Cabo Espichel sets an abrupt frontier between the earth and the sea. With gigantic cliffs, magnificent views, and a rebellious ocean all in the same place, it sets the mood to deeply understanding how small human nature is.
As a tourist, this place really deserves a look, it has a wide range of great finds that makes it worthy of a look. You can find the Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Cape), a late17th church, fossilized dinosaur footprints in the nearby Praia dos Lagosteiros, an 18th century lighthouse or try to find the tracks of a special mule embedded in the rocks.
According to a 13th century legend, a local man had a vision of the Madonna rising from the sea on a mule, leaving these footprints carved. If you’re into Cameron Diaz and have seen “The Invisible Circus” you will recognize the landscape from the suicide scene. Nothing new for the locals, just a simple case of art imitating real life, since from the early days a lot of suicides have happened here.
Fighting against the abandon of the Sanctuary, in its last years, a festival was held to create awareness of the place. On the 10th of September 2012, you can catch a lot of Portuguese bands, musicians, and artists performing for free. Make sure you bring your coat since the wind can feel frozen, especially in the summer nights.
Despite its importance, being abandoned, and its legends, I am most impressed by the nature itself and the amazing way the sea cuts the cliffs with its fury.