I went on a tranquil walk around the cliffs of Praia da Adraga with my parents and little sister the other day. It was a chance to enjoy the cliffside views and the surrounding landscape of the Almoçageme village, a beautiful and lush area in the coast of Sintra. Here is a description of that little seaside stroll. Take it as an inspiration for your visit around Sintra!
It's the end of the morning, around midday. The sky is completely covered in a light mist, but we can still feel the heat form the sun. The weather is not what you would expect for a beach day, but around here the mornings are usually like this, and the clouds should open up about lunch time. It is also the perfect weather for a walk, not too warm, not too cloudy.
Coming from the main road, we begin our walk by the trail that starts a few meters before the beach parking lot. There is a small wooden plaque pointing to it and reading 'Cabo da Roca', and a mosaic that tells us that the path is called 'Caminho do Vale dos Lírios', which means 'path of the lily valley'. Immediately the cheerful sound of birds singing becomes noticeable. There is also a strong aroma from the flowers that occasionally pop up from the dense vegetation. Very soon the trail offers a detour with a sinuous path through an aglomerate of trees. We follow it, getting away from the main trail and the busy road below. A few big rocks with seaside moss start showing up more and more as we approach the steep hillside.
We start going up the hill, an easy climb. The first dozen meters, the terrain turns from white gravel to a brown sand, and all around there are lean trees branching out in an almost threatening way. We go through this small area of the hillside that seems surprisingly dry and grey, contrasting with everything else around it. We keep climbing up, past these first treetops, following the available paths of the rocky hill. At higher ground, there are plenty of patches of flowers, mostly showing a yellow, white or purple color. Finally reaching the hilltop, there is a great view of the seaside cliffs, the coast and the Almoçageme landscape around us.
We are at the top of the cliffs directly above Praia do Cavalo, a small hidden sandstrip near Praia da Adraga, when a very soft and refreshing sea breeze appears. We can spot the high tide shoreline of the bigger beach towards the right. The terrain here is only mildly rough, and full of vegetation. There is a tiny trail leading all the way down the tall rocks to Praia do Cavalo, but it seems a very difficult path for anyone other than trekking experts. We continue along the cliffs, moving south, away from the beach. After a brief minute we have to stop again at the edge of the seaside cliffs to admire the sight of the sea, spreading in the horizon. There is an unrecognizable stillness and silence that makes us gaze at it for a while. Sometimes a seagull passes.
We then reach an opening, where there is a huge circular whole in the ground, with a cage-like grid, from where a few people are staring down. This is Buraco do Fojo, a vertical fissure in the rock that reaches the sea water. At this point the heat gets more noticeable, but the sky is still filled with light clouds. The seaside breeze makes up for it. A cyclist that had taken a break is on his way again, following the same direction we take. The trail widens up a bit, the people crossing paths say good morning to each other. Cabo da Roca is visible up ahead, just after a series of rough and sharp grey rocks that make up the coast for the next several hundred meters. Below, where they sprout from the clear-green waters, are several fishing boats, while seagulls fly overhead.
By the edge of the cliff we pass by a caravan, where foreigners seem to be preparing to have a meal out in the open. A small slope in the terrain offers a better viewpoint of the landscape. To the right, the smooth flat sea. To the left, the fields and hills of Colares and Serra de Sintra, envelopped in a white mist. The lush vegetation extends as far as the eye can see, and it marks the seaside rocks aswell, in patches that can go all the way down to the water. Looking inland again, we spot what seems to be Peninha sanctuary atop one of the highest hills, and closer to where we stand, a vineyard. A narrow path seems to lead there, so we take it.
Eventually, we reach it. It is a small production for a local wine. We go along the few dozens of rows of vines, no more than 1,5 meters tall, with a light green colour. Further up we find a new trail of white gravel, large enough for cars. It is the same one we took in the beginning, so we follow its downward slope back to our starting point. Along the way, we have another perspective over the cliffs and the hillside we climbed earlier. As the sun slowly begins to show up, the lush seaside forest shows a brighter green, with colorful flowers here and there. After the same wooden plaque we saw an hour ago, we finnally arrive at the tar road again, with the Adraga beach in the distance. More and more people are arriving to enjoy what promises to be a sunny afternoon at Praia da Adraga. Maybe we will stay to enjoy it too!
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