Very different from your usual vacation destination
You had better like Sea Gulls!
An experience that you should not miss!
One of the "must do" in Berlengas is a circuit around the island to visit its several caves, some of them very beautiful. It's easy and cheap to do: you just have to wait for the tide and to accept joining a group to hire one of the small boats starting from the beach, and in about an hour or so... it's done.more
Once a five stars hotel, the fortress of S. João Baptista, built in the 17th century, keeps being one of the possible places to sleep, now in a self-catering basis, with the support of a small mini-market. Even if you don't intend to stay there, the free visit is one of the mandatory highlights of the island.more
Haliotis dive shop is one of the primary dive facilities in Peniche. They offer classes and training, as well as regular diving trips. They fill up quickly on the weekends, so best to reserve early.10-passenger boats will take you on the ~45minute journey out to Berlenga Island. The boats are open sided and can take a lot of wind and spray,...more
Very small, very secluded (and as cold as all the Atlantic beaches) this bay is very calm, with crystal waters, and the best place to bath in the Island (some good swimmers prefer to dive from the fort). If you climb the hill, the sights will reward you. A warning: Don't dig in the sand - removing garbagge is not easy in the island, and you may...more
The whole island is covered by Yellow-Legged Gulls (close relatives of the Herring Gull), which is not surprising since this is one of the main nesting grounds for Portugese gulls and even some from Spain. Their nests are scattered across every available flat surface, even up to the edge of the walking trails. With birds nesting and flying...more
After we had climbed back up from Fort de S.J. Baptista, I was really hot so I took my T-shirt off to fully enjoy the cool breezes off the Ocean as we continued further to the western most point of the island. Along the way, we had this view of the Estrela rocks offshore from a typical nesting scene on the main island. It was not far from here that...more
The rocky outcropping of the Berlenga's is safeguarded for mariners by the 72 foot high lighthouse that you see here. Its total height above the ocean is 396 feet and its light is visible at sea for 27 miles. This stone tower was built in 1836 and has continued to operate up until the present, having been automated in 1985. We passed by on our trek...more
Caramusteira Bay is the one safe anchorage on the Berlengas. It is here that the main stone dock and steps are located, along with a restaurant and a bar. There are also several small houses used for the transient crowd who live here on and off, as well as some flat spots for tenting that have been cleared beside the trail up the hill. The tour...more
Our time in Peniche was so short and we took up so much time touring the Berlenga Islands, that we really did not have time to properly see the Fortaleza. Located directly beside the marina (I parked my car under its walls while we headed off on our boat tour), this 16th century fort was transformed into a prison during the Salazar years. However,...more
At the furthest western point that I could reach, I looked back and could see this very large sea cave - so big that this photo does not really give you a sense of its scale. I think that this is called Covado Sonho (Dream Cave) and it is one end of a massive tunnel that the sea has punched through the granite from one side of the island to the...more
Although this is a view of the Berlenga Islands as we were leaving, you will see the same thing as you approach! The main island is about 85 m high, 800 m wide and 1500 m long, so it is possible to cover most of it in a day walking tour. In the centre of the main island of Berlenga, the lighthouse can be made out and, just to the right, the landing...more
The Fort was once a very fancy Pousada back in the 1950's. Literature even reports that the waiters wore bow ties and long-tailed coats. However, that all ended with the 1974 Revolution that overthrew Salazar and the fort was left deserted. It now has a new lease on life, thanks to the Friends of the Berlengas Association. They have taken steps to...more
When we first fetched up dockside in Peniche, after we had booked our Island tour, we asked the young ticket lady if there was a good place for us to get some food before we left (it was coming up on 2 PM and we still had not eaten lunch). She mentioned the Popular and pointed it out to us. We walked over for a look but, their menu was obviously not geared for a quick take-away meal situation. It was back to the car to gobble down the last scraps of our picnic supplies. However, that evening, once we had found a bed for the night, we decided to give the Popular a proper go!
Favorite Dish: We lingered as we walked down to the restaurant so it would have a chance to get a little darker and we also would not be the first ones there - the Portugese tend to eat later than is our usual habit! However, they had a nice little crowd when we arrived. After perusing their extensive menu, and, remembering what our Irish friends had recommended as well as observing what one of the tables next to us had ordered, we decided to also try their Fish Stew at E18 for two. It was quite simple when it came, a bread bun and a soup dish each along with a single large aluminum pot with a big spoon in it. It turned out to be piping hot and delicious with small shrimp, whitefish of some sort, calimari, hunks of potatoes, onions and lots of juice. Along with our obligatory half-bottles of wine, the meal was well worth the E30 that it came to with a tip!
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: ....more
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...more
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...more
Peniche is known as Portugal's sardine capital and its many good seafood restaurants often grill these fish fresh from the ocean. The small harbour at Peniche reflects its long marriage with the sea, it is full of boats of all descriptions. It was a fine sunny day when we were there and, after our days activities, it was nice to take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront before we went for dinner.
The best in Berlengas is the boat circuit, along the caves, but tide may cause some problems. Many years ago a group of visitors died inside a cave, caught by surprise. Since then, boat men are very careful, and I think that there is no considerable risk, but you must plan your visit to make the tour coincide with low tide.more
The only water available in Berlengas is collected from the rain in the roofs of the fortress and restaurant, which means that water is a RARE element. It's possible to buy expensive bottled water during the day, but you'd better try to make low use of fresh water while in the island.more
Berlenga is nature, but the southern side is prepared to be visited, showing human presence everywhere. To really feel the wild you must go to the north side, respecting the restrictions imposed by the protection rules, and with the care that the rough terrain justifies.
"Carreiro dos cações" is a narrow bay, where, it seems, fishing may be rewarder (not for us - we spent there a full morning and... nothing.
Berlenga is a paradise for scuba diving or even snorkel, as long as you are well protected.
The water is very cold but who can resist it? Even 12ºC are enough for a quick and nice swim in the crystal waters, where the bottom, six or seven meters below, seems to be reachable by your feet.
Hello. I'm sorry because my english is not good but I try to write well. :) Anyone knows if for sleep at Berlenga's camping it must have autoritation or any similar? thanks a lot! Hello. I'm sorry because my english is not good but I try to write well. :) Anyone knows if for sleep at Berlenga's camping it must have autoritation or any similar?...more
Some of my friends visit Berlenga several times a year, each year, sometimes spending there a entire week. The strength of pure nature and fishing facilities turn Berlenga into a sort of religion for them. Some other lovers try to capture the whole of the island, and take it back with them. Luis Silva, from Ribamar, is someone I don't know, but...more
We arrived in Peniche near the end of our 2500-km (1600-mile) drive around Portugal, and after we had spent the hours around noon touring the nearby town of Obidos. There is a two-lane highway leading out to Peniche on its peninsula and this changes into a very nice 4-lane highway that is not quite completed. Judging by the highway system, which...more