Abandoned Military Post in a National Park

Some of the best views in Portugal is paired with lots of street art at this former army base.

7 Bateria de Outão origin story

After WWII (in which Portugal was neutral), fascist dictator António de Oliveira Salazar was paranoid about an invasion. To protect the country against foreign incursions by sea, the RAC (Regimento de Artilharia de Costa) military branch build several bases in and around Lisbon with bunkers, underground tunnels, and barracks. Large artillery pieces completed Salazar’s fever dream of a secure Portugal.

One of these was the 7 Bateria de Outão (7th Battery), built on a hill high above Setubal in what is now known as the Arrábida Natural Park. This location was strategic because it provides perfect sight lines from the Sado Estuary to the Troia Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean including the key shipping port at Setubal.

View from 7 Bateria de Outão (photo: Brent Petersen)

Salazar died in 1970 and Portugal became a democracy a few years later after the nearly bloodless Carnation Revolution. The military importance of the bases waned and the 7 Bateria de Outão was abandoned in 1998 with the last soldier guarding the area leaving in 2001.

Deserted, the 7 Bateria de Outão fell into disrepair. All the windows were broken by vandals. But, mostly the place was forgotten as the surrounding Arrábida Natural Park began encroaching on the area.

The imposing gate at 7 Bateria de Outão (photo: Brent Petersen)

7 Bateria de Outão Today

Now, the 7 Bateria de Outão has been rediscovered by Instagrammers who come to the neglected spot for pictures showing the stunning views. There’s a cement deck with particularly stunning vistas, some of the best in all of Portugal.

The massive platform affords some of the best views in Portugal (photo: Brent Petersen)

Street artists have also found a place to ply their talents. With vast areas of concrete, the entire Battery is a canvas for artists.

Mural in 7 Bateria de Outão (photo: Brent Petersen)

You’ll also probably run across teenagers who gather here and smoke weed.

There have been whispers that the 7 Bateria de Outão is about to be bought and turned into a hotel. It would be amazing as the location would be ideal for such a project. However, like many of these rumors in Portugal, no progress has been made on this proposal and it could just be a local rumor.

Getting to 7 Bateria de Outão

The 7 Bateria de Outão is in the Arrábida Park and not accessible by public transportation. Walking is possible, but it is quite a hike of about 5 miles from the center of Setubal to the barracks. You’ll also be managing an uphill climb from sea level to about 500 feet above sea level along windy roads where drivers aren’t always paying attention.

Better to take a car. You can get to the site in 10-15 minutes. There’s free parking next to the Battery.

A taxi or Uber is also an option, but then you’ve got to get a ride back down. Calling an Uber sometimes takes a bit of time in Setubal, it seems they don’t have a lot of drivers in the area.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, PortoSintraMonsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.

Author: Brent