Berlengas – magical islands of Portugal

Berlengas, a group of islands in Atlantic, situated 10-15 km from the coast of Peniche, are known for it’s turquoise coves and mistical caves. There’s a big island called Berlenga Grande and two groups of smaller islands. Today, we travelled to Berlenga Grande which is also a nature reserve and has the biggest seagull colony I’ve ever seen.

I sat on a boat in marina in Peniche, small town on the west coast of Portugal, where I lived at the time. There were just a few of us on a boat. We sat next to each other and were on our way deeper into Atlantic. The wind was strong and the waves were merciless and were splashing us. There was something mistical about it.

The ride to Berlengas from Peniche takes about an hour. When you arrive, the first thing that catches your eye is a small cove with a beautiful turquise colour. It reminded me of a movie The beach.


And here’s how it looks – Video of the cove

There’s also a caffe bar/restaurant at the dock, where you can buy something to eat and drink. Before coming to the island, you can book some activities like riding a boat around the island to see the caves, renting a kayak or snorkelling equipment.

After we docked on the Berlenga Grande, we had about half an hour before a new boat came to pick us up to explore the caves.

You mostly get to see the shore and the caves from outside, but we went inside one small cave and exited to another side. It was a great experience since we found ourselves in the dark, only to follow the small light at the end of the tunnel. Plus, I’ve been in a cave. How exciting is that?

After the sightseeing, we were dropped off by the São João Baptista fort. It’s on a small islet connected with a bridge with the Big island, and it’s build to protect the municipality on the shore.

São João Baptista fort

It was built in 1502 on the ruins of a former monastery ground where monks used to live. They were attacked many times from Morocco and Algeira and by europeans pirates.

After walking around the fort, we crossed the bridge and were on our way towards the top of the island. For me, climbing up was really scary, but I wasn’t about to stop. I just tried to avoid looking behind and below me. It took me a while to get up because of my fear of hights. But somehow I managed to climb up and it was so worth it. Not only did I get to see an amazing views, I beat my fear. And won.

When you reach the top, on the left side, you can see the seagull colony and it looks like nothing you’ve seen. Seagulls everywhere, circling around the sky, laying on their eggs. There’s a possibility you get attack. Luckily, I didn’t get pecked, I guess they senced I loved animals. If you do walk over there, don’t get too close to their babies and you’ll be fine.


On the right side there’s a path towards the Cais lighthouse. Yellow meadow full of flowers. I sat down for a bit, looking down at the ocean and then up towards the lighthouse. So peacefull and so nice.

Cais lighthouse

Berlenga Grande is 1.5 km long, 0.8 km wide and it rises up to 75 m above sea level. And it’s really unusal place. From the top you get to see amazing views. But since that day was mostly cloudy, I can’t show you the full beauty of Berlengas through my photos. But that’s Atlantic, it’s mistical.

After you walk from one side of the island to another, back to where we started, the only thing left to do is to reward yourself by lying down on the sand of that turquise cove and enjoy yourself before the boat comes and picks you up back home. You can even take a swim.

And on the way back to Peniche, you can talk to the captain and hear the stories about his travels around the world. And maybe even get invited to ride a boat.

And at the end, thank you Berlengoest for taking me on a trip to amazing Berlengas.


1 thought on “Berlengas – magical islands of Portugal”

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