When we first arrived in Peniche, we happened to park directly across from a glass booth on the wharf that was selling tickets for day-tours to the Berlengas. The young lady in the booth spoke great English, so she soon told us where we could park our car while we were gone for the 4-hour trip. At E15 (US$18) each, the price of the excursion sounded good to us! When it came time for us to go, she said that due to the number of passengers, we would be going on another tour operator's boat - the Passaro do Sol. The 8 other passengers were already waiting for us as we stepped into the stern of this inboard engine-driven boat. A few minutes later and we were off, speeding out of the harbour. The photo shows our boat returning from its off-shore anchorage to pick us up from Berlenga Island at the end of our hike. We bought our ticket from 'Nevada Pesca e Passeios Turisticos Berlengas' but I am not sure who actually ran the boat that we took! I should also mention that there is a regular, much larger, ferry that also makes the crossing. It only makes one round-trip per day (and we missed it) at that time of the year, increasing to two trips per day in peak summer season.
As we left the harbour and rounded rugged Cape Carvoeiro to head out for the islands, we could also see its namesake lighthouse. This square masonry tower was built in 1886 to replace an earlier (1758) lighthouse at the same location. This lighthouse is 78 feet high with a lens 180 feet above the ocean surface, visible for 15 miles at sea. There were a couple of SCUBA divers in a Zodiac leaving just behind us and it was fun to watch them catch up to us and zoom past, giving a wave (pardon the pun) as they did so!
These guys seemed friendly enough, they chatted away as best they could to one of the other passengers, an Irishman, on-board with his wife and two very young children. The other passengers were two Portugese couples, one older and the other very young and 'in-love'! Once we reached the island, we spoke to the Irish couple (difficult over the roar of the engine before) and ended up exchanging many pleasantries on the return trip. They were very surprised to find another English-speaking couple going out to such an obscure tourist destination!
The access to the island is severely controlled, due to environmental reasons.
Only three companies make public transport, from spring to fall, but 90% or more of the visitors use a boat called Cabo Avelar Pessoa. It belongs to Viamar and may be booked in advance by phone (+351 262 785 646) or fax (+351 262 783 847).
The alternative companies are:
. Julius - phone +351 262 782 636
. Berlenga Turpesca - phone +351 262 789 960
To book lodging in the island contact:
Reserva Natural da Berlenga
Porto de Areia Norte, Estrada Marginal
Phone: +351 262 787 910
Parque de Campismo da Berlenga
Phone: +351 262 789 571