Portugal: Peniche, a world to discover

Portugal: Peniche, a world to discover

Home to a rich natural and historical heritage, the areas around Peniche have become one of the strongholds of surfing in Europe and the world. Photo by Vitor Estrellina, author and Dr

Peniche may be one of Portugal’s most popular summer destinations, but this small fortified town built on a three-square-kilometre peninsula has lost none of its appeal in recent years.

A surfing spot where the best professionals on the planet flock, the aptly named Supertubos Beach has naturally established itself as one of the primary stages for the world championships in the discipline. But Peniche also remains the country’s leading fishing port, as there one finds the typical atmosphere of Atlantic towns with ocean fogs and strongly iodized air.

Supertubos long beach hosts a stage of the World Surfing Championships every year.

Ribeira’s small marina, well sheltered behind two piers to the south of the peninsula and located at the entrance to the old town, provides excellent shelter for passing boaters. It is an ideal starting point for visiting the castle, which was built in the 16th century with the aim of protecting the city from invaders and pirates. This imposing military complex, later turned into a prison, now houses the city’s museum. A stone’s throw away, the walk continues naturally towards the labyrinthine alleyways of Bairro do Visconde.

Located in the heart of Peniche, the colorful alleyways of Bairro do Visconde are a must during a stopover in this city.

Colorful little homes cling to this area inhabited by fishing families, with great ocean views. Feel free to get lost in the preserved alleys, where fish hanging from wires take time to dry in the sun. But Peniche is not just a city.

The peninsula is also an exceptional geological site, as it makes it possible to observe a series of layers of sedimentary rocks dating back to the Jurassic period, more than twenty million years ago!

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Just a few miles offshore from this stunning mineral ecosystem, the granite archipelago of the Berlengas is notable for its steep terrain. To the south of this nature reserve is São João Baptista Castle. Built in the 17th century to protect against enemy forces, it looks like it came straight out of the set of a movie with its narrow stone bridge providing access to it.

One of the jewels of the Portuguese coast, Fort Sao Joao Baptista is located in the heart of the granite Berlengas archipelago. © adobestock.com

lake to explore

An overview would not be complete without mentioning the coastal lagoon of Óbidos. These bodies of water and their wetlands make up an ever-changing ecosystem and are home to a variety of waterfowl.

Fishing and shellfish gathering are the main economic activities there. Kayaking, paddle boarding, and windsurfing enthusiasts will find the playground just right for their activities.

Thanks to the excellent protection, the fishing port of Peniche remains the most important in the country. © Adobe Stock

Portugal direction: pearls of the Atlantic

First destination: Ria d’Aveiro, secrets of the lagoon

The second destination: Nazareth, traditions and giant waves

Book our Portugal cruises (available August 12, 2023)

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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