Fortification - Modern Age (4662)
The fortress of Arrifana is located on a cliff side promontory, 70 m above sea level, north of Arrifana Bay, in a place of wide visibility over the beach and the Vicentina Coastline. This fortress was built in 1635 during the reign of Filipe III, with the aim of protecting the west coast of the Algarve, especially the tuna fishermen from the bay of Arrifana, from corsair attacks. It has an irregular shape, composed of two parts connected by a ravine and is highly affected by erosion. The entrance to the compound was composed of an arch door, surmounted by a stone of arms containing the shield of Portugal, the coat of arms of the Coutinho family (belonging to D. Gonçalo Coutinho, Governor of the Algarve) and its construction date. Inside the fortress and next to the entrance was the location of the guardhouse, compartments for the garrison's quarters and the powder magazine. A highly eroded connecting corridor was used to transpose the gorge, after which, traces are found of the artillery battery that was overlooking the sea, which had two bronze artillery pieces. Arrifana was the target of several renovation works during the 18th century, mainly after the great earthquake of 1755. During the 19th century the fortress of Arrifana loses its importance, being completely abandoned in 1861.


The archaeological site is prepared to receive visitors, having a wooden walkway that allows access to the interior of the fortress and enjoy the viewpoint. This site is part of the Al-Mutamid Route and Vicentina Route and Historic Trail - Arrifana - Carrapateira.

Visit conditions

Free entrance




    How to get there? Best practices

    Best practices

    Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

    To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

    Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

    More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

    Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

    As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

    • Respect all signs; 
    • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
    • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
    • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
    • Do not collect materials or sediments;
    • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
    • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
    • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
    • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
    • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
    • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
    • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
    • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

    Further information:

    AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

    Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

    DGPC contacts

    Phone: +351213614200 | Email:


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