Walking around Arrifana beach

The Arrifana beach, located in the municipality of Aljezur in Portugal’s southwest coast, is one of my favorite places to visit and photograph. Over the years, I have returned many times, during all seasons. The beach, located in a large bay surrounded by tall dark cliffs, is really beautiful. As many other beaches along this coast, it is popular with surfers all year round, thanks to its waves.

During a recent visit, I wanted to photograph the beach from the top of its southern cliff, which can only be reached via some narrow dirt trails that diverge from the main Rota Vicentina route that passes nearby, connecting the towns of Aljezur and Vila do Bispo. After leaving this route, I explored the area in the top of the cliffs overlooking the ocean, trying to find some nice view points. The weather was good, with blue sky and some clouds.

After walking up a steep hill, I was rewarded with wonderful views not only towards Arrifana to the north, but also towards the south. This costal region is part of a Natural Park, with the tall rocky cliffs dropping vertically into the ocean below. There are some good locations to enjoy the view and make a few photos, but some care is required under windy conditions.

The Vicentina coast south of Arrifana.
Wild coast.

It is simply magical to admire Nature’s work, and imagine the tectonic forces that have squeezed these Paleozoic rocks into such complex folded domains. Today, the erosive forces of the sea, the wind, and the rain, keep pounding these rocks.

Cliffs and waves.
Endless view. There are several beaches along the coast (like Vale Figueira and Carrapateira), some only accessible by dirt road.
Boulder and layers.

As the sunset was approaching fast, I walked back towards the look out point over Arrifana. I had with me two lenses, one wide angle and one standard, and I used both. Facing north, the wind was stronger, so I had to make sure my tripod was firmly set. It is possible to walk along the top of the cliff, exploring several ledges that offer good view points to the north over the beach.

Arrifana beach.
Boulder, cliffs, and beach.
Sunset time.

This was an excellent afternoon walk in this beautiful area, at the heart of the Vicentina coast.

The stranded boat

In December 1996, the Dutch boat Klemens got stranded in a small beach near Vila Nova de Milfontes, in the southwest coast of Portugal. This is a strange story, and to this day no one really knows why the boat ended up on the beach. Also, no one has reclaimed or salvaged the ship, so today the Klemens is a sort of tourist attraction. I had not visited this beach for several years, so I recently returned to see how the rusty boat remnants were faring.

A few years later, the ship’s hull has been broken in two, and the rusty remains continue to be battered by the sea.

The Klemens’ final resting place, in the Patacho beach near Milfontes.

When the tide is low, it is possible to go down to the beach to get a really close look. I made several photos, while trying to dodge the waves. Still, I could not avoid getting my feet wet. The rusty color under the near sunset light was quite strong.

Rusting away.
Crashing waves.
Rising tide.

With the rising tide, I left the beach, to make a few more photos from the top of the cliffs. Then I simply sat on the ground and enjoyed the sunset.

From above.
Sunset quiet.
Colorful clouds at sunset.
At day’s end.