On a recent surfing/family holiday to Portugal, we aimed to take in the New Year in Sagres as we were advised this would be where the Portuguese spend their New Year.
For those that don't don't know Sagres lies at the most southwesterly tip of mainland europe, and was the location of one of most famous nautical schools from where the great explorers of Portugal discovered most of the New World.
From a surfing perspective, Sagres is unique in that there are beaches in walking distance of the small town that face both south and west. For surfer and bathers alike this provides respite from the wild North Atlantic that pounds the west coast in the winter months.
The town itself is in the midst of a resurrgence, the trendspotters from Lisbon and Porto have recognised the potential in Sagres and there are numerous bars and restaurants opening up. Of the 3 main bars in the town, The Bubble Lounge sticks out, serving the best homemade burgers I've had outside London (excepting U.S.A), great cocktails, with regular films nights on the big screen and loads of cushion to kick back after hard days surf and playing with the kids.
Praca Republica is the focal point of town, just above Mareta beach. This appears to be the unofficial meeting place at the start of the day, where people come to take breakfast or just a coffee and plan the day ahead.
There are numerous restaurants all serving locally caught fresh seafood, we were sat in one such restaurant, Babugem when one of the locals sat at the bar inquired after the fish we were eating. We replied that we were really enjoying it, he was pleased as he informed that he had caught the same fish earlier that day.
Sagres has a rustic charm and as yet remains untouched by the commercialism that the Algarve is infamous for. The locals are friendly, and kids are welcome evreywhere. For surfers it is without doubt the best surfing destination anywhere in Europe.