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Peniche and Berlengas Island together are an absolutely lovely weekend getaway destination from Lisbon. Peniche is a small but cozy seaside town and an excellent surfing destination in the province of Oeste, less than a two-hour bus ride north of Lisbon. In addition to the wonderful atmosphere of this fishing town, you can enjoy good water sports and long beaches, historical sights and, best of all, the Berlengas Islands, a coastal archipelago and nature reserve.
My friend and I went to Peniche for a fun weekend getaway last fall and the warm weather, beautiful seaviews and idyllic atmosphere pampered us all weekend long. We stayed in a small but functional apartment in the center and there was a short walk to every place.
All in all, Peniche is a nice place to stay in, and it’s really not so easy to go and find something terribly bad to say about the place at all. The city has nice cafes and small boutiques to see and enjoy among other things and yes I could come back here, just because why not?
WHAT TO DO IN PENICHE?
Peniche is a fishing town, so the absolute number one is to enjoy the many restaurant’s creations of fish and seafood, which is not hard to find. The harbor is a cozy place to enjoy a day out and enjoy walking in the fresh sea air and the sights of Peniche are all within easy walking distance. The most important of these are the Catholic Church of Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, the churches of São Pedro da Misericórdia near the port area and the Peniche Fort.
The fort of Peniche was built in the 16th and 17th centuries to defend the coast, together with the fortress of Consolação Beach and the fortress of the Berlengas Islands. The fortress has played a large part in Portuguese history many times, but its most recent purpose has been to serve as a political prison for many big figures in the fight against fascism. The fortress now serves as a museum where you can learn more about these subjects and history.
The Berlengas archipelago is a nature reserve off the coast of Peniche and the islands are uninhabited, although the main island has a small supply of restaurants and accommodation for visitors. Berlengas is a popular destination for divers due to its rich marine life and for at least part of the year the Berlengas Fort serves as a hostel offering those looking for a slightly different and more interesting accommodation an excellent setting to relax in the stunning seascapes.
Throughout history, Berlengas has been a place of visit for example the Vikings and later a refuge for the shipwrecked because of the monastery on the island called Misericórdia da Berlenga, that the munks started. Since then, the Berlengas fortress was built on the island to protect the coast, and by the middle of the 17th century, the fortress had secured as many as three attacks against barbarian pirates. Berlengas ’lighthouse, now powered by solar panels, was built on the island in the 19th century, and with the help of existing solar panels, the lighthouse offers visibility of up to more than 50 kilometers.
HOW TO GET TO BERLENGAS?
Berlengas can be reached by boat or in the form of a guided excursion, which most people usually prefer in this case. Various guided day trips to Berlengas are organized directly from the port of Peniche, which includes everything from boat trips to the knowledge of the guide as well as additional offerings, such as a cave tour. You can bring your own lunch or dine on site, but we preferred snacks ourselves and the choice was good, as the limited restaurant offer is quite non-existent and there can be plenty of people there. The island has good places for a picnic with great views and it is also possible to stop to swim and soak up the sun, for example in the picturesque clear water cove.
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HAVE YOU BEEN TO PENICHE AND BERLENGAS? SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE AND THOUGHTS ON THE COMMENTS BELOW! 🙂
<3: Tiina Johanna
*Photos: Tiina Johanna, blogger / Andrada Steliana (@incaduda)
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