- have a surfing lesson
- watch an event in the World Surf Championship
- cross the sand spit to Baleal
- go on an invigorating stroll along the beach
- taste the seafood and grilled fish
Peniche and the sea are inseparable. It is one of the largest traditional fishing ports in Portugal and a major Atlantic hub for maritime-tourist activities.
Before heading to the beach, your visit to Peniche must include a walk through the historic centre. Besides the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Sanctuary, the São Pedro and Misericórdia Churches, the Peniche Fort is a must-see. It was built in the 16th/17th centuries to defend the coast, together with the Fort on Consolação beach and the fort on the Island of Berlengas. It played a major role at various points in Portuguese history but its most recent purpose was to serve as a political prison under the Estado Novo regime, holding some of the most important public personalities in the fight against Fascism. You will learn all about it once inside, since it is currently the Peniche City Museum.
In addition to fishing, which has always been one of the sources of income of its people, Peniche is also known for the art of bobbin lacework, perfected by the women while the men were out at sea.
The sea is still one of the main points of interest and development, and the beaches at Peniche are much appreciated. While Consolação and Baleal bays provide good shelter for a family day out, the waves on this west coast, such as the Supertubos (tubular Supertube waves) off Medão Grande Beach, are much sought after by surfers and bodyboarders from across the world. It was elected one of “Portugal’s 7 Wonders” in a national tournament. Together with Lagido Beach, it is the setting for the major world surf championship, Rip Curl Pro Portugal, an event that is part of the World Surf League Tour.
The Nature Reserve on the Island of Berlengas is a boat ride away. Its translucent waters are ideal for divers, who will find here a natural sanctuary for sea flora and fauna. The choppy sea and the seclusion of the Island have also prompted many mysterious stories about fishermen and sunken vessels off this coast.
It’s only natural that the sea dominates the local cuisine, so you mustn’t leave Peniche without tasting the bouillabaisse, the seafood rice or the charcoal-grilled sardines, always accompanied by the Western region’s wines. For dessert, we recommend the almond cakes, whether an “Amigo de Peniche” or the biscuits called “Esses”.