When the war broke out in September 1939, Portugal was a dictatorship under Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. Salazar knew the strenght of the british but also understood to keep friendly ties with Nazi Germany. Salazar stay neutral Salazar had to adapt to both Great Britain and Nazi Germany. 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 who sought refugee in Portugal. For many refugees, Portugal became a hub for further transport to either South- or North America.

As neutral, Portugal also became a hub for intelligence services around the world. About ten kilometres west of Lisbon lies the fashionable resort of Estoril with its lavish hotels and casinos. Here, agents and spies (both male and female) from all over the world met to exchange information, spy on each other, spread disinformation among enemy agents, make contacts and provide information to clients. Some more important than others, some were double agents or 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. False information was deliberately spread if agents knew they were intercepted.

Some agents (spies) have become legends. One was the 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 made the germans believe that the Allied invasion would take place at Pas-De-Calais and not in Normandy. This deception operation was called Operation Fortitude and contributed to the Germans not only strengthen this area, but also kept their units at Pas-De-Calais in the belief that Normandy was just a diversion. 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 Estoril 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 James Bond movie, 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).