In recent years, Peniche has become an increasingly trendy vacation destination. If formerly what attracted tourists to this location were the Berlengas and Fort St. John Baptist, with the dawn of surf fashion, it was also the beaches of Peniche bringing more and more people, Portuguese and foreigners, in search of emotions. strong waves provided by the waves of the sea. But Peniche is not just sea. The city has a lot to offer, from monuments to museums to its gastronomy, whether it’s fish dishes or typical sweets.
To visit Peniche is also to know the history of Portugal since in this locality occurred several remarkable episodes, as the landing of the English troops that came to help Portugal against the French invaders or the arrest of activists against the dictatorship. These are the best places to visit in Peniche.
1. Fort of St. John the Baptist
São João Baptista Fort, or Fortress, is located on the beautiful island of Berlenga. The small Berlengas archipelago, located about 10km west of Peniche, is made up of the island of Berlenga Grande and adjacent reefs, the Stelae and the Farcados Forcados, and has been classified as a Nature Reserve since 1981. The Fort of St. John the Baptist was built in 1651 by King D. João IV, given its strategic position.
It is said, however, that on the island there would have been a monastery of the Order of St. Jerome since 1513, which provided assistance to the passing sailors and the many castaways who were victims of coastal violence. This monastery was successively attacked by pirates, which led to its abandonment. Already in the nineteenth century the fort is dismantled and abandoned, serving as support for fishing activities in the region. In the twentieth century, the fort was transformed into an inn, abandoned after the April 25 revolution. Today São João Baptista Fort acts as a shelter for the Berlengas Friends Association, and is one of the archipelago’s lodgings, with twelve master bedrooms and eight on the wall, as well as mini-market services. and restoration.
The Berlengas Islands archipelago is made up of three peculiar islands called Berlenga, Stelae and Farillions, the largest and most emblematic being Berlenga Island. On these islands you will find unique manifestations of animal and plant species, as well as a unique beauty and landscape.
The only way to reach these islands is by boat from Peniche Port, with regular circuits throughout the year. From the time of Roman rule, the island of Berlenga has been inhabited, albeit precariously. In this island you can find some important heritage such as the Duque de Bragança Lighthouse, lit by solar energy, and the S. João Batista Fortress, where you can stay in a very interesting way.
Baleal is a small peninsula (formerly island) located north of Peniche, in the western region of Portugal, separated from the mainland by a tomb, forming a beach of fine white sand. In the continuity of the cove there is also the islet of Pombas and the islet of Fora. Baleal has inherited this denomination from the role these rocks played in the past as a whaling site.
Inserted in the municipality of Peniche, Baleal has become a summer resort with a potential for water sports. Due to their peninsula-like shape, Baleal and Peniche offer unique conditions in Europe for surfing and body boarding, and there are on-site schools for teaching all water sports.
4. Cabo Carvoeiro
Cabo Carvoeiro is located at the western end of the Peniche peninsula, in an area of great landscaping beauty due to the curious geological formations that the sea has carved over time, such as the Nau dos Corvos, a huge rock whose shape resembles a large semi-wrecked vessel. This place offering stunning views of the sea and the Berlengas Islands is also a great sea birdwatching spot.
The lighthouse of this cape is one of the six lighthouses commissioned by a Pombaline License of February 1, 1758, which created the lighthouse service in Portugal, thus being one of the oldest still in operation. This lighthouse is made up of a quadrangular masonry tower, located 57 meters above sea level and 27 meters high.
5. Peniche Fort Square
Peniche Fort Square had its origins in the 16th century in the designated Vila Castle. Over the years, the fortification that existed in this place was the subject of numerous restructuring until the end of the seventeenth century was built the fort as we know it today. This stronghold is of great importance to the Portuguese since it was from this fort that the great escape of several personalities occurred during the dictatorship period among them, Alvaro Cunhal, a great communist fighter.
This stronghold now houses the Municipal Museum, which hosts exhibitions of archeology, history and ethnography, such as bobbin lace and pieces dedicated to fishing and shipbuilding. There is also a nucleus of the museum called the Resistance Nucleus that reconstructs the prison environment that lived in this fort. Here you can also visit Álvaro Cunhal’s cell, see his charcoal drawings on the walls and where he fled.
6. Furninha Cave
The Furninha Cave is a natural cavity where archaeological remains were found to prove its occupation during the prehistoric period. This cave is located by the sea and is thought to have been used as a shelter and necropolis.
Here were found traces of Neandartal Man, current Man, Quaternary fauna, hunting utensils, various pottery pieces such as hanging vases. The traces found here can be observed at the Peniche Municipal Museum.
7. Bobbin Lace Museum
The Peniche Bobbin Lace Museum showcases an art that is more than 400 years old in the county and keeps the history, the estate and many old and secular pieces that were donated. In the public garden, in the center of Peniche, there is a statue of Rendilheira, made by Bilros lace, made with different types and colors of marbles. A tribute to the women who dedicate themselves to this art of working with the wooden bobbins to make minute lace: an ex-libris of the penichense handicraft.
It is noteworthy that, in order to revive the tradition of Bobros lace in Peniche, the City Council opened in 1987 the Bobros School, in order to preserve and create a new generation of lacemakers. And got it. Currently, the space brings together more than 100 professionals – there are a total of 400 in the municipality of Peniche – and they teach more than 60 children, who will perpetuate the lace tradition. And not only the little ones who want to learn, so many adults have decided to roll up their sleeves and absorb the teachings of this secular art.
8. St. Peter’s Church
São Pedro Church is located in the heart of Peniche’s historic center and is currently the largest temple in the county. This church dates from the late 16th century and its interior is divided into three large aisles. The side aisles have several altars consecrated to deities such as Our Lady of the Good Voyage, the Lord of Bonfim, St. Peter of Alcantara.
St. Peter’s ChurchThe central nave stands out for its largest baroque chapel dedicated to St. Peter, decorated with gold leaf and boasting beautiful columns as well as 18th century paintings depicting scenes from the life of the patron saint.
9. Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies
The Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies is located by the coast at the western end of the Peniche peninsula in Portugal. This temple forms the basis of a sanctuary dedicated to Marian worship. Its date of construction is unknown but it is believed to have been built during the 16th century.
According to legend, the image of Our Lady was found in the twelfth century hidden in a small basement, located in the same area where the chapel is today. The importance of this cult is such that it gave rise to the annual pilgrimages. In this temple there is the largest chapel, where the image of Our Lady of Remedies is venerated, the 18th century tile panels that evoke episodes of the passion of Christ and the so-called Chapel of the Dead Lord, where a well-known image of Christ is venerated. as the Lord of Remedies.
10. Supertubos Beach
Considered one of the best for surfing and bodyboarding, both nationally and internationally, Medão Beach is known for its perfect and tubular waves, and is therefore called Supertubos. The wave ridges are so long that they create empty spaces, true tubes, that attract practitioners of these modalities from all over the world, all year long.
A considerable stretch of sand and a surrounding of dunes allows us, besides contemplating nature, to contemplate the imposing sea that is right in front of us. More and better conditions have been created with regard to beach supports, where the disabled have been paying particular attention.
11. Gamboa Beach
Gamboa Beach has a small sandy beach. It is bounded by a pontoon to the southeast and the fortress wall of Peniche to the northwest. The long sandy beach is ideal for walking and runs without separation to Cova da Alfarroba Beach.
The best area for swimming is near the pontoon, away from the rock formations in the water. The access is made by Monsenhor Manuel Bastos Avenue, in Peniche. In this marginal there are several parking spaces.
12. São Bernardino Beach
São Bernardino Beach has a reasonable size beach. It is set in a small cove on the seafront of the village of São Bernardino. A stretch of sand not very large, but with a warm air that is due to the fact that it is sheltered between the cliffs that surround it.
The waters are generally calm. There are rocks in the bathing area just at the ends of the beach. Access is via the Rua da Praia ramp that ends in the North zone, or the long staircase in the central area. The parking lot is large and located on the cliff top in the south.