Lying beyond the city’s walls, the Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Penha de França is more commonly known as the Ponta da Bandeira Fort.
Built late on in the 17th century, it completed the defences of Lagos. The entranceway is by drawbridge over a moat. Given it was one of the later defensive strongholds built in Lagos, the Fortress is also one of the best preserved.
The complex includes within it a chapel dedicated to Saint Barbara and tiling dating to the late 18th century. Fully restored in the 1960s, this landmark gives a clear impression of the naval fortifications of old Lagos.
Now, it is home to one of the most traditional celebrations of Lagos: the 29th Swim. Once undertaken for reasons of purification, the council’s people would all proceed to go for a swim in the sea at midnight on August 29th. The tradition has survived while now somewhat more high profile with live music and much good regional cuisine.
Inside the Fort, the barracks are given over to art exhibitions and a small restaurant does a good job at evoking the ambience of times gone by.
And, to cap it all, the Fortress provides magnificent panoramic views over the city and the sea below.