"Portugal's amazingly close island!" Ilha da Berlenga by Bwana_Brown

Ilha da Berlenga Travel Guide: 40 reviews and 78 photos

The Berlenga Islands were one of the highlights of our entire 2-week trip around Portugal (see my General tip for a map of their location and an overview of our travels around this magnificent country!). We arrived in the coastal town of Peniche in mid-afternoon of our second last day in the country, with a specific goal to try to get out to this small archipelago only 10 km (7 miles) off the coast. This rugged granite outcropping of three small island groups is less than a two-hour drive from Lisbon, and the high-rise buildings on the outskirts of town attest to the fact that this must be a busy spot in peak season! In our case, we were in the off-peak period and arrived on the waterfront just before 2 PM, after our mid-day tour of Obidos, and we had no idea at all of what, where or when tours to the islands could be had! By instinct and without a map of the town, I headed directly to what I assumed was the dock area to park our car. As soon as we emerged to begin our wanderings about town, we noticed a young lady standing beside a cubicle that said something about tours to the Berlenga's. She was very conversant in English (luckily for us!) and said that the next (and last) boat was leaving in just over 30 minutes. Right, that was it, we signed up on the spot and the adventure began! Since time was short, for lunch, we wolfed down the remnants of our previous day's bread, tomatoes and cheese while sitting in our car. Then it was a quick sprint to the wharf for our trip to these not so well known Portugese Islands (but definitely more affordable than the Azores or Madeiras!).

Dive From the Fort!

After arriving on the island and making the overland trek to the site of the old fort, we decended from the cliffs to have a closer look at it. As we approached it by crossing a small stone bridge, we were amazed at how clear the waters were. I could see a small school of very blue fish lazily swimming along just below us. I thought, 'gee, Kenmerk would like this place!'

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Very different from your usual vacation destination
  • Cons:You had better like Sea Gulls!
  • In a nutshell:An experience that you should not miss!
  • Last visit to Ilha da Berlenga: May 2004
  • Intro Updated Jul 19, 2008
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Reviews (19)

Comments (28)

  • Feb 7, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Glenn, I can sum this page up with one word: Awesome! This has to be the best Portuguese travel destination I have read thus far. I particularly enjoyed reading about your travels to the Caramusteira Bay, the sea cave, and Fort de Sao Joao Baptista.

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Sep 21, 2009 at 2:38 PM

    I did love my tour here = seemed a little home from home with the herring gulls and sea cliffs :) I do enjoy being near to the sea

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Oct 6, 2008 at 4:47 AM

    Some pretty spectacular scenery here, esp. Caramusteira Bay. Enjoyed reading about the yellow-legged gulls and the Fortaleza.

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    What a picturesque area and excellent photographs! You have certainly encouraged me to put the islands on my list of places to visit.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Jul 19, 2008 at 3:24 PM

    What an interesting place and great pics ! That Fort looks really interesting and makes certainly a great place to stay overnight !

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jul 19, 2008 at 11:45 AM

    Hi excellent page and tour thanks - I only made it to Peniche but did get up to the lovely coast line and Cape to stare out across the lovely blue seas!

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Apr 24, 2008 at 11:23 AM

    I'd never heard of the Berlenga Islands, so i enjoyed learning about them here. I'd especially like to visit the nesting colonies of the Yellow-legged Gulls.

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2008 at 8:37 AM

    Glenn, loved the Berlanga Islands!! My kind of place :) The Fort looks absolutely amazing, I can only imagine staying in a fancy pousada like it used to be in the old times. About The Commodore... haha, I've always liked such coincidences :)

  • betako3's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2008 at 9:52 AM

    That's true, a single picture can really capture one's imagination. The island in your pictures looks like a perfect retreat to me :)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2007 at 9:34 AM

    Glenn awesome photos of this Portuguese gem. I really love the photo of the Berlenga 'Fjord' and the Herring Seagull. Well done .... :-)

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