Cacela Velha is a small village known for its beach, laguna, and, old fortress.
The natural surroundings and the absence of high-rise buildings attract both a lot of local and international tourists.
For me, the last time I had been to Portugal was in 1995. And I was unprepared for how touristic it had become in the meantime. Luckily, Lars and I always find a quiet spot to enjoy life.
Later this week, we will take you to another corner in Europe! Moreover, we have now made 2 official Randonautica trips, but I still have to edit the videos. I hope to do that this weekend! And last but not least, yesterday, Lars and I found a stunning mountain road here in the Sierra Arana!
In other words, lots and lots of adventures coming up! Keep an eye on our website!
It is more than 20 years ago since I first drove to Cape St. Vincent (Cabo São Vicente in Portuguese), but I still remember it as if it was only yesterday. There was a strong chilly wind that almost blew me away when I made pictures of the scenery. And there were fewer tourists then, so you could take in the magnificent landscape at ease.
Nowadays, lots and lots of people want to photograph the southwesternmost point of Portugal and of mainland Europe. And eat the last hotdog before you reach America… I am not making this up; there is such a food stand and it is very successful!
Anyway, before the discovery of America, this location was indeed the end of the world. Legend has it that you could hear the sun hiss in the ocean during sunset…
Granted, this is a remarkable landscape! Moreover, it has been the scene of many naval battles and pirates plundered the area around the cape numerous times…
By the way, in the first picture, you can clearly see the fort and the lighthouse, which was built in the 19th century on the remains of a monastery and is one of the most powerful in Europe. And that is not a coincidence since there is a lot of naval traffic in this area.
Between the nearby village of Sagres – which is very touristic, by the way – and the cape, there are a couple of restaurants. We had dinner in one of them; it was nice and quite cheap, but not splendid. Funny anecdote: a group of Italian tourists were very shocked when their mixed salad was served without mozzarella!
Join us next time on a trip in another corner of Europe!
Visiting a new country also means getting acquainted with new gastronomy. So when my travel buddy visited Portugal with me for the first time in the summer of 2018, his tastebuds worked overtime. Welcome to the country of olive oil, spices, and seafood!
I know that I have featured this picture before, but grilled swordfish is one of my favorite Portuguese dishes ever! Portugal is actually the country where I discovered this kind of fish and it’s even better on the island of Madeira. Cod and sardines, however, are by far the most popular fish. Anyway, grilled (sword)fish is usually served with fried potatoes and a salad. And lots of olive oil!
Piri Piri Chicken
Piri Piri is a kind of chili and the combination with chicken is a classic in Portugal. Don’t worry if you don’t like spicy food; this dish is more aromatic than hot. This is actually one of the very few meat dishes that I had in Portugal.
Cataplana is actually the copper pan that resembles a clam in which this dish is prepared. It comes in a lot of varieties depending on the seafood and/or fish (even eel) that is used. It can be served with fresh coriander and usually also contains garlic, white wine, onions, and tomatoes.
If you can’t get enough of seafood, then you should also try caldeirada, a fish and seafood stew with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, topped with bread. To die for!
Deep-fried seafood and tomato rice
And When the Kitchen Is Closed…
…the waiter improvizes: black olives, roasted red peppers, cured cheese and white beans with tuna. A refreshing late lunch.
Before the summer of 2018, Lars had never been to Portugal, whereas I had visited the country at least 5 times when I was still a teenager. And since it has always been one of my favorite destinations and we were now living in Spain, it was about time to introduce my travel buddy to this beautiful country.
One of the first towns you can visit when you cross the Spanish – Portuguese border. It has a magnificent beach.
A charming fishing-town in the Algarve. Looking for lunch. But first a walk to the beautiful local church.
Food is one of the reasons why I love Portugal so much. I will soon write an in-depth article about local food.
The Cathedral of Silves
One of the prettiest villages in the Algarve has a beautiful cathedral. And a medieval festival in summer.
Cabo de São Vicente
If you like dramatic landscapes, this is the place to be: the most southwestern corner of Europe.
Lots of surfing spots, for all levels. This is Carrapateira.
The Foia is the highest mountain in the Algarve. When it’s not cloudy or misty, you have a beautiful view of a huge part of the Algarve.
And why not visit a spa-town? The hot springs (Caldas de Monchique) are located 6 km from this charming town.
Go inland, in the region of the Estremadura and discover quaint towns like Estremoz.
Oh yes, Portugal has got some excellent wines! This is the wine-house, Herdade das Servas, not far from Estremoz.
Soon I will discuss some of these locations in detail, so keep an eye on this website! On Thursday, I will return with an article about one of Europe’s most famous rivers.
You may think that I am taking you to a very exotic location for this post, like Hawaii or Australia, but we actually stay in Europe. Introducing Nazaré in Portugal, home to the biggest waves in the world. As a teenager, I used to bodysurf – I know, hard to believe when you see me nowadays – and I can still be amazed by the skills and courage of surfers trying to tackle huge waves.
Located in the province of Estremadura, Nazaré has 3 neighborhoods: Praia (beach), Sitio (old village, located on a cliff) and Pederneira (another old village, located on top of a hill). From a fishing village, it has developed into a very popular resort; tourists come here for the beaches in summer and the (in)famous waves in winter.
As the name suggests, Nazaré is indeed linked to Nazareth through a local legend. In the 4th century, a monk brought a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary from Nazareth to Spain. 7 centuries later, another monk and a Portuguese king transferred the same statue to Nazaré. Nowadays, you can admire it in the baroque Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré, located in Sitio.
The presence of the huge waves is due to the underwater Nazaré Canyon, which is about 5 kilometers deep and 230 kilometers long.
The next video explains where these high waves exactly come from.
As I have said before, the highest waves usually occur during the winter season.
The waves can become between 20 and 30 meters high (60 and 90 feet). Have a look at the next videos.
Our Visit in Summer
In summer there are no such high waves, but you can still enjoy some really impressive views. When Lars and I arrived in Nazaré, we followed the signs towards Sitio and afterward to Farol (lighthouse). In winter, most people gather at this lighthouse to have a good look at the waves.
This is the magnificent south beach, home of sunbathers and swimmers.
The last picture features the Praia de Norte, where those magnificent waves occur.
It is our dream to return to Nazaré in winter. I am not sure if we are going to make it this year, but we’ll see. I would love to see these huge waves for myself (of course) and photograph them, visit the church where they keep the legendary statue of the Virgin Mary and have a closer look at the 3 neighborhoods.