Portugal //

The Sintra coast


West of Sintra the road winds around through the hills to PRAIA GRANDE, the best beach on this section of coast, certainly for surfers. In August the World Bodyboarding Championships are held here, along with games such as volleyball and beach rugby. Plenty of inexpensive cafés and restaurants spread along the beachside road. Just north of Praia Grande is the larger resort of PRAIA DAS MAÇÃS, a lively little holiday village with plenty of bars and restaurants sprawled round a broad expanse of sand – a good place to spend a day or two. Sintra’s historic tramway offers the most picturesque, if rather slow, route to the coast: opened in 1904, the tram trundles along from the northeast part of Sintra to the coast at Praia das Maçãs via Colares.

The most visited part of this coast, however, is CABO DA ROCA, 14km southwest of Praia Grande and officially the most westerly point in mainland Europe – the tourist office in the souvenir shop and café here sells a certificate to prove it. It’s an enjoyable trip to get here, though the cape itself offers little more than a lighthouse below which Atlantic breakers slam the cliffs.

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