Peniche is located in Portugal on the Atlantic coast and is especially famous among surfers for its beaches. Both the northern, about 5km long Peniche de Cima and Alfarroba and the southern Praia Supertubos are popular surf spots, which are known throughout Portugal and even in Europe. With a pretty old town as well as the harbor fortress Peniche offers also otherwise an attractive flair at the Atlantic. Offshore is the archipelago of the Berlengas, rugged rocky islets with a diverse shorebird population.
Peniche – the small town on the headland
If you can talk about a „headland“ anywhere, this is especially true for the Portuguese small town of Peniche. Because the old town of Peniche is hidden behind a rugged cliff Cabo Carvoeiro and an old harbor fortress on just such a headland, which juts far into the Atlantic. Originally, the core of Peniche is said to have been an independent island, to which a natural land connection was gradually formed in the 15th century.
Traveling sailors from Phoenicia and Greece are said to have settled here. The name of the place probably comes from them, borrowed from a similar landscape with offshore islands in Crete, near Phenix. Fishing has always played an important role. Both as a staple food for the population and for trade. The bay, which was a natural harbor and now secured by piers, favored seafaring and fishing. For the Romans, fishing in the region was an important source of protein, amphorae manufactured at Peniche helped transport fish overland.
Fortress city and port
In the 16th century the fortress of Peniche was built and extended again and again. Its main purpose was to secure the port and maritime trade, as well as to provide protection against piracy. There are also fortifications on the main island of the Berlengas group.
The rocky reefs off the coast and around the Berlengas islands have been a sacrificial maritime obstacle for centuries. There are numerous shipwrecks off Peniche, dating from Roman times to the present. For this reason, there is a lighthouse at Cabo Carvoeiro to warn seagoing ships of the dangers of the offshore waters off Peniche. But even from land, the rocky cliffs around the Cabo are imposing formations in the surf of the Atlantic and worth a walk – for example, the „raven ship“ Nau dos Corvos. Even in average weather, the spray fountains chase up to the plateau above the sea and fine spray mist leaves glittering rainbows between the rock needles. Between the first houses on this plateau is the small 17th century church of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios.
Visit to the Berlengas Islands
If you spend more time in Peniche, you can visit the main island of the Berlengas off Peniche. The whole archipelago is a bird sanctuary, only the main island is partially accessible. Especially ornithology lovers will encounter numerous typical shorebirds, which are especially at home on rocky islets. Boats to the Berlengas operate from May to September.
The beaches near Peniche – surfspot in the north and in the south
Most visitors are attracted by the small town of Peniche with its beaches. Especially the southern Praia do Medão with the section Praia dos Supertubos is the hotspot for surfers in Portugal at all. Long tubular waves, smooth fine sand as substrate and the protection from northerly winds by the steep coast and the harbor fortress offer ideal conditions for surfing. If there is too much hustle and bustle at this beach, surfers can also switch to the northern beach, which stretches for almost 5 km to Baleal and offers equally good conditions for beach surfing. Few coastal areas in Europe are as popular with surfers as the beaches near Peniche. It gets quieter in winter, when the bathers are gone. This is the ideal time for surfers, as the pros can then enjoy more space on the beach.
Museum in the Peniche Fortress
Part of the Peniche Fortress now houses a regional museum. The fortress was built between 1557 and 1570 and later expanded. In particular, in 1645, the fortification was significantly expanded once again. Plans for this were provided by the French fortress builder Nicolau de Langres, who, among other things, also had extensive modernizations of the fortifications of Luxembourg City carried out.
The Peniche Regional Museum also refers to the use of the fortifications as a political prison during the Salazar dictatorship in Portugal. A „Peniche Escape“ became famous at the beginning of 1960, when the leader of the Communist Party, Álvaro Cunhal, escaped from this camp with some of his comrades.
The Peniche region is also known for the handicraft of lace-making, which is otherwise more at home in the Vogtland region of Saxony.
Visiting tips for Peniche
Travel tips for your trip to Portugal you can find here in the Portugal survey post.
The small town of Peniche is located more than 100 km north of Lisbon on the Portuguese Atlantic coast. The maritime flair, the long beaches as well as the interesting bird life with various shorebird species make a visit to Peniche worthwhile. Especially surfers will find best conditions in Peniche, which hardly any other surfspot in Europe can offer. If you want to stay longer in the region, you can combine your stay in Peniche with a visit to the romantic small town of Óbidos, which is only about 30km to the east.
The weather in Peniche
The weather – situation is particularly interesting for swimming, surfing or also for a pleasant city stroll. To help you plan your trip to Peniche, the adjacent graph shows the current weather in Peniche for today and a small weather forecast for the next three days.
The surfspot Peniche can be easily reached from Lisbon and Leira with the long-distance buses of the provider Rede Expressos. Timetable and online booking of these buses is easy via omio*. Regional buses run (partly via Obidos) to and from Leira, where further connections are possible in all directions.
To get to Peniche with your own car or a rental car*, you can use the A8 highway. From junction 14 there is a spur road (IP6) directly to Peniche.
Accommodation in Peniche
Although Peniche is not sooo big, there are a lot of different accommodations on site. Long beaches and good waves for surfers are also best „draws“ for travelers on the Portuguese Atlantic coast, whether for short stays or longer visits. I try to list here some hotels, budget – hostels, vacation rentals and beachfront accommodations of Peniche in different price ranges.
budget in Peniche – Hostels
The Supertubos Beach Hostel* is located directly on the beach and offers accommodation in double and multi-bed rooms with shared bathrooms, some of which even have balconies with sea views. With the sound of the sea will lull you to a gentle sleep. The hostel is well prepared for surfers, surf – courses, diving courses, snorkeling and diving offers are arranged. A hearty breakfast is served in the hostel, in the communal kitchen you can prepare other meals as you wish. The fortress of Peniche is about 3,5km away. In the complex there is a wellness center with sauna and Turkish bath, pool and massage services.
Peniche Hostel* offers dormitory beds and individual private rooms with shared bathroom. The nearest beach is about a 5-minute walk away, and the Supertubos surf beach is about a 5-minute drive away. Peniche fortress is about 700m away. Peniche Hostel has two shared kitchens for self preparation of meals. Breakfast is included in the accommodation price. A terrace and the garden are available to all guests.
Hostels in Baleal, about 5km along the northern beach of Peniche
The 33Hostel* is located a bit away in Baleal and thus at the northern end of Peniche – beaches. Mainly dormitory beds (also with separate female dormitory) and some private rooms can be offered by this hostel. A communal kitchen is available, as well as kettles for making coffee and tea. Snorkeling, diving, horseback riding cycling, hiking, everything is possible in the surroundings of this hostel and can be arranged. The hostel offers a bicycle rental service. The fortress of Peniche is about 5,9km away. 33Hostel is the best rated hostel in the Peniche area by its guests.
It is cozy in the small hostel Castaway*, which is also located in Baleal. Here, dorms are offered (a women’s dorm). A shared kitchen allows you to prepare your own meals. Space to share or play is available in a lounge or in the courtyard and garden behind the house. The castaway hostel is also regularly rated very highly by its guests.
From the Peniche surfcamp hostel* in Baleal to the beach it is only 100m. Accordingly, everything here is geared to guests from the surfing scene. Courses are arranged. The hostel offers bunk beds in the dorm as well as various private rooms, some with private bathrooms. A communal kitchen allows guests to prepare their own meals.
The Green House Hostel* about 1km from Baleal is particularly concerned about environmentally friendly accommodation. Homemade furniture as well as accessories from the surrounding area make this accommodation cozy. Guests can choose between beds in four-bed dormitories and small private rooms. Various activities such as yoga or surf classes, massages or boat tours are arranged by the hosts.
Apartments and guesthouses in Peniche
The GO4SURF Beach Lofts* are a good address in Peniche for surfers, water sports enthusiasts and bathers who like to retreat to their private kingdom in the evening. Because different lofts for two to four guests with bathrooms and kitchen are offered here. A family room is also available. The nearest beach is only 40m away. Various surf schools have settled in the area, so anyone who wants can learn surfing and other water sports activities on site. Massage services are available nearby. Pets are allowed in the GO4SURF Lofts.
The Portugal Supertubes House* offers several double rooms as well as a larger apartment for four with two bedrooms. It’s about an 8-10-minute walk to the nearest beach. Guests can rent bicycles on request. The harbor fortress of Peniche is about 3km away.
SoulSurfcamp Portugal* is located about 400m outside of Baleal on the north beach of Peniche. This Bed&Breakfast offers well equipped rooms with kitchen for self-catering. Good conditions for children with high chair, children’s menu, games etc. have been provided. The garden and a communal lounge is available to all guests. Yoga, surfing lessons, massages and other activities are available or arranged in the house. Pets are allowed.
Best accommodation offers in Peniche
Casa do Campo Peniche* is a bed&breakfast with two- to four-bed accommodations. The nearest beach is about 800m away. In the house there is a Jacuzzi, terrace and garden. A café is right next door. The facility is (partially) handicapped accessible, on the ground floor also for wheelchair users. The harbor fortress in Peniche is about 600m away.
In the middle of Peniche you’ll find Ilheu 25 Peniche House*, a modern B&B with comfortable furnishings, sun terrace with lounge chairs, and outdoor pool. The beach is 650m away, other beaches about 1,5km. Bicycles can be rented by the guests.
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Some links in this post are marked with *. These links refer to online stores or booking agencies. If you order something through such a link, „Sunny Paths„blog gets a small commission to cover the operating costs. Nothing will be more expensive for you, because the commission is already included in the price.