Cape Vincente ~ Cabo Sao Vicente
Algarve Portugal Cliff Fishing at Lighthouse
Cape Vincente (Cape St Vincent, Cabo de Dao Vicente), in Algarve, Portugal, is a popular spot for fishing from the clifftops near the lighthouse. Cape St. Vincent is a good day trip from Albufeira, or Faro. If you come here, pack a lunch, as there are few restaurants nearby, but lots of places to have a picnic. Related: Western Algarve travel story and Algarve travel wardrobe.
Cape St. Vincent lighthouse ~ Western Algarve Portugal
A few hours of fairly easy driving west from Albufeira and you're on the west coast -- the End of the World -- at the Cabo Sao Vicente lighthouse on Portugal's southwest shore.
You can pick up tourism brochures with minimal history information, but if you like detailed information, take along one of the Portugal travel guides.
From these shores, Prince Henry the Navigator sent his corvairs to find Madeira in 1420, and the Azores, in 1427.
Before him, Roman legions, Moorish conquerors and Sir Francis Drake trod along these cliffs, and watched the huge rolling waves break along their rocky base.
Known for centuries as Al Gharb (Arabic for 'the west'), the modern day Algarve is a prime tourist destination year round, but be warned that summer's crowds send the locals fleeing to offshore islands.
Cape St Vincente Natural Stone Pillar Mimics Lighthouse
Mimicking the form of the manmade lighthouse that rises on the cliffs above it, this natural stone castle shape shows the effects of centuries of wind and water sculpting.
For all its bulk, it's easy to miss.
When you're at the lighthouse, walk to one side. to the north (left, as you face the water), as near to the sea wall as you can get.
Peer over the wall so you can see past the hillside to the ocean below.
If you visit the Algarve during late January and early February, look for the olive trees in bloom that turn valleys into clouds of pink.
Near the coast, though, look under your feet for a carpet of wildflowers hidden in the spiny grass.
And the large yellow blooms on vines that cover village fences are trumpet flowers.
Cape St Vincent Portugal Views Over the Atlantic Mists and Waves
Near Cape St. Vincent, there are many narrow paths leading down to the water's edge and the red gravelly beaches.
The rocky cliffs that run along the shore give some idea of their height.
I truly had the feeling of being at the edge of a continent, and would love to hike from Albufeira along the coast to Lisbon and beyond.
What a gorgeous walk that would be!
Waves amd Red sand beach near Cape St Vincent Algarve Portugal
I doubt anyone has ever counted the number of small private coves along the Algarve coast.
The dramatic colors, cliffs and waves seemed to be found only along the westernmost shorelines.
From Portimao, and east to Spain, the shores seemed generally sandy, and flat, with a few high dunes.
I could be wrong, though.
Cabo Sao Vicente Portugal fisherman on cliff near Lighthouse
At the Lighthouse Park area at Cape St Vinvent,there's an expansive field edged with a wide promenade.
It's an easy walk to take in the sweeping views.
From these heights, men were dropping long fishing lines.
Part of me wants to buy a home in this park area, and part of me is very glad so much of these lands are national parks, so that everyone can enjoy them.
More Men Fishing from Cliffs in the Western Algarve
With a healthy respect for high cliffs, or great heights of any kind, I watched in fascination and some dread as fishermen hugged the rocky heights.
If you use binoculars or a telephoto lens, you can see the narrow paths they take to get to these precarious perches.
I don't know for certain, but I would bet real money that these fishermen never drink on the job!
I talked to a few of them over several days and in various locations, and to a man, they were, of course, fishing for the sport of it, and to take home for dinner.
From the cliff top, it's a little hard to practice 'catch and release' :-)
At Cape St. Vincent, I stopped at the park and museum on the high cliffs, far above the Atlantic rollers.
I watched in amazement as fishermen cast long lines down to the swirling ocean, then reeled in their catch (Usually, small bass).
These waves rushing in from the open Atlantic undercut the cliff rock in places, making what are called 'blow holes' -- openings in the cliffs where water can rush in, and force the air into the tunnels, make eerie howls as it does.
Algarve Portugal: Cliff fishermen Along Rocky Shores Cabo Sao Vicente
Here's another group of fishermen, nestled on a ledge, up the cliff face.
When you travel here, look closely all along this shoreline.
Chances are, there's someone with rod and reel angling for bass.
This rocky coastline is on the west, and as you can imagine, not a gentle swimming beach.
There are a few tiny coves, if you can get to them, but know you are on your own. Look to the south coast for stretches of golden sand.
If you have a housekeeping unit, stop at the docks in most centers for the catch of the day.
Local white wines are a bargain, too. Add a loaf of bread, some tiny local olives, and dinner's nearly done.
Portugal Cliff Fishermen close up view Cliffs near Cape St Vincent
TIP Bottles of local olive oil and port are nice (and small) gifts to take home for friends.
Western Algarve Cliffs - Rocky Coast of Portugal
I never tired of admiring the views along this part of the coast.
With the constantly changing light and winds, the view was always new, always wild, and always beautiful.
Friends said this area reminded them of California's Big Sur coast.
This area had a number of local vendors selling beautiful hand knit wool sweaters, the heavy outdoor cardigan type with zippered fronts.
The best price I could find at the time was about $25 US for the adult sizes.