Costa do Sol Attractions
The Costa do Sol, the "sunshine coast", the coastal stretch west of Lisbon and known with some justification as the Portuguese Riviera, is undoubtedly one of the loveliest sections of Portugal's west coast. The attractive scenery, good beaches and pleasant climate, with correspondingly lush vegetation, mean that the towns and resorts on the Costa do Sol attract large number of visitors, especially from among the Portuguese, but this also means that at the height of the season the beaches are overcrowded and traffic on the coast road is extremely heavy.
Cabo da Roca
About 7km/4.25mi beyond Praia do Guincho a left hand turn from the main road leads down a little road to Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point in Europe, rising to a height of 144m/472ft above the Atlantic (a visitor's certificate is offered). The headland, known to the Romans as Promontorium Magnum, is a granite outlier of the Serra de Sintra. The view from the lighthouse is not to be missed.
The route west out of Lisbon, through the suburbs of Belém, Algés and Dafundo, ends after 10km/6mi in the center of Caxias. The fortress high above this little place housed political prisoners until 1974. Another fort, the Forte de Sao Bruno, is a youth hostel.
Costa do Sol, Oeiras, Portugal
Oeiras (pop. 14,000), 4km/2.5mi west of Caxias, is a popular resort with the summer residence of the Marquês de Pombal, a handsome 18th C. villa set in beautiful gardens (statues, fountains and cascades). The building now belongs to the Gulbenkian Foundation.
Praia do Guincho, Costa do Sol, Portugal
Further along the road from Quinta de Monserrate is Colares, where a growing number of prosperous Lisbon citizens have their holiday homes.
Azenhas do Mar
About 1km/0.75mi beyond Colares the coast road that runs along the Costa do Sol goes off to the left, but the right hand fork brings the visitor, after 4km/2.5mi, to the little resort of Azenhas do Mar, where the pounding of the waves has eaten deep into the rugged coastline.It attracted many artists in the early years of this century.
Praia das Maças
About 1km/0.75mi beyond Colares the coast road that runs along the Costa do Sol goes off to the left, but the right hand fork brings the visitor, after 3km/2mi, to the little resort of Praia das Maças.The Praia das Maças resort is a popular relaxation spot for both tourists and locals.
Forte Sao Juliao da Barra - Costa do Sol
About 2km/1.25 beyond Oeiras, on the left of the road, is the Fort Sao Juliao de Barra, a 17th C. fortification complete with tower and bastions.