Strategically located at the sharp end of Salvador’s peninsula, the Santo Antônio da Barra Fort is a historic military structure and lighthouse. The Fort, with its recognizable black-and-white-striped lighthouse is one of Salvador’s iconic landmarks. Built in 1549, the fort is the oldest military structure in Brazil and is an example of traditional 16th-century Portuguese military architecture.
The interior of the fort has been transformed into a maritime museum, with intricate models of Portuguese ships from the days of exploration, centuries-old navigating instruments, antique maps and other pieces of history. The museum also houses exhibits on the Portuguese colony’s brutal slave trade, which brought millions across the Atlantic from West Africa.
A highlight of visiting the fort is climbing to the top of the lighthouse, which boasts panoramic views of Salvador and its beautiful coastline. The fort’s geographic location also makes it the ideal place to watch the sunset over the ocean. Every evening, locals and tourists alike gather on the lawn outside the fort to watch the sky light up as the sun dips below the horizon.
Santo Antônio da Barra Fort is located at Largo do Farol da Barra s/n in the Barra neighborhood of Salvador. The fort is open to visitors Tuesday–Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is open every day of the week in January and July. Admission is R$15 for adults and R$7.50 for students, teachers and seniors. Admission is free for children under 7 and people with physical disabilities.