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Cabo da Roca

Sintra, Portugal

Cabo da Roca monument and overlook

ABOVE: The monument and scenic overlook at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point on the European continent.

Cabo da Roca (in English, Cape Roca) is a rugged outcropping on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal, to the west and slightly north of Lisbon. Its location is dramatic, with high cliffs overlooking the ocean, but the cape's real claim to fame is its longitude of 9° 30' W: Cabo da Roca is at the far western edge of Continental Europe, where--in the words of Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões--it is "the point where the earth ends and the sea begins."

The windswept site has a lighthouse that was completed in 1772, along with a monument and a scenic overlook. It's a popular spot with tourists, who enjoy the view from the cliffs (which are 140 meters or 459 feet above sea level) and the chance to stand at what once was the edge of the world.

The Cabo da Roca makes a pleasant stop on a circular tour from Lisbon to Sintra, and you can even reach the cape by bicycle from Cascais if you're willing to brave an uphill ride.

Directions to Cabo da Roca

Technically, the Cabo da Roca is in the municipality of Sintra, but it's many kilometers west of that town. Here's how to reach the cape:

By public transportation: Scotturb bus 403 operates between Sintra and Cascais year-round. Travel time to Cabo da Roca is about 45 minutes from Sintra's railroad station and 25 minutes from the bus terminal in Cascais. See the Portuguese-language Scotturb Web site, click "Horários," and then click "403" for a current timetable. Please note:

  • Not all 403 buses go to Cabo da Roca. Check the 403 timetable before heading for the bus stop.

  • CP, the Portuguese national railroad, has frequent train service on its Lisbon-Sintra and Lisbon-Cascais commuter lines, making it easy to do a circular rail and bus tour that includes a stop at Cabo da Roca. (You can do the entire trip in a day, but we suggest spending a night in Sintra so that you can enjoy the town, visit Pena National Palace, and tour Sintra's other palaces and parks.)
  • Passes from Eurail and InterRail are valid on CP, and the Lisboa Card includes transportation on Lisbon's suburban commuter lines. You can also buy day tickets from the railroad and the Scotturb bus company.

By car or bicycle: Cabo da Roca is just west of Azoia on the road between Sintra and Cascais. From Cascais, head north on EN 9-1 and then go left on EN 247; from Sintra, head west toward Colares on EN 247 and continue south to Azoia. A branch road, EN 247-4, covers the short distance between Azoia and the cape.

Visitor services

Cabo da Roca has a visitor center, with a restaurant and souvenir shop nearby. A path leads to the monument and the often windy scenic overlook. (See photo at top of page.)

Admission to the park is free. For more information, e-mail the Cabo da Roca tourist office at [email protected] or phone +351 219 280 801.

  • Souvenir alert: In the visitor center, you can buy a personalized, dated certificate (complete with wax seal) of your visit to the western tip of Europe. See photos below.

Web links

Google Sightseeing: Cabo de Roca
This satellite photo offers a straight-down aerial view of the cape, the lighthouse, and the overlook. (Use the photo's zoom controls for an even closer peek.)

Trail of the Unexpected: Cabo da Roca
Eric Almonds describes an 11-km bicycle trip to Cabo da Roca from the Lisbon suburb of Cascais.

Sintra Camara Municipal
The town hall's official site doesn't have much about Cabo da Roca, but it does offer useful English-language information about Sintra.


More photos

Cabo da Roca view

An intrepid tourist braves the wind on Continental Europe's westernmost wall.


Cabo da Roca monument

Two visitors from abroad pose by the monument at Cabo da Roca.


Cabo da Roca souvenir certificate

For a small fee, you can buy a dated, personalized certificate at the Cabo da Roca visitor center. The certificate confirms that you "have been to Cape Roca--Sintra, Portugal--the westernmost point in continental Europe 'where the land ends and the sea begins,' where there still reigns the spirit of Faith and Adventure which took the Portuguese caravels in search of new worlds for the world."


Also see:
Pena National Palace, Sintra
Lisbon, Portugal - Travel guide
Lisbon Articles Index
Portugal Articles Index