While at the beach, I discovered the true reason for Reini’s desire to be there… He was planning on proposing!! Somehow he snuck an engagement ring in his luggage without me figuring out he was up to something. We had a hotel spot right on a beautiful beach (Praia das Maçãs) and we were really enjoying walking around and lounging. But that night, Reini said we just HAD to go to a place he found in his guide book at sunset – Cabo da Roca. I’m not going to tell all the personal details, but Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point in continental Europe. Reini said this was the closest spot to home for me 🙂 The point has a fun red and white lighthouse high on a cliff and the spot is also marked with very large cross. It’s a really cool place and great for a romantic sunset proposal!
All the beaches in the region were really lovely. Praia das Maçãs was rather empty, so we were able to get prime spots on the sand. We did some reading and some splashing in the (cold) waves. There are also some cool cliffs that you can walk up. We didn’t get as close to the edges as the fishermen with their really long poles, though. But it made for some beautiful scenery.
As we headed north, we made a stop at another nice beach town – Nazaré. According to legend, it used to be a sleepy fishing village. It’s now a beach vacation spot for Portugal’s families. One of my favorite things were the beach cabanas!! Set up on the beach were at least a hundred little rustic beach cabanas that Portuguese grandmas rented out to the tourists for the day. For less than $7, this fair skinned girl couldn’t refuse! We really enjoyed this beach, but it was a bit more crowded and the waves were pretty big. In fact, the biggest wave ever surfed was in Nazaré. Needless to say, we did our wading close to the lifeguard stand… But the water was so clear and clean that we had to go in at least a bit.
Our favorite spot just outside of the town was called Sítio. It’s a short funicular ride (or in our case, a steep hike…) up to the top of the cliffs overlooking Nazaré and beaches below.