Tourist and resident information on Portugal, Madeira and The Azores

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Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça, Matosinhos

The Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça in Matosinhos, north of Porto is an impressive fortress built to protect the coast and the entrance to the Douro and Leça rivers.

Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça
The fort guards the entrance to the Douro River and the city of Porto


The Castelo de Matosinhos fortress was built in the early 17th century as one of a series of defensive structures along this part of the coast. The other fortifications in the chain were Castelo do Queijo in Foz do Duoro and the Fort of São João da Foz.

The beginning of the Portuguese Restoration War (Guerra da Restauração) with Spain in 1640 increased the anxiety of the local inhabitants about attack by sea. Though not yet completed the fort was garrisoned in 1648. In typical Portuguese style, it was not until 1720, long after the Treaty of Lisbon (1668) ended the conflict with neighboring Spain that the star-shaped fortress was finally ready.

The garrison departed in the mid-19th century and the building became a customs house. The structure now stands in a largely residential area and a few cannons line its battlements.

Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça
Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça

Access - Getting There

The Blue Line (Line A of the Porto Metro) runs 16.5 km from Estádio do Dragão to Senhor de Matosinhos.

From Sao Bento Station the #500 bus runs to Matosinhos via Foz do Duoro.

Bus #501 goes to to Matosinhos via Trindade and Casa da Música from Aliados.

From Hosp. S. João metro station the #505 and #506 services run west to Matosinhos Mercado.

The #507 goes from Cordoaria to the Mar Shopping Center with its large IKEA store via Casa da Musica Station. The #508 from Boavista also stops at the Mar Shopping Center on route to Cabo Mundo.


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