Lagosteiros Natural Monument

Stand on the headland facing the Atlantic Ocean. To your left, just across the bay sheltering Lagosteiros Beach, lies Cabo Espichel which is the furthest point of the Setúbal peninsula. In front, the ocean stretches out to the Americas. To your right, you can make out Lisbon and the Sintra hills across the Tejo River.

Look down. The sheet of rocks at your feet is pitted with large round depressions. Millions of years ago, during the Cretaceous period, a quadruped sauropod dinosaur, probably Camarasaurus, walked through mud. Those are her footprints.

Specifically, these are ichnofossils, or trace fossils. They are not fossilized animals’ bodies, but the fossilized evidence that an animal was there – the tracks of their movement.

Around the site, there are other tracks. Some seem to be small sauropods, juveniles? Some are three-toed footprints that belong to bipedal, carnivorous theropods, possibly Megalosaurus and/or Iguanodon.

This whole area is filled with fossilized footprints and sites of geological and paleontological significance. Across the bay, looking towards Cabo Espichel, lie the amazing Pedra da Mua footprints on the cliff face above



The site is very easy to reach. The roads out to Cabo Espichel is well signposted, and there is a signposted car park just before reaching the convent (Santuário da Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel). There is a dirt track that goes to the monument, but it is very rough and only passable with cars that have a high clearance. The walk is about 1.3km to the monument, on solid dirt road. The gradient is not very steep.


On the road, there is a sign to the nearby Pedra da Mua natural monument of dinosaur footprints (“pegadas”):

At the end of the trail, there may be a sign pointing out the Pedra da Mua fossilized footprints, which can be seen across the bay. The sign was down the last time I visited. There is a wooden railing.

The last time I was there, there was no signpost for the monument of Lagosteiros. I just had to wander over to the point and look for the footprints myself.

A map showing where the footprints are located
This photo was from the ICNF website: apparently at some point there was information posted.



The Pedra da Mua monument is visible from Lagosteiros across the bay. There are many fossils that have been found in the area, and quite possibly there are many more footprint sites that can be reached. There is also the natural monument of dinosaur footprints at Pedreiro do Avelino, which is on the road from the cape to Sesimbra.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.