Known for its wild, untamed landscape, Cape Espichel is a southwestern headland in the Setúbal District. The cape meets the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean with dramatic, high-rising cliffs and a wind-blown, barren landscape. Atop the cliffs lies raw, isolated countryside, and many visitors describe the area as mysterious and spiritual.
Beyond the incredible scenery, the cape is home to ruins, fossils and other sights. At the water’s edge there’s a lighthouse, offering great views of the seascape. Also perched at the edge of a cliff is a small, simple white chapel, with the deep blue ocean as its backdrop.
There’s also the Santuário de Nossa Senhora, a baroque-style church, built in 1707. The main structure has been well maintained, with original tiles and stonework, and the surrounding area has ruins to explore. But the sights at Cape Espichel go even farther back then the 18th century—the area is also home to several sets of fossilized dinosaur footprints that are visible on the side of a cliff. The footprints are estimated to be 145 to 150 million years old.
The best way to visit Cape Espichel is by renting a car or taking a guided day trip. Cape Espichel is about 25 miles (40 km) from the city of Setúbal and 9 miles (14 km) from Sesimbra. Along the way, visitors will pass through small villages, rolling hills, grazing sheep, and other picturesque countryside scenes.