Cabo Espichel is a cape near Sesimbra with breathtaking views of its cliffs and a sanctuary with an unique story. Besides that there are Jurassic dinosaur trackways, a lighthouse and some abandoned facilities.
Cabo Espichel is a cape located 40km south of Lisbon, next to the city of Sesimbra, a city known for its beach and seafood. It rises 160m over the Atlantic Ocean with breathtaking views of its cliffs. You can walk freely, but watch out since the cliffs have no protection and it can get really windy, and if you fall, well… better not think about it!
There is a myth/tradition related to this cape. It says that in the XIII century a man had a vision of a great light shining over the cape and, in that place, he saw the Nossa Senhora (Holy Virgin in Portuguese) climbing over the cliffs in a giant mule. Soon after, this place became an important pilgrimage location and a small church has built, called Ermida da Memória (Memory chapel). It still exists today with its arched roof and a tiles panel showing this famous and fabulous scene.
Very interesting is that there are several Jurassic dinosaur fossil trackways exposed in the cape’s cliffs, exactly in the place that is shown in the tiles (called Jaziga da Pedra da Mua) making these tiles the most ancient known representation of dinosaur trackways in the world! Or the biggest trackways of a giant mule… =)
Not further away, in the XVII and XVIII centuries, was built a sanctuary complex, called Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel, which includes a church (still in use today) and a big lodging-house, both sides of the church, which received the great number of pilgrims. Sadly this lodging-house has long been abandoned, but you can explore it anyway.
Besides this, the cape has also a lighthouse with a 32m high hexagonal tower, and an aqueduct and water house that brought water to the sanctuary. A little further away there are also some abandoned military facilities, facing the ocean. There’s a lot to see and explore!
Feel free to walk around, explore the buildings and the cliffs, the nature… Just be careful not to fall…
This is a great place to visit in the end of the day, walk around, explore, take some photos and in the end enjoy the nice sunset over the ocean!
If you don’t have a car, TST ( http://www.tsuldotejo.pt/ ) has buses from Lisbon to Sesimbra and then from Sesimbra to Cabo Espichel.