When some bright spark suggested I might like to write this feature I was very grumpy! It wasn’t quite so bad when I realised that it’s not 4 am stuff but right now in late November around 7.20 am. But, where to look? Mother Nature is a very clever girl – I mean all this beauty, every single day is incredible. Wrapped in a fluffy blanket and hugging a mug of coffee in one of those things the kids call a “keep cup” I very bravely faced the elements (13 C/ 55 F) and sat watching the world change colour.
My top sunrises are listed below. Each location is breathtaking in its own unique way and all are so completely different. A couple of these places are on the list because they are the highest or furthest so it just had to be included!
1. Largo da Igreja, Salir
I love wandering around an old church and found this spot last summer one Sunday afternoon mooching about in Salir. At the top of a steep, cobbled road is a traditional village church with a restaurant opposite. This time, at 7 am, in the pitch black, in November, I drove to the top of the hill. I would say it was freezing but, this is the Algarve and of course, it’s not actually freezing – just feels that way having groaned my way out of my snugly bed 20 minutes previously.
I’m trying to find the words to accurately describe this metamorphosis from night to day but feel quite unable. As you sit and watch the sunrise from behind the distant hills, the rays of light preceding this ball of fire which breathes life into the world, you can’t help but feel quite overwhelmed. It really is like watching a miracle; a staggeringly intense change as the silhouettes of trees and mountains become visible and solid rather than outlines. I was absolutely enthralled (having never actually concentrated and witnessed whilst sober and quite awake) the intense beauty of a sunrise.
The peace and tranquillity of the moment was real. Finished my coffee, felt wide awake and drove home looking forward to sharing all this positive energy. I felt energised and motivated all day and whether in reality I actually did achieve more than usual, it certainly felt that way.
2. Guadiana International Bridge
Right/West Bank of the Guadiana is the Portuguese Side, Castro Marim
The bridge was designed by the Portuguese structural engineer Professor José Luis Câncio Martins. The bridge is open to vehicles only – unfortunately, you can’t walk or cycle across. The Guadiana Bridge is an incredible feat of engineering and the marriage of man and nature is spectacular.
The bridge span is 666 metres with the distance between the two towers being 324 metres. The deck stands 20 metres above the river, allowing the navigation of deep-draft ships. The tower on the Spanish side rests on an artificial island built on the riverbed, while the foundations on the Portuguese side are on land. From Portugal, you can drive right up to a GNR station and park your car and watch as the sun appears with the bridge as a silhouette – it’s my favourite “man-made” sunrise. As nature and engineering merge, this spectacular structure is dwarfed; a reminder that no matter how hard we try, we just can’t compete with Mother Nature.
3. Cape St Vincent
The Most Westerly point of Europe which was, centuries ago, thought to be the edge of the world. The only issue with visiting Cape St Vincent is that because of the location it can be over-busy with tourists. Personally, I prefer the winter sunrise as its so dramatic and rugged against the cliffs and far fewer tourists too. The windier and stormier the better for this venue but wear your thermals!
4. Praia de Benagil
This is for those of you with a sense of adventure and prepared to put some extra effort in! This sunrise needs to be seen from the water and the best way to do that is from a kayak. So, probably best enjoyed during the summer and definitely under supervision unless you are experienced and have all the right equipment.
5. Mount Fóia, Monchique
The views from the top of Mount Foia are truly wondrous. It’s a fair drive to the top – takes around 45 minutes. We drove up there, were the only car on the road and had the place entirely to ourselves. The silence, the tranquillity and the view are truly beautiful. We sat, silently spellbound and savoured every second. Such a feeling of peace and the vast open space was perfect.
Take the time to find these places, to experience the rush all this natural beauty provides. It’s a little bit of food for your soul. Let’s face it, helps us all out these days. I would love to hear from you if you know of a stunning venue to watch and welcome the new day. Please feel free to comment below!