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Fortaleza de Peniche

Discover the dramatic history of this 16th-century fortification, which was transformed into a political prison in the Estado Novo period and now houses a museum.

Fortaleza de Peniche (Peniche Fort) is a remarkable structure and an icon of the city. Constructed by Dom João III in the 1500s in a bid to protect the portside city from seafaring invaders and marauding pirates, the fort is an imposing military complex and a landmark on the peninsula’s coastline. Learn about the region’s fascinating history when you visit the Peniche City Museum (Peniche Museu Municipal) situated within the fort walls. Find out about the fort’s extraordinary stories of political prisoners and jailbreaks.

The fort rises up from the jagged cliffs, merging seamlessly with the coastline. Admire the imposing star-shaped architecture of the 16th-century ramparts, hewn from local stone. Spot the Santa Bárbara Chapel and the Sentinel Tower within the fort complex. Built during the same time as the forts at Consolação Beach and the S. João Baptista fort on the Berlenga Islands, Fortaleza de Peniche protected the old walled city from sea attack.

Enter the fort complex to find the Peniche City Museum. Inside, there is a series of exhibitions that detail a twist in the fort’s history. During the Estado Novo (New State) period, Fortaleza de Peniche was used to detain political prisoners who rebelled against the dictatorial regime. 

In 1960, the fort set the scene for one of the most dramatic jailbreaks in Portuguese history. Learn about how a group of political prisoners made their escape. One of the escapees was Álvaro Cunhal, the communist revolutionary and major opponent of the Estado Novo. Explore the solitary confinement cells and the prison yards of the old jail. Continue exploring the museum to find exhibitions dedicated to the Peniche peninsula region.

Fortaleza de Peniche is located on the southern side of the Peniche peninsula, near the mouth of the city’s harbor. It is less than a 5-minute drive from the city center. The fort complex is closed on Mondays.


Top Hotel Deals

See all 157 Hotels near Fortaleza
MH Peniche

MH Peniche

Avenida Monsenhor Bastos, Peniche
of 5, from 12 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Peniche hotel is located on the riverwalk, within 1 mi (2 km) of Consolation Beach, Peniche Beach, and Fortaleza. Baleal Beach and Cabo Carvoeiro are also within 3 mi (5 km).

Sea Garden Residência

Sea Garden Residência

Rua Alexandre Herculano, 76, Peniche
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Peniche, this bed & breakfast is within 2 mi (3 km) of Fortaleza, Cabo Carvoeiro, and Peniche Beach.

Katekero II

Katekero II

Av. do Mar 72,, PENICHE
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Peniche, this apartment is within 2 mi (3 km) of Fortaleza, Consolation Beach, and Peniche Beach. Cabo Carvoeiro is 1.9 mi (3 km) away.

Peniche Surf Lodge - Hostel

Peniche Surf Lodge - Hostel

Rua Casal do Viola, 6, Peniche
of 5, from 1 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Peniche, this hostel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Fortaleza, Peniche Beach, and Consolation Beach. Cabo Carvoeiro is 2 mi (3.3 km) away.