Essential Tours

Wellington’s Defense lines, Mafra and Ericeira

After the second invasion of Portugal by Napoleon’s army in 1809, the British army, Portugal’s ally, led by Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) designed three defensive lines of 152 fortresses 40 km around Lisbon to prevent another invasion which eventually happened. This magnificent strategic work can be seen today in some sites and better understood in one of the six interpretation centers. Visit this mountainous green region to witness history. The third invasion of Portugal defeat is said to have led towards Waterloo’s finale by Napoleon. Next visit the majestic Mafra National Palace which was turned into the French headquarters, but mostly it is the top baroque building in Portugal. Finish your day passing by the Zambujal Fortress heading towards Ericeira, the west coast pearl, famous for surfing, its picturesque white center and the best sunset ever.

This tour is flexible and will be planned according to your interests.

◊ Visit Sobral’s Interpretation Center of the Defensive Lines to better understand this part of history

◊ Visit Alqueidão Fortress, one of the largest and best preserved

◊ Stop by Wellington’s headquarters (can’t be visited) and be amazed by the view from Serra do Socorro hill top

◊ Visit a local winery and taste the fruity wines of the Lisbon Wine Region (optional)

◊ Visit Mafra’s National Palace, the largest baroque building in Portugal, featuring a majestic basilica that holds 6 organs, two carrillions of 98 bells and among other attractions, a wonderful historic library

◊ Visit Zambujal Fortress, the second last before the coast, well preserved and looking out towards the ocean

◊ Explore Ericeira, the most picturesque coast resort near Lisbon, famous for being a surf mecca, a beautiful urban center of white lined houses and narrow streets and also famous for having one of the best sunsets in Portugal

The attractions that will amaze you…

Interpretation Center

In Sobral’s Interpretation Center you’ll have a guided visit that will make you better understand the Peninsular War, the 3 Napoleonic invasions and the brilliant strategy by the later Duke of Wellington that built a solid defense of 152 fortresses around Lisbon which led to a French defeat and definitive withdrawal.

Alqueidão Fortress

The Fortress of Alqueidão played the most important role in the first line of defense as the command post was established here due to its highest altitude of 439 m. It had direct visual contact with Serra do Socorro which held communication sign to the sea. Wellesley headquarters was very close.

Mafra National Palace

This grand baroque palace was built in the early 18th century by King João V when the incoming gold from Brazil was still high. It is a large building with precious details like the library, among the most beautiful in the world, the convent part of the building, the royal apartments, the basilica that features 6 organs and the recently renovated carrillions of 98 bells.

Zambujal Fortress

The fortress of Zambujal is included in the second line and keeps pretty much its original military shape. At its peak the fort was garrisoned by 250 soldiers and equipped with two cannons. It is in line with Lizandro River valley heading towards the sea that can be easily seen.


Ericeira is one of the most picturesque towns in the coast around Lisbon. The narrow streets of white houses is just lovely. You can have the best fresh fish and seafood coming directly from the fishermen. It is also famous for holding a world surf reserve and probably one of the best sunsets ever. From Ericeira, the last king of Portugal fled in a boat to exile while the republic emerged in 1910.

Take a look at the itinerary of this Tour is the map.

Explore amazing Portugal !!!

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