The movie 007 – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, debuted in London in 1969. Although it was not acclaimed by critics, we can see in it the downtown Lisbon, Casino Estoril, the magnificent Serra de Sintra, Guincho, and Arrábida. Nearby in Palmela village, James Bond got married. An unprecedented scene, given the playboy fame of this mythical character. Arlindo Costa, the owner of Guincho Adventures, told me this Bond story. “We are starting our first trail in Guincho and we are going to travel through some of the places where James Bond has traveled,” he tells me laughing while confessing himself a nature lover. The tour is made by jeep and will take half a day.
1. Jeep Tour in movie Landscapes
Peninha, Malveira da Serra, Praia da Adraga, Cabo da Roca and Almoinhas Velhas is the route we will enjoy. When taking visitors for a whole day trip, Arlindo also adds: the wonderful Historic Center of Sintra (World Heritage of Humanity, declared by UNESCO); Azenhas do Mar – which looks more like a painting, framed by the sea; the frightening Boca do Inferno – to enter it you must go by kayak; and the picturesque village of Cascais.
Our first stop is at Peninha. From here, we can spot a lot of the wonders which we will visit further ahead.
2. Adraga and Fojo Cave
At first, a road that winds through the Sintra sierra waits for us, and through it, you can sight the sea. Remember: James Bond walked this path in his adventures – a path that is narrow, challenging from the start and which tangles us until we get lost.
This path of dirt and stones makes the jeep jump often, which makes me feel as if I’m in an action movie. I try to keep writing, but the wind throws my hair over my face, making this task harder. We traveled down a dirt road to Praia da Adraga. In 2003 it earned the distinction of one of the 20 best European beaches.
Above the beach we find the Fojo, a natural hole with around 80 meters deep that has a connection with the sea. This cave results from the erosive action of rainwater and waves. Despite the height, I dared taking a peek, the sight is impressive and unsuitable for those with vertigo.
3. Praia da Ursa: A Scenic Beauty
As we move along our journey in this fabulous movie, the next stop is Praia da Ursa. To get there you have to take the direction of Azóia, towards Cabo da Roca, the beach is located a few hundred meters from the Cabo da Roca lighthouse, in Sintra. It is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. However, it is difficult and dangerous to access it, so not suitable for everyone. Some years ago, I went down to Ursa beach, I loved it but reaching it was though. The beach name came from a huge stone in the shape of a bear looking at the sky – side by side with another rock formation called The Giant. After looking for a while, I could see the bear-shaped stone. I surrender to the amazing scenic beauty of this place. But, be careful: if the tide rises, the passages will be submerged by the sea.
Cabo da Roca
We then proceed to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Continental Portugal and Continental Europe. It is located in Colares, which is a part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and here pedestrian routes can be made along the coast where the scenery speaks for itself. Until we reach Almoinhas Velhas, our final destination, Arlindo surprises me with stories from the routes he makes on other tours.
4. Quad Bike Adventure Course
The guide explains that the quad bike one-hour tour always starts with a briefing on safe driving techniques and an explanation of the route of the Natural Park. He travels through the Sintra sierra forest trails with the groups, by tricky roads and obstacles, filling the visitors with excitement and adrenalin. This tour ends at Guincho beach.
On a two hours route, the path also includes visits to Charneca, Malveira da Serra, Janas, and ends at the fantastic Peninha viewpoint, that we visited today. There is also a passage through the valley of the Touro River and the little Almoinhas Velhas village, which is very charming. The route can go up to 3 hours if we add Praia da Adraga and its intoxicating cliffs.
5. Turquoise Waters Kayak Tour
Our tour starts at Santa Marta beach, in Cascais, where you can see the house and the lighthouse of Santa Marta, close to the Palace of Conde Castro Guimarães. The tour guide promises to amaze visitors with just a two-hour visit. You can choose between the route that goes to Estoril or the one to Costa da Guia, which goes through Boca do Inferno with the possibility of diving in the sea if the tide allows it.
Arlindo says that there is also another option for a Kayak trip, in Sesimbra or Arrábida coast, where Agent 007’s wife was murdered in a fast chase on the road, in the middle of their honeymoon. The guide continues the stories while driving the jeep, and through his words, I can almost feel as if I was in the movie. Visitor tours start at the marina and enjoy a full day at sea. “We always have to stop at the incredible beach of Ribeira do Cavalo, fantastic zone for snorkeling. You go back to Lisbon, but not before visiting the Sesimbra Castle”, concludes the guide while stopping the car.
Upon arriving at the Touro River, we sat in the hood of the jeep looking at the superb landscape, and here my journey ends. Do you have a dream that you think is impossible? This is how you fulfill it! Live your dreams.