A stone fortress with blue sky behind

One of the Algarve’s most visited monuments, the Ponta da Bandeira Fort, has been closed for over a year. The local authority wants to restore it so that it can once again bear witness to the Portuguese discoveries.

Overlooking the charismatic Praia da Batata, the Ponta da Bandeira Fort is one of the best preserved 17th century military structures in the region. It didn’t escape the 1755 earthquake unscathed, but was rebuilt soon after. It is now awaiting intervention for the first time in 22 years.

"The fort is very exposed to all the erosion from the wind and the sea and requires continuous maintenance. These maintenance works last took place between 2002 and 2003 on the entire upper floor," Elena Morán, an archaeologist at the Dr. José Formosinho Museum, explained to SIC.

The wall, built to counteract the advances of the sea – which is not always calm – continues to fulfill its original purpose. The damage caused by erosion is undeniable, although it does not yet pose a threat to the foundations.

The Ponta da Bandeira Fort was a transit point for more than 40,000 annual visitors before the pandemic. At the time, it was the second most visited monument in the city. It houses several themed rooms, which are due to host exhibitions again from March.

“O que está previsto é requalificar este edifício para o adaptar a um núcleo museológico do museu de Lagos que terá como tema “Lagos e o mar” e que nos vai permitir abordar vários aspetos para além da praça de guerra de Lagos e da importância da defesa da costa na jurisdição desta praça, que abrangia desde Aljezur até Portimão. E nomeadamente, todo o uso das armações de pesca, das pescas artesanais e, mais recentemente, das indústrias conserveiras”, avançou Elena Morán.

The Municipality of Lagos is about to launch a study to assess the structural deficiencies of this Public Interest Building. The work is part of the Algarve’s Regional Priority Interventions Plan, but restoration work will only go ahead once a diagnosis has been made. Until then, the aim is to bring tourists back to this fort-museum, which has been inactive since 2022.