Setúbal Fishing Port – A Floating Photographic Paradise


Translated by Google


Setúbal Fishing Port or Setúbal Fishing Port is located at Avenida José Mourinho, parallel to Luísa Todi Avenue, the city’s main avenue. Although “street”, has a long extension and roughly in the middle we find the fishing port of Setúbal.

The Port of Setúbal building is located on the left, yellow in color, and right next to Docapesca; the institution that manages practically all the major ports and auctions of Portugal. Lota, this Portuguese, Galician and Castilian word (despite its phonetic and morphological differences); comes from the word auction. For fish is almost always sold at auction in large quantities. So in many other languages ​​around the world, the word used is completely morphologically different. The auction of Setúbal is the professional market for fish and seafood. It works every day from 09h00 to 05h45. Yes, practically arround the clock! Except on Saturdays and Sundays, for these are the days “that men do not go to the sea”; as it is popular to say. The reception and weighing of the product is made between 09h00 and 04h00. But the busiest time is during the sale, at night: between 21h00 and 02h00. More or less coincident with the time men leave for work bringing in new fishing at dawn.

With the Sado River in front of us, the Serra da Arrábida in the background on the right, and in front of the Tróia Peninsula, we find here a true photographic paradise and a “wave” of colors, from which it is very difficult to look away. Whatever the time of day there is always some “silent concert” to admire and observe. On the promenade, we find several dolphin statues (representing the famous Sado River dolphins), all decorated differently. Among these dolphins we find garden benches located right in front of the harbor, where we can sit watching the arrival or departure of boats; groups of fishermen tidying their nets, or repairing the vessels.

But one of the most precious moments is when we are lucky that we can see some fisherman sew / fix nets. Sitting on the floor… Surrounded by nets, real mazes of nets in small piles; which to us laymen seems completely impossible to find a tip where to start. But he knows his art. It’s not hard to recognize them… No matter how brown the eyes, their bright light always contrasts with dark skin. These are decades of work, experience and stories. And that is very well in sight, in the dark, very wrinkled skin of the sun. The work is very hard, but life is simple here, and in these neighborhoods as well. This naturally translates into simple, humble smiles. In pure happiness, which is so hard to find in such nervous cities today.

The boats are colorful and we see them of all kinds, from the smallest boats, through the trawlers, to the bigger boats; most of which are not freezing but far-reaching.

The colors are diverse, and are related to creeds and or simply the taste of the owner. Names have very similar origins; related to the city, to the river, to dear people at heart… but mostly to religion. Tributes to the Virgin Mary, God or other Catholic devotions.

Dating back to history, according to archaeological finds, the first navigators to reach this region and settle here were, in pre-classical antiquity, the Phoenicians. Thus we declare that it was at this time that the first port of the present city of Setúbal was created.

Later, the Romans arrived. And Setúbal became an important industrial and fishing city called Cetóbriga (origin of the word Setúbal). There continued to be a very important port completed on the inner side of the Troia peninsula, where we still find archaeological sites and Roman ruins of the time. On both sides of the river, the activity that completed the fishing was the salting of fish, the manufacture of clay amphorae to store fish, wine and garum. About this garum comes to us today that it was a kind of sauce or pâté made with fermented fish and herbs; widely used at the time throughout the Roman Empire and also in ancient Greece.

Even today we can find the ruins of brunch, at Costa Azul Tourist Office at Travessa Frei Gaspar, 10 in Setúbal (Free entrance to the Tourist Office where we can see through thick glass slabs on the floor, the Roman brine, even for under our feet).

During the 15th century, the port developed and greatly enriched the city of Setúbal. For at that time cities that today are much smaller like Palmela or Azeitão; they needed access to the port to trade and buy and sell products. Thus, high taxes began to be charged for the entry and use of the port.

In the middle of the first phase of the Portuguese Discoveries, the city also developed, since it was from here that King D. Afonso V left in 1458 to conquer Alcácer Ceguer.

A few centuries later we have the first project of works of the Port of Setúbal, in the year 1793. A new small dock and port of shelter appear to shelter the boats.

It is in 1836 that Setúbal City Council focuses its attention and resources on the construction of a structured dock. But it is not until 1923 that the Autonomous Works Council of Porto, Barra De Setúbal and Rio Sado were created, which will focus on the construction of the current Port of Setúbal by the hands of the Danish company Hojgaard & Schultz together with the Dutch. Van den Bosch & De Vries.

Construction began on July 28, 1930, the same day that the installation of electric light in the city was inaugurated. Among the various developments and modifications, the dismantling of previous outdated docks for the time, the construction of a new land area with a total area of ​​600,000 m2 and the construction of 3 separate docks for the fishing support area, playground and trade port. In the following decades the buildings of the Port of Setúbal and Docapesca were built, taking advantage also to rehabilitate the surrounding area, creating promenades and gardens; beyond the improvement of pavements and streets, water and electricity system.


By Joana Ramalhinho

Accredited Tourist Guide, Setúbal


Translated by Google


Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp