beyond. The first lighthouse to stand here utilised the foundations of the fort and came into service in 1772. It was the first new purpose-built lighthouse to be constructed in Portugal. However the current 22 metre tall structure originates from 1842 and stands 150m over the ocean and can shine it's 1,000 watt beacon 28 miles (46km) out to see.
Other than the lighthouse the coffee shop and gift shop come tourist office the area is devoid of any buildings. The car park here is free, most visitors stay for around 30-40 minutes only, depending on how bracing the wind is. There's half an hour's wait between buses which route joins Cascais with Sintra. Try to time your visit for sunset and you will be rewarded with a true feast for the eyes.
From Cascais and Lisbon follows the N247 and turning off at Azóia and follow signs for 1.5 miles (2.5km) from there. From Sintra take the N247 East.