Sagres, Portugal - Sacred to Surfers, Saints, and Prince Henry the Navigator

The village of Sagres (a derivative of “sacred”) is the most southwesterly town in all of continental Europe. Sacred to surfers, saints, and navigators, it calls for exploration, or at least temporary residency in a van near the beach.

Gorgeous Mercado Beach from our room at the Pousada de Sagres Hotel (Photo by Sona Schmidt-Harris)


Surfboards bobbing up and down the street attached to bushy, bushy blond hairdos were still alive and well when we arrived in mid-November. Surfers love it here because the winds are strong where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean.

Surfboards bobbing up and down the street attached to bushy, bushy blond hairdos were still alive and well when we arrived in mid-November.


We love it here because it is not only beautiful but also has a fascinating history. With its remote location, it was once known as The End of the World. It is said that the Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians paid homage to their gods here.


Christians who lived here erected the Church of Corvo where the remains of St. Vincent were housed in the eighth century but later moved to Lisbon.


Prince Henry the Navigator made Sagres his home and founded his famous navigation school from which Vasco da Gama, Fernao de Magalhaes (Magellan), and others graduated. Unfortunately, it is said that he also helped fund the slave trade from Africa. Prince Henry remained in Sagres until his death in 1460 forever leaving his mark on history.


Our hotel, the Pousada de Sagres Hotel, overlooks the stunning Praia de Mercado showcasing the beach’s many faces of November.


Our hotel, the Pousada de Sagres Hotel, overlooks the stunning Praia de Mercado showcasing the beach’s many faces of November. The hotel sits atop one of the many bluffs in the area with stunning views of the ocean nearly any direction you face.


Another charming feature of Pousada de Sagres is the Prince Henry the Navigator and Knights Templar themes. Apparently, Prince Henry the Navigator was a knight of that order and helped to use their great wealth to fund exploration and his school. Unique touches in the hotel include Knights Templar-symbolled tapestries, lamps, and even curtain rods.

Unique touches in the Pousada de Sagres include Knights Templar-symbolled tapestries, lamps, and even curtain rods.


Though the Knights Templar could barely fathom it, one of the main gathering places of Sagres is a laundry mat/coffee shop/restaurant, Laundry Lounge. Laundry Lounge has a decidedly youthful and cool vibe; we were the oldest people in there by decades, and we seemed to amuse the servers immensely. While you do your laundry, you can hang out and have a coffee with liquor, a meal, and work your computer—a sort of one-stop-shopping for the cool—at least cooler than “Deke” and I. The place is almost always packed.


Though the Knights Templar could barely fathom it, one of the main gathering places of Sagres is a laundry mat/coffee shop/restaurant, Laundry Lounge.


A visit to Sagres in November, though tempestuous, was certainly worth a week of our lives engendering a lifetime of memories.



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