Algarve, Portugal

Wild cliffs around Sagres

You like the combination of sunshine and climbing right by the sea? You are looking for an exquisite and uncrowded winter destination for rock climbing? Ever thought about Portugal?

Sport climbing in Portugal – honestly, who has that on their radar? Those who think of warm crags in the cold winter months are usually drawn to the classic climbing areas in Italy, Spain, Greece or Turkey.

But if you want to escape the crowds at the end of the year and get to know a new area, Portugal’s sea cliffs offer plenty of variety. At the south-westernmost end of European mainland near Sagres, spectacular cliffs directly above the roaring sea are strung together like pearls on a necklace and offer a wide range of different climbing styles. The coastal area is probably most comparable to the British Pembroke. The exposure there at the cliff edge is enormous. Beneath your feet it pulls you vertically to overhanging down to the wildly roaring sea. Crazy! And it takes a while of getting used to.

There is a huge variety offered from the drilled-in areas like Baleeira and Foz dos Fornos on the Atlantic south coast, to the trad area around Fortaleza de Sagres with its numerous sectors, to the breathtakingly wild Mirror at Cabo de São Vicente on the rugged western Atlantic coast.

Since climbing in Sagres takes place directly on the sea cliffs, you reach the beginning of the respective climbing route in most climbing areas by abseiling. In the trad climbing areas, the anchors for abseiling must also be set up in a mobile manner; the experienced use of mobile belay equipment is very important here. Then nothing will stand in the way of adventurous climbing on Portugal’s most beautiful stretches of coast.


Let’s see where it is:

Climbing areas around Sagres in the overview:

» Armação Nova (sport climbing baseclimbs and multi-pitch routes)
» Mirror (sport climbing baseclimbs and multi-pitch routes, trad routes)
» Foz dos Fornos (sport climbing baseclimbs)
» Corgas (sport climbing baseclimbs)
» Parede das Riscas (sport climbing baseclimbs and multi-pitch routes)
» Ponta do Garcia (DWS)
» Fortaleza de Sagres (trad routes)
» Baleeira (sport climbing baseclimbs, trad routes, DWS)
» Ingrina (DWS)

Climbing gear:

50 m single rope, 35-40 m fix rope, 2 rope protectors, 1 set of Stoppers, 1 sets of C4-Camalots 0.3 – 3, slings, 12 quickdraws


When choosing the area and route, bear in mind that the rock can be salty depending on the wind direction and humidity. In this case, the routes are much more demanding. It is advisable rappeling down a fixed rope in order of having a second possibility to ascend in case of emergency. Once the rope has been pulled off, the only option is to climb up to the top – this should be well thought out beforehand.

Recommended accommodation:

Sagres is a surfing hotspot. There are countless inexpensive flats and accommodation, even out of season.

Culinary recommendation:

Fresh fish at the restaurant “A Tasca” directly at the harbour of Baleeira. Good news for all coffee junkies: Portugal, like Italy, has a real coffee culture!