Situated at Pico dos Frias, 111.5 metres above sea level, this Fortress, which was completed in the second half of the 17th century – when Portugal was under the Spanish domain -,  served  as a warehouse for the city’s gunpowder supply – supplying all of the fortresses and towers on the island.

Initially called São João Fortress, the name was changed to São Filipe and then to São Miguel. It was later restored to its original name.

Classified as Monument of Public Interest in 1943, in the mid-20th century, the Portuguese Navy was given control over the Fortress, where they installed their Command Centre.

Because of the unusual number of antennas mounted atop the Fortress, the local people have dubbed it “Radio Peak” (Pico Rádio).

Since 11 July 2014, the Regional Government of Madeira has taken responsibility over the Fortress and its future purpose is still to be determined. There is a contest of ideas going on.

Well, nowadays the fortress is closed, not being possible to visit it, however, it is worth a stopover at the spot which offers a magnificent view over Funchal and surroundings.

There are some facilities in the area, like parking place and a coffee bar with nice atmosphere.

Rosa Figueiredo


Photo courtesy of Marla Castro


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