Definitely one of the enchanting and unique costal destinations of Center of Portugal, the fishing city of Peniche is a world acclaimed surf spot, but also an inviting destination for families or solo travellers, as well as bird-watching and geology fans. A colourful city embraced by the Atlantic that welcomes its visitors with mouth-watering tables and warm-hearted hospitality!
Peniche has always lived from the sea. In the remote past it used to be an island, but thanks to the wind and the sea tides it became a peninsula. Due to its strategic location and richness of its lands, the coastline of Peniche was occupied by several civilisations since Prehistoric times, namely since the Middle Palaeolithic. Under Roman occupation the economy of Peniche was essentially based on agriculture and fishing, along with preserved food, an activity that still exists nowadays.
The port is the lively, colorful center of the city’s fishing industry. Fresh fish auctions are fully computerised licensed venues, very different from what they were a few decades ago. In fact, it was the fresh fish auction in Peniche that, in 2009, started the online trading of fish in Portugal !
Fighting for freedom
One of the greatest icons of Peniche is without any doubt the Fortress of Peniche, dramatically set in the landscape. The fort was turned into a political prison in the period of the Estado Novo or “New State” (1933-1974), was the scene of one of the most extraordinary escapes of the twentieth century in Portugal. In 1960 a group of political prisoners escaped from it, among them Álvaro Cunhal, the communist leader.
Nowadays, the Fortress of Peniche houses the National Museum of Resistance and Freedom, recognising Peniche as a place of memory and a symbol of the national struggle for freedom.
Surf beaches, but not only
Peniche is a world-acclaimed surf destination and a regular stage of international surf competitions. But there's more to it than surf. Peniche offers many eye-catching beaches, beautifully placed in enchanting natural settings.
There are superb family and pet-friendly beaches, the sustainable archipelago of Berlenga in front of Peniche and the lighthouse of Cape Carvoeiro, brightening the Atlantic. A dramatically beautiful natural landscape with true geological treasures that define the unique essence of Peniche. This is also the place to taste the freshest fish in the country!
The beach of Baleal is the perfect spot for holidaymakers travelling in family, a far-reaching beach that owns a very special flair.
A sustainable archipelago
Heavenly placed on the shore of Peniche, Berlenga archipelago is the only island reserve in the Portuguese mainland. Berlenga, Estelas and surrounding islands were classified Berlenga Natural Reserve on September 3rd 1981.
Berlenga Grande, the main island, is 1.500 meters long, 800 meters large and 85 meters high. Its climate is influenced by both Atlantic and Mediterranean weather influences, which make this archipelago a unique ecosystem in the word. The waters are rich in fish and sea mammals, sea plants and other sea organisms, leading to the classification as a Maritime Reserve. The Berlengas archipelago is a true geological monument, an important testimony of the History of the Earth and the formation of continents and oceans.
The energy in the island of Berlenga is now exclusively produced by solar collectors. The island has successfully replaced diesel by sun energy. Sustainability is the future and Berlenga has taken a step ahead.
The glow of authenticity
Peniche is a destination that has that special glow of authenticity, along with an unpretentious . Its welcoming people make visitors feel at home. In the port of Peniche you will be impressed by the image of old ladies patiently sewing the fishing nets. They are the "atadeiras" of Peniche, often retired women who care for the maintenance of the fishing equipment. Hard-working hands that tell you a lot about the warm-hearted essence of Peniche.
The fishermen's quarter Bairro do Visconde is a colourful postcard of the city. The best view over the ocean, a place where locals eat al fresco and enjoy the absolutely irresistible fish specialities. A place made of authentic people. No filters needed.
Peniche is also a place of deep-rooted religious devotion. Located by the sea, the Chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios dates back to the 15th century. It is the western-most sanctuary in Europe!
Peniche is also the largest centre in Portugal for bobbin lace, a centuries-old art whose origins are lost in time. It may have been a way for the women to occupy their time while their husbands were away at sea. A delicate art acquired through skill and patience, it is represented at international events, and is an artistic legacy that is well worth preserving. The municipality opened a museum dedicated to bobbin lace.
Welcome to Peniche, blessed by the sun, embraced by the sea!