Lighthouses of Southern Portugal

Portugal has a distinguished maritime history: Portuguese sailors launched and led the European age of discovery, and Portuguese ships have been finding their way home from the far corners of the globe for about 600 years. It's not surprising that lighthouses have played an important role in Portuguese culture, and that they are treasured national monuments today.

This page has information on the lighthouses of the southern part of the Portuguese mainland, from the Lisbon area southward. Lighthouses north of the Lisbon area are on the Northern Portugal page. Lighthouses of the Azores and Madeira (islands discovered and settled by the early Portuguese explorers) are also on separate pages.

The Portuguese word for a lighthouse is farol, plural faróis. Lighthouses in Portugal are owned by the navy (Marinha de Portugal) and operated by the navy's lighthouse directorate (Direcção de Faróis). Generally this has meant that lighthouses were closed to the public, but in November 2011 it was announced that the six historic lighthouses of the Algarve would be open every Wednesday afternoon year round. In 2013, the Navy extended the Wednesday open-house program nationwide.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. PT numbers are from the Portuguese Navy list, as recorded by Portuguese Wikipedia. Admiralty numbers are from volume D of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Portugal
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Portugal
Excellent aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Faróis de Portugal
Portuguese Wikipedia article on the country's lighthouses. Near the bottom of the page are links to pages for the individual lighthouses. The photos are also available in Wikimedia's Lighthouses in Portugal category.
World of Lighthouses - Portugal
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Faróis de Portugal
Fine recent photos posted on Flickr.com by Carlos Olmo.
Phares d'Europe
Photos posted by Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller.
Lighthouses of Portugal
Historic postcard images collected by Michel Forand.
Leuchttürme Portugals auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images collected by Klaus Huelse.

Farol da Guia
Farol da Guia, Lisbon, 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo

by Rosa Cabecinhas and Alcino Cunha

Faro District (Algarve) Lighthouses

Note: The Algarve, Portugal's south coast, is famous worldwide for its beaches and resorts. All of the Algarve is included in the Faro District.
Vila Real de Santo António Lighthouse
** Vila Real de Santo António
1923. Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft); white flash every 6.5 s. 46 m (151 ft) round concrete (?) tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story keeper's complex. Lighthouse is white with narrow black horizontal bands; lantern painted red. Marc Ryckaert's photo is at right, Carlos Olmo has a great photo, Trabas also has an excellent closeup photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse marks the entrance to the Rio Guadiana, which forms the border between Portugal and Spain. Located on the west side of the river, on the Estrada da Mata, in Vila Real de Santo António. Site open, tower open Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS POR-057; Admiralty D2246; NGA 3816.

Olhão Lighthouses
* Fuzeta (Fuseta, Igreja Matriz da Fuzeta) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1887). Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); red light occulting once every 3 s. 17 m (56 ft) lantern atop a white church belltower. Trabas has a closeup photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located in Fuzeta, a small fishing port about 8 km (5 mi) east of Olhão. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Igreja Matriz. ARLHS POR-074; Admiralty D2230.1; NGA 3772.
* Olhão Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 7 m (23 ft) small round cylindrical tower, painted with a white and a red horizontal band, mounted atop a 1-story building, believed to be a police station. Trabas has a photo by José Da Palma. Located somewhere on the waterfront of Olhão. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D2226.
* Olhão Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); red light, 2.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 12 m (39 ft) light mounted atop a historic church, the 17th century Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Rosário. Trabas has a photo by José Da Palma, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located in downtown Olhão, 360 m (1/4 mi) from the front light. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D2226.1.
Faro de Vila
Vila Real de Santo António Light, April 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo
by Marc Ryckaert

Faro Lighthouses
** Cabo de Santa Maria (2)
1996 (reconstruction of 1851 lighthouse). Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); four white flashes every 17 s. 46 m (151 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2-story circular masonry base, attached by an enclosed corridor to a large 1-story keeper's complex. Lighthouse is white, lantern red. Osvaldo Gago's photo is at right, another closeup photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a postcard view of the original lighthouse, and Google has a great satellite view. The height of the tower was increased from 34 m (112 ft) in 1922. This led to an instability in the tower, so in 1929 the lighthouse was "consolidated" with the robust concrete form seen today. The extent of the "consolidation" is not clear; it may be that most of the original lighthouse was demolished and replaced by a new tower built on the 2-story base of the original. In 1995-96 there was a second consolidation which included replacement of the lantern. Cabo de Santa Maria is the southernmost point of Portugal, at the edge of an extensive area of dunes, marshes, and channels incorporated in a national park, the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. Located on a barrier island on the east side of the entrance to the channel leading to Faro, about 12 km (7.5 mi) southeast of the city. Accessible only by boat; tours to the area are available. Site open, tower open Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS POR-041; PT-505; Admiralty D2206; NGA 3724.
* Faro Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 3 s. 6 m (20 ft) light mounted atop a factory building. Trabas has a photo. According to Trabas, the building is the Fábrica Fritz. Located somewhere on the waterfront of Faro. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D2214.
* Faro Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 63 m (207 ft); red light occulting once every 6 s. 21 m (69 ft) square concrete church tower with a light mounted at the top. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located at the church of Santo António do Alto in Faro. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D2214.1.

Loulé Lighthouses
* Esporão East Mole
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green flash every 3 s. 6 m (20 ft) pentagonal tower with gallery, painted with green and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of a mole in Esporão, on the east side of Quarteira. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-089; Admiralty D2198.3.

Farol de Santa Maria
Cabo de Santa Maria Light, May 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo
by Osvaldo Gago

* Quarteira West Mole
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 3 s. 6 m (20 ft) pentagonal tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo, Rui Simão also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of a mole in Quarteira, about 1.5 km (1 mi) east of the Vilamoura Marina. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-096; Admiralty D2198.1.
* Vilamoura Marina East Mole
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 4 s. 7 m (23 ft) round bluntly conical tower with gallery, painted with green and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo, a photo showing both mole lights is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the mole on the east side of the entrance to the Vilamoura Marina. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-083; Admiralty
* Vilamoura
Date unknown (modern). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) round concrete cylindrical control tower with the light on a skeletal mast on the top. Trabas has a closeup, and Google has a satellite view. The artificial harbor of Vilamoura, about 20 km (13 mi) west of Faro, is probably the largest yacht harbor on the Algarve, with over 100 berths. Located on the west side of the harbor, about 5 km (3 mi) south of the village of Vilamoura. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-041; PT-491; Admiralty D2197.2; NGA 3716.
* Vilamoura Marina West Mole
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); red flash every 4 s. 7 m (23 ft) round bluntly conical tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a closeup photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the mole on the west side of the entrance to the Vilamoura Marina. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-062; Admiralty D2197.3; NGA 3708.

Lagoa Lighthouse
** Alfanzina
1920. Active; focal plane 56 m (184 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 23 m (75 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the front of a 1-story keeper's complex. 3rd order Fresnel lens in use. The faces of the tower are covered with white tiles; lantern painted red. Larry Myhre's photo is at right, Rui Ornelas has a photo, Ricardo Santos has a photo of the lighthouse in action, Trabas has an excellent photo, Carlos Olmo also has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a rocky promontory off the N530 highway about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Lagoa. Site open, tower open Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS POR-001; PT-478; Admiralty D2192; NGA 3684.

Portimão Lighthouses
** Ponta do Altar
1893. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white light, 2 s on, 3 s off. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising schoolhouse-style from the front of a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Building painted white with red trim and a red tile roof; lantern painted red. Trabas has an excellent photo, Stefan Pajko has a 2007 photo, and Google has a satellite view. This is an unusual design for a Portuguese lighthouse. When C.W. Bash visited this site in 2007, he photographed a new concrete communications tower beside the lighthouse. Located on a promontory on the east side of the entrance to the harbor of Portimão, about 7 km (4.5 mi) south southeast of the city. Site open, tower open Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS POR-044; Admiralty D2178; NGA 3644.
* Portimão East Mole
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green flash every 5 s. 7 m (23 ft) round bluntly conical tower with gallery, painted with dark green and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the mole on the east side of the entrance to Portimão harbor. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-092; Admiralty D2179.2; NGA 3652.
Alfanzina Light
Alfanzina Light, Lagoa, September 2013
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre
* Portimão West Mole
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); red flash every 5 s. 7 m (23 ft) round bluntly conical tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the mole on the west side of the entrance to Portimão harbor. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-093; Admiralty D2179; NGA 3648.

Lagos Lighthouses
* Lagos East Mole
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green flash every 5 s. 6 m (20 ft) rectangular pyramidal concrete tower with gallery, painted with green and white horizontal bands. Access to the gallery is by steps cut into the slanted side of the tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the mole on the east side of the entrance to Lagos harbor. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-090; Admiralty D2176; NGA 3632.
* Lagos West Mole
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); red flash every 5 s. 7 m (23 ft) rectangular pyramidal concrete tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Access to the gallery is by steps cut into the slanted side of the tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the mole on the west side of the entrance to Lagos harbor. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-091; Admiralty D2175; NGA 3628.
** Ponta da Piedade (Lagos)
1913. Active; focal plane 51 m (167 ft); white flash every 7 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower, attached to the front of a 1-story masonry keeper's house. 4th order Fresnel lens in use. The unpainted building is faced with yellow-brown tiles; lantern painted red. Carlos Oliveira Reis's photo is at right, Trabas has an excellent closeup photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the N536 highway about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) south of Lagos. Site and tower open Wednesday afternoons (the station is fenced), but the lighthouse can be viewed from nearby. ARLHS POR-042; PT-445; Admiralty D2174; NGA 3624.

Ponta da Piedade Light, August 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Carlos Oliveira Reis

Vila do Bispo Lighthouses
* Burgau Posto
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white light, 2 s on, 3 s off. Light in a small red lantern mounted near the top of a 1-story post office building in Burgau. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Burgau is a former fishing village, now a popular beach resort. Site open, building status unknown. Admiralty D2172.3; NGA 3623.
* Baleeira (Sagres Breakwater)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); flash every 4 s, white or red depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft) round tower, painted with horizontal red and white bands. Trabas has a closeup photo, Hugo Morgado Pereira has a 2007 closeup, and Google has a satellite view; the light is barely visible in a street view from the base of the pier. Located at the end of the breakwater on the west side of the bay of Baleeira, the harbor of Sagres. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-066; Admiralty D2171; NGA 3622.
Ponta de Sagres (3)
1960 (station established 1894). Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft); red light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 13 m (43 ft) square concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story equipment building. The tower is unpainted concrete; the lantern is white with a red roof. Trabas has a good photo, Kay Schutte has a 2008 photo, Huelse has an older black-and-white photo of the present station, and Google has a good satellite view. Huelse also has a postcard view of the second (1923) lighthouse, which was located about 500 m (0.3 mi) north within the historic Fortaleza de Sagres. The building was demolished after being replaced in 1960, but its foundation can be seen in a Google satellite view. It was at his villa in Sagres that Henrique de Aviz (Prince Henry the Navigator) planned explorations of the coast of West Africa, thus powering the great Portuguese discoveries soon to come in Africa, Brazil and the Orient. The town is on the east side of the Cabo de São Vicente, sheltered by the long finger of the Ponta de Sagres. Located at the end of the peninsula, about 2 km (1.2 mi) south of Sagres. Accessible by road. Site status unknown. ARLHS POR-043; Admiralty D2170; NGA 3620.
** Cabo de São Vicente (3)
1846 (extensively rebuilt 1908; station established around 1515). Active; focal plane 86 m (282 ft); one quick white flash every 5 s. 28 m (92 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2- and 3-story keeper's complex. A hyper-radiant Fresnel lens (larger than 1st order) has been in use since 1908. Light tower is unpainted; lantern painted red; keeper's houses painted white with red roofs. Fog horn (two 5 s blasts every 30 s). A photo is at right, Trabas has a closeup photo, Marjolein Vegers has a 2008 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view. This is one of the world's great lighthouses and Portugal's most famous lighthouse. Cape St. Vincent is the traditional "land's end" of Europe, the extreme southwesternmost point of the continent, the essential landfall for sailors returning from Africa or the Orient. Lights were shown from the Convent of São Vicente early in the 1500s, but the convent and light tower were destroyed in a raid by Sir Frances Drake in 1587. A new light tower was built in 1606. The present lighthouse, placed in service in 1846, was poorly maintained for many years. A large-scale reconstruction, ordered in 1897 and completed in 1908, included the installation of one of the largest Fresnel lenses ever built; only a handful of these great lenses remain in service anywhere. The light was automated in 1982, but a small staff remains on duty. Since the light station attracts thousands of visitors annually, the navy has constructed a small visitor center and museum on the site. Located atop spectacular cliffs at the point of the cape, about 7 km (4.5 mi) west of Sagres. Site and museum open, tower open Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS POR-012; PT-436; Admiralty D2168; NGA 3616.
Farol de São Vicente
Cabo de São Vicente Light, April 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by G. Schmitz

Beja District Lighthouses

Odemira Lighthouses
** Cabo Sardão
1915. Active; focal plane 68 m (223 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 17 m (56 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a long 1-story keeper's house. 2nd order Fresnel lens in use. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. Rodolfo Barros has a good photo, Trabas also has a nice photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The lighthouse marks the only major promontory on the coast of the Beja district. Located atop vertical cliffs just west of the village of Cavaleiro. Site open, lighthouse open on Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS POR-014; Admiralty
* Milfontes (Rio Mira)
Date unknown (modern). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 3 s. 5 m (16 ft) building with a small square lantern structure atop the front side. The building appears to be concrete covered in part by white tiles. Trabas has a closeup photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the north side of the entrance to the Rio Mira in Vila Nova de Milfontes. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-081; Admiralty D2162; NGA 3600.

Setúbal District Lighthouses

Sines Lighthouse
** Cabo de Sines
1880. Active; focal plane 56 m (184 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 22 m (72 ft) round two-stage masonry tower with lantern and two galleries, rising from the front center of a 2-story keeper's complex. Building painted white; lantern and galleries painted red. Rafael Anglada's photo is at right, Trabas has a good closeup photo, Carlos Olmo also has a good photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has a satellite view. The upper stage of the light tower was added in 1980; the lantern, which has a modern design, was probably installed at that time also. Huelse has a postcard view of the lighthouse without the extension and with the original lantern. The lighthouse is now nearly surrounded by a large petroleum tank farm. Cabo de Sines is a very prominent headland roughly 120 km (75 mi) south of Setúbal. Located on the point of the cape, about 1.5 km (1 mi) west of the town of Sines. Site open, lighthouse open on Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS POR-008; PT-401; Admiralty D2160; NGA 3572.

Setúbal Lighthouses
* Doca Pesca (Range Front) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft)); yellow light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 8.5 m (28 ft) round hourglass-shaped fiberglass tower, colored with red and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Located on the breakwater of the fishing harbor of Setúbal. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D2151; NGA 3564.
* Azeda (Doca Pesca Range Rear)
Date unknown (modern). Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); yellow light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 31 m (102 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern. The tower is white with two horizontal red bands near the top; lantern also painted red. Trabas has a good photo, Gabriela Bruno has a closeup photo of the lantern, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The front light is on a skeletal mast. Located on a hilltop north of the Rua Nova Sintra near the Rua Carlos Daniel in Setúbal, about 2.8 km (1.75 mi) northeast of the front light. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-065; PT-385; Admiralty D2151.1; NGA 3568.
* Outão (2)
1880 (station established 1775). Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); red light, 4 s on, 2 s off. 11 m (36 ft) hexagonal concrete tower with lantern and double gallery. Building is unpainted white concrete with red trim; lantern painted red. This unusual lighthouse is perched atop an old fortress, which has been converted into a modern orthopedic hospital. Trabas has a good photo, Gabriela Bruno has another fine photo, Alfonso Wilson has a 2007 closeup, Wikimedia has two photos, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Behind the building are the steep, forested hills of the Parque Natural da Serra da Arrábida. The lighthouse marks the west side of the entrance to the Rio Sado estuary and the harbor of Setúbal. Located on the coastal road about 9 km (5.5 mi) west of Setúbal. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Hospital Ortopedico Sant'Iago do Outão. ARLHS POR-033; Admiralty D2150; NGA 3556.
Faro de Sines
Cabo de Sines Light, Sines, February 2009
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Rafael Anglada

Sesimbra Lighthouses
* Sesimbra Pierhead
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 3 s. 7 m (23 ft) round bluntly conical concrete tower with gallery but no lantern. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo, a 2007 photo and an extreme closeup are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the mole in Sesimbra. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-098; Admiralty D2144; NGA 3516.
* Forte do Cavalo (Sesimbra)
1896. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white light, 3 s on, 2 s off. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted bright red. 5th order Fresnel lens in use. A photo is at right, Trabas has a good closeup, Vasco Silva has a 2008 photo, and Google has a satellite view. This is a typical French prefabricated tourelle. The lighthouse is built within the walls of the 17th century Forte de São Teodósio da Ponta do Cavalo. A keeper's house inside the fort is occupied by a resident caretaker. Located on the Ponta do Cavalo, at the western entrance to the harbor of Sesimbra. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-021; Admiralty D2140; NGA 3512.
** Cabo Espichel
1790. Active; focal plane 168 m (551 ft); white flash every 4 s. 31 m (102 ft) tapered hexagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a large 1-story keeper's complex. 4th order Fresnel lens in use. The lighthouse is covered with white tiles except for unpainted stone trim; lantern roof painted red. Fog horn (one 8 s blast every 31 s). Trabas has an excellent photo, a good 2007 photo is available, F. Azevedo has a 2008 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Cabo Espichel is a very prominent cape about 27 km (17 mi) south of the Tagus. Monks of the monastery of Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Our Lady of the Cape) are said to have displayed navigational lights here as early as the 15th century. Serving as a landfall light for Lisbon, the lighthouse was long considered one of the more important in the country. The site is rather isolated; the lighthouse was not electrified until 1989, and it is still staffed by rotating crews of three keepers. Located atop a spectacular vertical cliff about 11 km (7 mi) west of Sesimbra. Site open; lighthouse open on Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS POR-009; PT-360; Admiralty D2139; NGA 3508.
Farol do Cavalo
Forte do Cavalo Light, Sesimbra, 2006
Wikimedia public domain photo by Sacavem

Almada Lighthouses
Note: Almada is the municipality on the south side of the Tagus opposite Lisbon.
* Chibata
Date unknown (1980s?). Active; focal plane unknown; continuous red light. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) round cylindrical water tower with an expanded upper portion, mounted on a stone base. Upper portion of the tower painted tan, lower portion red. Trabas has a closeup photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located atop a cliff above the Costa da Caparica about 4 km (2.5 mi) southeast of the mouth of the Rio Tejo. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-087; PT-355; Admiralty D2138.
* Cacilhas
1886. Inactive since 1978 (a low-intensity, decorative light is now displayed). 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Patrick Leroy's photo is at right, a July 2009 photo is available, and Huelse has a historic postcard view. This lighthouse appears to be a prefabricated French tourelle. It was deactivated in May 1978 due to a reconstruction of port facilities in Cacilhas. In 1983 the Navy relocated the lighthouse to Serrata on the island of Terceira in the Azores. Residents of Cacilhas protested this removal for many years, and their requests took hold after the lighthouse was deactivated in Terceira in 2004. In 2007 the Navy agreed to return the lighthouse, and on 18 July 2009 ceremonies were held celebrating its reinstallation. As of early 2014, Google's street view showed the lighthouse during the reinstallation process. André Pinho also has a good photo of the lighthouse returned to its former home, Marco Balsinha has a closeup photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse was originally painted black, as seen in Rosalie Beasley's 1964 photo, and the current red color has led to some additional controversy in Cacilhas. Located on the waterfront of Cacilhas, on the south side of the Tejo (Tagus). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-082.
Farol de Cacilhas
Cacilhas Light, Cacilhas, March 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Patrick Leroy

Lisbon Area (Lisboa District) Lighthouses

Lisboa Lighthouse
** [Torre de Belém]
1847. Inactive since 1945 at least. 30 m (98 ft) square gothic stone tower rising from within a pentagonal stone fortress. André Pipa has a good photo, Mario Lapid has another photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Completed in 1520, the Torre de Belém was part of the 16th century fortifications protecting Lisbon. In later years it served as a prison and for many other purposes. In 1886 a skeletal lighthouse with lantern and gallery was erected in front of the gothic tower; Huelse has a historic postcard view of this lighthouse. The light tower was removed, apparently in 1945, and the lantern was relocated to Santa Clara on the Ilha do São Miguel in the Azores. The Torre was thoroughly restored during the mid 1990s and is a popular tourist attraction in Lisbon. Located on the north bank of the Tejo (Tagus) in the Belém neighborhood about 3 km (1.8 mi) west of the Ponte 25 de Abril. Site and tower open daily except Mondays. ARLHS POR-068.

Oeiras Lighthouses
* Mama Sul
1995 (tower built 1857). Active; focal plane 154 m (505 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only along the line of the Barra do Sul channel. 15 m (49 ft) white quadrupod monument; the light is shown from a small platform about 10 m (33 ft) off the ground. Carlos de Sousa has a photo, a closeup is available, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. The monument was built atop the Serra de Carnaxide, a rounded hill known informally as Mama Sul ("south breast"). As it happens, this conspicuous landmark is aligned with the Barra do Sul channel for ships arriving in Lisbon, and in 1995 a directional light was added to the tower. Because of its great height, the light can be seen for 21 nautical miles (39 km or 24 mi). Located in the Carnaxide neighborhood, about 4 km (2.5 mi) west northwest of Belém. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-025; Admiralty D2127.15; NGA 3414.
* Gibalta (Barra do Sul Range Front) (2)
1954 (station established 1914). Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); red light, 2 s on, 1 s off. 21 m (69 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern, gallery, and six vertical ribs. Tower painted white; lantern and ribs painted red: from a distance the lighthouse appears white with narrow vertical red stripes. Nuno Morão's photo is at right, Trabas has an excellent photo, Aires dos Santos has a photo taken from the land side, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The range guides ships through the passagem entre torres (passage between towers) into the estuary of the Rio Tejo (Tagus) and the harbor of Lisbon. The original lighthouse was destroyed by the great Lisbon earthquake of 31 March 1952. Located on the north bank of the Tejo in Oeiras about 8 km (5 mi) east northeast of the Fortaleza de São Julião da Barra. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-022; PT-211; Admiralty D2127; NGA 3408.
* Esteiro (Barra do Sul Range Rear)
1914. Active; focal plane 82 m (269 ft); red light, 4 s on, 2 s off. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a square 1-story base. The tower is unpainted except for two red horizontal bands on the seaward side only; lantern painted red. David Ribeiro Lopes has a photo, Trabas has a fine photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located in a city park about 760 m (0.47 mi) northeast of the Gibalta lighthouse. Site open (although the station itself is fenced), tower closed. ARLHS POR-019; PT-212; Admiralty D2127.1; NGA 3412.
Bugio (2)
1775 (station established at least by 1693). Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); green flash every 5 s. 14 m (46 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising in the center of a circular 16th century stone fort. 300 mm lens in use; the 3rd order Fresnel lens (1896) was removed in 1994. Lighthouse painted white; lantern painted red. Trabas has a photo, P.M. Oliveira has a 2007 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The fort is the Forte de São Lourenço da Cabeça Seca, built on a small island in the center of the entrance to the Rio Tejo (Tagus). Navigational lights were being displayed from the fort in 1693, perhaps much earlier. The early light tower was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755. The island was transferred from the army to the lighthouse department in 1945 and declared a national historic site. Located about 2.8 km (1.75 mi) southeast of the Fortaleza de São Julião da Barra. Accessible only by boat or helicopter. Site and tower closed. ARLHS POR-005; PT-210; Admiralty D2126; NGA 3404.
Farol da Gibalta
Gibalta Light, Oeiras, April 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Nuno Morão
São Julião da Barra (2)
1775 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft); red light, 3 s on, 2 s off. 24 m (78 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with a castellated top and lantern. 4th order Fresnel lens (1895). Tower is unpainted gray masonry; lantern painted white with a red roof. Trabas has a fine closeup, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a good satellite view and a distant street view. This lighthouse and the Farol de Bugio (previous entry) define the entrance to Lisbon, the passagem entre torres (passage between towers) as Portuguese seamen call it. The 16th century Forte de São Julião da Barra guards the entrance to the Rio Tejo (Tagus) and was a key to the defense of Lisbon for centuries. It is not known when navigational lights were first displayed from the fort, but it is known that the light tower had to be repaired following the great earthquake of 1755. The fort now serves as the official residence of the Minister of State and Defense. Located in the center of the fort, just off the Avenida Marginal at the northern entrance to the Rio Tejo in Oeiras. Site and tower closed. ARLHS POR-053; PT-206; Admiralty D2124; NGA 3400.

Cascais Lighthouses
* Albatroz
Date unknown. Inactive since 2012. 6 m (20 ft) light mounted atop the porch of a waterfront building in Cascais. No photo available. Site open, tower closed. ex-PT-202; ex-Admiralty D2122; NGA 3396.
** Santa Marta (Range Front)
1868. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, 4.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 20 m (66 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and double gallery. Tower colored with blue and white horizontal bands, lantern painted red. Fog horn (one 3 s blast every 10 s). Paula Sofia Simoes's photo is at right, Trabas has a good closeup, Guyomard and Carceller have photos by Eric Valenne, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse serves general navigation and also serves as the front light of the Barra do Norte Range, the Farol de Guia being the rear light. The lighthouse was increased in height by 8 m (26 ft) in 1936 in order to make it more visible against an increasingly crowded background. Huelse has a postcard view of the lighthouse before it was extended. Adjacent to the lighthouse are the ruins of the 17th century Forte de Santa Marta. In 2000, the lighthouse department agreed to convey the lighthouse to the city of Cascais for development of a historical museum dedicated to both the fort and the lighthouse. Andreas Köhler visited in 2009 and reports that a small museum on Portuguese lighthouses is now open. Located on the south point of land in Cascais, adjacent to a large marina. Site and museum open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-052; PT-195; Admiralty D2118; NGA 3388.
* Guia (Cascais) (Range Rear) (2)
1761 (station established 1537). Active; focal plane 58 m (190 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off; red light, also 1 s on, 1 s off, is shown along a range line to the east southeast, with the Farol de Santa Marta (next entry) as the front light. 28 m (92 ft) tapered octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery. 3rd order Fresnel lens (1879). The lighthouse is covered with white tiles except for unpainted stone trim; lantern roof painted red. The keeper's houses are in use as residences for staff of the lighthouse department (Direcção de Faróis). A photo by Rosa Cabecinhas and Alcino Cunha appears at the top of this page, Lighthouse Explorer has a photo by Diogo Monteiro, Guyomard and Carceller have several excellent photos by Johan Buys, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse is a beautiful and treasured example of mid 18th century architecture. Monks of the monastery of Nossa Senhora da Guia (Our Lady Guide) began displaying navigational lights on this site in 1537, and the present lighthouse was built after the great earthquake of 1755 largely destroyed the monastery. For arriving ships it serves as a landfall light for Lisbon, and for departing ships it is the rear light of a range that indicates the proper course through the bar of the Tagus. The lighthouse was extensively restored in 2002-03. Located directly on the coastal road (N247) on the west side of Cascais. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-024; PT-192; Admiralty D2114; NGA 3389.
Farol de Santa Marta
Santa Marta Light, Cascais, February 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Paula Sofia Simoes
* Cabo Raso (2)
1915 (station established 1894). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1- and 2-story keeper's complex. Lighthouse painted red. Fog horn (two 4 s blasts every 60 s). This is a typical French prefabricated tourelle. Guyomard and Carceller have photos, Trabas also has a good photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse replaced a wooden tower. The original 5th order lens was replaced by a 6th order lens in 1922 and then by a modern lens in 2003. Cabo Raso marks a right-angle turn in the coastline at the northwestern end of the bight of Lisbon. Located beside the N247 coastal highway on a headland 8 km (5 mi) west of Cascais. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS POR-011; PT-189; Admiralty D2110; NGA 3380.

Sintra Lighthouse
** Cabo da Roca
1772. Active; focal plane 165 m (541 ft); four white flashes every 18 s. 22 m (72 ft) square stone tower, rising from a 1-story keeper's complex. 3rd order Fresnel lens in use since 1946. Tower painted white with unpainted stone trim; lantern painted red. João Campos's photo is at right, Lighthouse Explorer has a good photo by Paulo Domingos, Trabas has an excellent photo, Guyomard and Carceller have many fine photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This was the first Portuguese lighthouse built "from scratch," although several earlier lights were installed in existing buildings. Spain's Cabo Finisterre (see the Western Galicia page) and Portugal's Cabo de São Vicente (see above) may be more famous as western endpoints of Europe, but Cabo da Roca, the "Cape of the Rock" is actually the westernmost point of the Eurasian continent (at 9° 29.8' W). The Romans called the cape Promontorium Magnum--the Great Cape. In 1997 the town council of Sintra erected a plaque at the lighthouse that reads in part, "Cabo da Roca: Onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa" (Here ends the land and begins the sea), a line from the famous poet Luís de Camões. Despite this geographical significance, the light here is not as important to navigators as the lights of Cabo Carvoeiro to the north and Cabo Raso to the south. As a result, the lighthouse was long neglected; not until 1897 did it have a Fresnel lens, and for the next 50 years it had only a fourth order lens. The station is staffed by a crew of three keepers. It is surrounded by a national park, the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais. Located atop a spectacular headland at Azóia, about 12 km (7.5 mi) west of Sintra. Site open, lighthouse open on Wednesday afternoons. Accessible by road, and parking is provided. ARLHS POR-007; PT-186; Admiralty D2108; NGA 3376.
Farol do Cabo da Roca
Cabo da Roca Light, Sintra, May 2005
Flickr Creative Commons photo by João Campos

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Belém (Doca de Bom Sucesso), a 20 m (66 ft) cylindrical concrete tower with an open lantern and gallery near the Torre de Belém on the Lisbon waterfront. This tower is floodlit at night, but it does not seem to be, or to have ever been, an official aid to navigation. Google has a a street view and a satellite view.

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Portugal | East: Western Andalusia

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Posted December 17, 2005. Checked and revised January 8, 2014. Lighthouses: 43. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.