Parque Natural da Arrabida and Cabo da Roca – Spain & Portugal Tour 2009

Leaving Pego do Altar, we headed up the IP1 and then west along the IP7 towards Setubal, Lisbon and the Atlantic west coast of Portugal. Our ultimate destination was Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point on mainland Europe.

The first are of interest was the Parque Natural da Arrabida, an area south west of Setubal that’s home to a wide variety of marine and bird life. It’s also home to some rather large open cast mines, as we discovered to our surprise when we got into the park. Despite this, the sea views were good and it seemed a pleasant enough area – or it would be in summer, anyway. The weather at height (several hundred metres above sea level, I’d guess), was distinctly fresh and damp although not enough to stop us sitting outside for lunch. Here’s the view:

View from our lunch layby, Parque Natural da Arrabida
View from our lunch layby, Parque Natural da Arrabida

On leaving Arrabida, we headed north slightly across the Rio Tejo and up towards Cabo da Roca. This turned out to be a pleasant place with a brand new visitor centre. This, I suspect, was built specifically to service the profitable needs of regular coachloads of Japanese tourists.

That most westerly feeling... approaching the Cabo da Roca
That most westerly feeling... approaching the Cabo da Roca

Each coachload turned up, emptied out, trooped into the visitor centre, purchased their ‘I’ve been to the furthest point west in Europe’ certificate, took some photos and then got back on the bus, sometimes by way of the overpriced gift shop.

You don't get any further west than this in mainland Europe!
You don't get any further west than this in mainland Europe!

We, on the other hand, parked up in the car park with one Italian and one Belgian motorhome and spent a very peaceful night as mainland Europe’s most westerly residents.

Distance driven: 108 miles

Sunset at the Cabo da Roca, Portugal
Sunset at the Cabo da Roca, Portugal

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