Palácio de Monserrate & Cabo da Roca
Last stop at the end of continental Europe
Palácio de Monserrate
The last palace we visited in Sintra was Palácio de Monserrate. The history of this palace dates back to the times of the Moors, but it takes its name from a small chapel dedicated to Mare de Déu de Montserrat (Our Lady of Montserrat) in Catalonia, Spain. Its gardens were designed in the late 18th century by a wealthy young Englishman named William Beckford. After visiting the palace several times the English poet Lord Byron immortalized them in his Childe Harold’s pilgrimage (1812). In 1856 another Englishman, Sir Francis Cook, bought the abandoned estate and let the British architect James T. Knowles build a fabulous in Moorish-style palace as a family summer residence. He also transformed the gardens with an enormous lawn and sub-tropical trees from all over the world.
Cabo da Roca
The lighthouse on top of this impressive 140 meter high cliff marks the westernmost extent of European mainland. With its amazing view over the Atlantic, the famous 16th-century Portuguese poet Luís de Camões described Cabo da Roca as the place:
Onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa (where the land ends and the sea begins)