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Carnival and Cycling

This week in Sagres Carnival and Cycling……..

The carnival parade was a success we may not have had the weather of Brazil but the spirit was definitely seen in Sagres. People came from all over the west of the Algarve to see the colourful floats driving down the main high street. There was an assortment of different dancers in a variety of amazing fancy dress. All with one purpose to have fun!

Sagres is the starting point for the 2nd stage of the Algarve tour bike race “Volta ao Algarve” on Thursday 15th February. The start of the race is scheduled for 12 noon in the Fortaleza (fort) parking. They will be racing to Foia at the top of the Monchique mountains. The route in total will be 187.9 km.

The bike race consists of 5 stages that will run from 14-18th February. There are 175 cyclists pre-registered including many of the top names in the world of cycling. The squad will consist of 13 World Tour teams, 3 continental professional teams and nine Portuguese teams. Among the registered cyclists are 19 out of the world top 80 cyclists. Two of these are from the top 10 being Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), who is eight in the ranking and Belgians Philippe Gilberts (Quick-Step Floors) who is tenth in the ranking. The cycle race will be broadcast to more than 50 countries. The coverage will be shown on the Eurosport and in Portugal by TVI24.

It is a fantastic event for Sagres as it is great for the promotion of the area, since this event is shown both nationally and internationally. The Volta ao Algarve is organised by the Cycling Association of the Algarve and the Portuguese Cycling Federation and has the support of the Vila do Bispo City Council. All the latest information regarding the bike race is constantly being updated on this website update

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Carnival in Sagres

Carnival in Sagres

February is carnival time in Sagres. Although dressing up isn’t obligatory, it’s a whole load of fun, the locals’ love it and there are costumes to be found in most supermarkets and Chinese shops. The parade is on Sunday 11th February at 2.30pm in the main street in Sagres. Come and join in!

More information can be found on the Vila do Bispo council website


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Historical Sagres



150 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth, and footprints of those giants remain as evidence in three locations in the Algarve (Praia da Salema, Praia Santa and Praia da Foia do Carro). The discoveries are unique in the Algarve and extended the known grazing areas of the Cretaceous period dinosaurs.


Cape St. Vincent is home to one of the largest known collections of stone circles of the Iron Age. The ancient explorers reported them as belonging to the end of the world (Finisterra) the border between the known world and the afterlife where gods and demons visited at night.


In ancient times there existed in Martinhal a pottery industry that lasted one thousand years, outlasting even the Roman Empire. In the 3d century AD a major Roman production site was installed which has been gradually exposed by erosion. Those large kilns supplied amphorae for the famed Garum – a sh sauce specialty very well appreciated by the elite of the Roman Empire.


Promunturium Sacrum (Holy promontory), became Cape St. Vicente when the mortal remains of St. Vincent were laid to rest in a church in Sagres in AD 779. Killed in AD 304, the adoration of this martyr led to one of the most important catholic cults of medieval times, and Cape St. Vicente one of the main pilgrimage destinations of the Catholic world.


On 22 October 1443, Prince Henry the Navigator received exclusive rights to sail past Cabo Bojador, and in 27 October of the same year, Prince Peter, regent of Portugal gave the lands of Sagres to Henry as well as permission to create a settlement. From that new settlement, entitled Vila do Infante (Prince’s town) Henry the Navigator organized the exploration of the coast of Africa, until his death in that town in 1460.


In 1444 the famous journey of the Venetian, Alvise da Mosto, or more commonly known as “Cadamosto”, stopped abruptly in one of the Sagres coves. After meeting Prince Henry, Cadamosto became a name forever associated with world exploration. The reports of his adventures in Prince Henry’s name become the basis of the XVI century development of cartography.


Dom Sebastião (King of Portugal 1568-1578), was the king that visited Sagres, more than any other, even ordering the construction of a residence in Cape St. Vicent. His goal was to personally ght the Muslim piracy which occurred in the area during his realm. In 1578 Dom Sebastião (The Wanted) enters the realm of legend, disappearing in the battle of Alcacer –Quibir ghting the muslins in northern Africa.


Piracy and privateering has always been a part of the Algarve shores, performed or suffered by the Portuguese. The most famous one was the expedition of Sir Francis Drake in 1587 which landed at Martinhal beach and assaulted the Sagres fortress and the neighboring villages.

(Activity suggestion) – Why not rent a few bikes and follow Drakes route from Martinhal beach to the Fortress. However, instead of burning it, why not just take photographs?


The coastline surrounding Martinhal was the stage for many shipwrecks and battles and at least 8 naval battles occurred in front of cape St. Vicente between the 14th and the 19th centuries. The remains of the French ship “Ocean” (1759) at Salema beach gives testimony to the ferocity of these con icts. Those remains became the rst underwater museum in Portugal.

(Activity suggestion) – Rent snorkel, mask, ns and wet suit and visit this unique sea museum at Salema beach. Entry is free, but wet.


We would like to thank Dr. Tiago Fraga, nautical archaeologist and historian, for his contribution to this lea et.


Albuquerque, L. (dir), 1994, Dicionário da História dos Descobrimentos, Vol. I. Circulo de Leitores, Lisboa.
Benson, E. F., 1936, Sir Francis Drake. Ardent Media.
Bernardes, J. P., 2007. O centro oleiro do Martinhal. Xelb, Vol. 8:191-212.
Costa, A., Andrade, C., Seabra, C., Matias, L., Baptista, M. A. and Nunes, S., 2005, 1755 – Terramoto no Algarve. Centro de Ciência Viva do Algarve, Faro.

Fraga, T. M., Marreiros, J. and Jesus, L. D., 2007, Contos Inacabados: A história submersa de Lagos. Câmara Municipal de Lagos, Lagos.
Garcia, J. M. and Cunha, R., 2004, Sagres. 2nd edition, RCL, Lisboa.
Iria, A., 1976, Da importância Geo-política do Algarve na defesa marítima de Portugal nos séculos XV a XVIII. Academia Portuguesa de História, Lisboa.

Jesus, A. 2012, 10 Facts on Vila do Bispo, Personal Communication
Jesus, A. V., 2005, Vila do Bispo: Uma viagem pela sua história. Camara de Vila do Bispo, Vila do Bispo.
Martins, J. A., 2000, A Freguesia da Vila de Sagres. Junta de Freguesia, Vila de Sagres.
Martins, J. A., 2008, Sagres: Uma Vila do Séc. XV. Papiro, Porto.
Parreira, R. and Magalhães, N., 2009, Sagres do Mar e do Tempo. Direcção Regional da Cultura do Algarve, Faro.