São Julião da Barra Fort

This imposing and formal site, between two of the most popular beaches on this part of the coast, is one of Portugal’s largest maritime military structures.

Take a break from swimming at Torre Beach in Oeiras, or Carcavelos Beach, and come and see the old “Shield of the Realm”. São Julião da Barra Fort is one of Portugal’s largest maritime fortifications and is impressive for its size and power. Besides being the official residence of the Portuguese Ministry of Defence, it is the largest Vauban-style military complex in the country. On foggy mornings and afternoons, the line of its walls looks like the bow of a ship ploughing along the Tagus. It was built to protect the sandbar and access to the port of Lisbon. Construction began in the 16th century under King João III and its walls have been witness to some of Portugal’s major military confrontations. It’s well worth discovering its history protected by the ditches and bastions at the entrance to the city.

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