Set on the Atlantic west coast, a 20 minutes drive away from Azenhas do Mar and just north of Cabo da Roca is a hidden gem of a beach, Praia da Ursa. The name comes from "Rocha da Ursa" (bear rock), one of two huge sea stacks at the northern end of the beach. Unspoilt and wild, Praia da Ursa is very untouristed destination because it’s usually too dangerous for swimming due to the strong currents, but on the bright side it’s a perfect spot for escaping the crowds to fully relax in the sun to the sound of crashing waves.
Praia da Ursa is very much located off the beaten track and quite difficult to access, as it involves a hike and a lot climbing down a steep sided valley with loose rocks under foot. However, for those who are capable of reaching this destination it is probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the area and no doubt worth the experience. Just wear appropriate clothing, and not Birkenstocks and a dress like I did.
Cabo de Roca
After a couple of hours at Praia da Ursa the hike continued to the most westerly point of mainland Europe, Cabo de Roca. Historical records indicate that there was a fort on Cabo da Roca in the 17th century that played an important part in guarding the entrance to Lisbon’s harbour, forming a defensive line along the coast, especially during the Peninsular Wars. Today the lighthouse stands as the main symbolic trace of this era.