Visiting the End of the World

“Aqui, onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa…Here, where the land ends and the seas begins… ~ Luís de Camões

Cabo da Roca 14-min

The westernmost point in mainland Europe, Cabo da Roca was once thought to be the end of the world. A rugged coastline with 100 metre high cliffs plunging into the rough Atlantic Ocean, until the 14th century most of Europe believed that once you lost sight of the coastline, you would fall off the earth and into the mouth of a giant monster.

Cabo da Roca 7-minCabo da Roca 4-minCabo da Roca 8-min

The Romans called it Promontorium Magnum, or Great Cape; from the 16th to 19th centuries, it was called the Rock of Lisbon.

Cabo da Roca 5-min Cabo da Roca 9-min Cabo da Roca 15-min

A fort is known to have existed here in the 16th century to protect Lisbon along the coastline.

Cabo da Roca 2-min

The lighthouse that remains on the site today was built in 1842, replacing the original from 1772. Its 1000 watt lightbulb can be seen approximately 46 kilometers from the shore, providing an important warning to the many incoming cargo ships.

Cabo da Roca 1-minCabo da Roca 10-minCabo da Roca 3-min

The exact location of the site is engraved on the monument: 38°47’N 9°30’W. The monument also has the words of the famous Portuguese poet Luís de Camões, Portugal’s Shakespeare, who lived from 1524-1580.

Cabo da Roca 11-minCabo da Roca 6-min

It was nice to see that even at the edge of the world, flowers still bloom and life still grows. The Sour Fig is invasive to the cape, having escaped from a private garden 30 years ago, the non-native species covers nearly all of the ground.

Cabo da Roca 17-min Cabo da Roca 18-min Cabo da Roca 19-min

I stayed just until the sun was beginning to set – being at the edge of the world after dark wasn’t so appealing to me, even if that theory is a couple hundred years old by now. But the colours were so warm and vibrant! You could also see large cargo ships way off in the distance. I hope for their sake that they don’t lose sight of the shore! 😉

Cabo da Roca 16-min Cabo da Roca 20-minCabo da Roca 13-min Cabo da Roca 21-min Cabo da Roca 22-min Cabo da Roca 23-min Cabo da Roca 24-min


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