Silent sentinels looking out to sea
A link between land and sea, companion to fishermen and mariners, the lighthouse sends out warning: “land approaching!” It alerts seamen to possible dangers of shipwreck. Silent sentinels, the lighthouses also offer the widest angles of vision, giving great panoramic views over land and sea.
From the height of its position, the Cape St. Vicent Lighthouse stands out on the promontory from which it gets its name. It is one of the largest lighthouses in Europe and has watched over Atlantic routes since 1846.
In this lighthouse, the Portuguese Navy has installed a museum with the objective of educating the public on the history of the lighthouse and how it works.
To the East, the Ponta da Piedade shelters another lighthouse constructed in 1913 on the site of an old hermitage. A lookout post, 2 km from Lagos, it affords the visitor a great opportunity to enjoy the imposing cliffs, carved by the sheer force of the ocean, that separate the lighthouse from the sandy beach.
At the most southerly point of Portugal in the artificial harbour of Faro and Olhão, at the extreme end of the Island of Culatra, the Lighthouse of Santa Maria was constructed in 1851. This imposing structure, 46 metres in height, provides efficient guidance to ships. Located in a sandy area very close to the sea, it is surrounded by fishermen’s houses which add special colour to the natural environment of Portugal’s southernmost lighthouse.