Located on the cliffs of Espichel cape, near N. Sra. do Cabo Sanctuary and under the N. Sra da Memória Hermitage, known until 1428 as Santa Maria da Pedra Mua, this is likely the most eye-catching deposit of the Espichel Cape region due to its privileged location which also allows good observation of the prints. In vast limestone slabs, with 30 to 40º inclination, dated from the Upper Jurassic are inscribed and well preserved theropod (biped carnivorous dinosaurs) and sauropod (herbivores) footprints of big and small dimensions which wandered through there 145 million years ago. Parallel tracks reveal that at least 7 small sauropods were together in a herd (biped carnivorous dinosaurs) and sauropods (herbivores) of big and small sizes that wandered through there 145 million years ago. Parallel tracks reveal that at least 7 small sauropods were together, in a herd, an excellent example of the gregarious behaviour of those animals. In a diverse context, one of these trails is associated to the Our Lady of Pedra da Mua legend, in which a giant mule carried the Virgin from the sea level to the top of the Cape, which has been a holy place since then.
Jurassic - geological period in which the dinosaurs dominated and the development of vegetation was abundant. It lasted about 54 million years, roughly between 208 to 144 million years ago.
Sauropods – herbivores dinosaurs with long necks and tails, relatively small skulls and brains, and erect limbs reminiscent of the limbs of elephants.
Theropods - (meaning "beast-footed") dinosaurs belonging to the suborder Theropoda. Essentially carnivores and omnivores. They walked only on two legs (bipedal).
Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas, I.P. (ICNF, I.P.)
Cliffs and beaches
Lisbon and Tagus Valley
Identification and Access
- Sesimbra - N379 heading towards Espichel Cape, 400 meters before you enter the Nossa Senhora do Cabo Sanctuary, there is a dirt road which will take you to Lagosteiros Beach, which is located immediately north of the Espichel Cape. We recommend that you do this path by foot, which has a length of approximately 850 meters. While on the Lagosteiros cove, turning west you can see the ichnofossil deposit of Pedra da Mua to the south.
The fisherman saw the tracks from sea and thought they belonged to a mule (mua) that carried the Virgin from the sea to the top of the cliff. The legend remains, but in truth, the footprints belong to dinosaurs, and its strange position is nature's own fault. However, the Arrábida Natural Park has even more to offer...
To observe the fauna leave early in the morning or a bit before dusk. Bring binoculars and a camera, if you have them.
Always pay attention to the weather forecast and avoid performing activities in days of rain, thunderstorm or fog. Avoid going out by yourself, but, if you do, inform an acquaintance or a local entity of your departure and return. Use simple and comfortable clothes. Take special precautions when walking in rocky areas, to avoid falling and do not act in a way that might endanger yourself or others.
In case of an accident contact the emergency service 112.
Supports in place
The Monument has directional and informative signs throughout all of its area.
Statutes of Conservation
PTZPE0050 Cabo Espichel (Espichel Cape)
The Shrine of Our Lady of Cape Espichel, also known as the Shrine Our Lady of Mua Stone, is located in the Cape Espichel. Its origin (fourteenth century) is associated with the chapel built to honor an image of the Virgin (legend of Holy Mary of Mua Stone).
Lighthouse of Cape Espichel, whose tower is 32 meters high, dates from 1790 and is located 600 meters from the Sanctuary of Cape Espichel, in position overlooking the ocean, which provides sweeping views of the sea and the cliffs.
What you can do
1. See the dinosaurs footprints and enjoy the spring sunshine to photograph it.
1. Note the dinosaur footprints and, if you like it, try to draw it on paper.
2. Visit the Natural Monument and then go to the beaches in Arrábida Nature Park.
3. Bring binoculars and, after seeing the footprints and being careful not to fall, observe seabirds that go by.
4. Visit the dinosaur footprints, then go and visit Santuário do Cabo Espichel (Shrine of Espichel Cape) and photograph the beautiful panorama from Espichel Cape, especially at sunset.
1. Visit the dinosaur footprints and enjoy the rest of the day to visit Arrábida Nature Park.
1. Visit the dinosaur footprints and enjoy the rest of the day to taste Sesimbra cuisine.
Best Season: All year long
Monumento Natural da Pedra da Mua (Headquarters)
Av. da República, 16
Phone: (00351) 213 507 900