If you drive along the southern coast of the Setúbal peninsula all the way to the west, you’ll eventually arrive at the Capo Espichel, where the land suddenly ends, plunging into the Atlantic. A sanctuary and a lighthouse are found side-by-side on the cape.
Cabo Espichel currently has 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor. Just so you know. Because everything must have a rating, from restaurants to shops to cities to geographical features. Rate them all! Put them in your Top Ten! I don’t know why this irritates me so much. I mean, Cabo Espichel is just a physical place that exists, where the land ends and the ocean begins, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t care about its TripAdvisor reviews.
What’s happening to humanity, that the only things which matter are the very top experiences, and everything else can be forgotten about? It might be true that Cabo Espichel isn’t the greatest cape in Europe. But who cares?! Is only the greatest cape worthwhile? Are you only going to see the top-rated museum while visiting a city? Maybe you are. Maybe you’re just there for a day, and of course you want to see the best. I don’t know, I’d probably do the same. It makes sense, but we’re losing something with this consolidation… this normalization of data. And I’m pretty sure that it’s something important. We’re all loading up the same websites, looking at the same lists, and we’re all marching to the same drumbeat.
Do you enjoy beautiful, raw nature, with cliffs and the raging ocean? Then forget your Top 10 list, and go to Cabo Espichel. You’ll enjoy it, and that’s all you have to know. The wind comes raging in from the ocean, and it’s always remarkable to see the spots at which a continent ends, where our ancestors must have once stood in wonder, completely clueless as to the world beyond that watery horizon.
Jürgen and I parked at the lighthouse, and walked up to the cliff, from where we had an beautiful view back over to the Santuario do Cabo. An hermitage was built on this location in the 1400s, and the larger sanctuary dates from 1707. This has historically been a place of pilgrimage, and the sanctuary contains room for dozens of travelers, in its long side wings. You can peek inside the church, although photography is prohibited and it’s nothing special.
What’s special is the location. Cabo Espichel is an easy 20-minute drive from Sesimbra, and gives you the chance to see nature at its most dramatic.