Estoril


When the war broke out in September 1939, Portugal was a dictatorship under Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. Salazar understood not to underestimate the British but also understood to keep well with Nazi Germany and therefore declared himself neutral when the war clouds piled up over Europe. Among other things, he promised the British not to take action against the jews but at the same time promised the germans not to issue visas to jews who wanted to flee to Portugal. For many refugees, Portugal became a hub for onward transportation to South and North America.

As neutral, Portugal became a hub for intelligence services around the world. About a mile west of Lisbon is the fashionable resort of Estoril with its fleet of hotels and casinos. Here, agents and spies (both male and female) from all over the world met to exchange information with each other, spy, spread disinformation, make contacts and provide information to clients. Some more important than others, some were double agents and even triple agents. Some did it out of idealism, others were opportunists and some were adventurers seeking excitement. Not infrequently, listening devices were installed in both walls and under carpets to intercept valuable information, or spread disinformation about the opposite side knew it was being intercepted.

More famous agents were Spaniard Juan Pujol Garcia, a double agent with British loyalty. For the British he went by the name ”Garbo” and for the Germans he was called ”Alaric”. He is considered to be the agent who most strongly contributed to the Germans believing that the Allied invasion would take place at Pas-De-Calais and not in Normandy. Another double agent with British loyalty was Croatian Dusko Popov who for the british was known as ”Tricycle” and for the germans as ”Ivan”. He is said to have been Ian Flemming’s inspiration when the latter created James Bond. Both ”Garbo” and ”Tricycle” stayed frequently in Estoril.

Current status: Preserved (2023).

Address: R. Particular, 2769-504 Estoril (Palacio hotel).

Get there: Walk.

My comment:

All interesting hotels and casinos remain and can be easily reached by walking from the station. Some hotels and casinos have been completely renovated since the war, while others are more or less preserved. Some hotels have also been converted into apartments. Another interesting detail is that at the Palacio hotel, scenes from the Bond film, In her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), were filmed. Bond’s creator, Ian Flemming, is also said to have often stayed at the hotel as an intelligence officer in the British navy. Flemming also spent a lot of time at Estoril casino, which inspired the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, published in 1953.

Follow up in books: Macintyre, Ben: Double Cross (2012).