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Everything you need to know about the Berlengas Archipelago: what to do and where to eat?

Calm beaches with crystal clear waters, unexplored caves of indescribable beauty, and seagulls, lots of seagulls! A set of islands where the combination of Mediterranean and Atlantic climates has given rise to a unique ecosystem in the world. The Berlengas archipelago is a small natural sanctuary - unexplored and almost wild - on the Portuguese coast.

Access to the island is only by boat, which leaves from the nearest town, Peniche. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the Berlengas archipelago, which lies 15 kilometers from the west coast of Cabo Carvoeiro.

Before you go, we suggest you go to the supermarket to stock up for the day. This is a day trip and on this island you will only find one restaurant. So bring fruit, sandwiches, water for a picnic on the beach.

In the town of Peniche, head to Cais de Embarque, where you will find the various boat / catamaran options to Berlengas Island, or also known as Berlenga Grande.

To take this tour, please reserve your spot directly on the website: Berlengas Islands Return Catamaran. Otherwise you run the risk of being without a place or on a waiting list in the event of a cancellation.

The Farol Duque de Bragança

On the way to the island, you will see in a breathtaking landscape, the Duque de Bragança lighthouse. Built in 1841 and 29 meters high, the lighthouse uses the energy accumulated during the day thanks to several solar panels. It is located on the highest point of Berlenga Grande.

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Farol Duke of Braganca

Ilha da Berlenga Grande

Despite its name, Ilha da Berlenga Grande is a tiny island and can be explored in a matter of hours. Therefore, do not expect to find many attractions there, as you might be disappointed. The island is a paradise for divers and birdwatching enthusiasts.

If you do not fit this profile, you can swim and relax at the beach of Carreriro do Mosteiro - the only one accessible on foot in the archipelago -, walk the paths and let yourself be enchanted by the landscape.

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Berlengas Beach

Berlengas Nature Reserve has been a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve since June 2011. You can visit the archipelago between March and October, with a maximum limit of 550 visitors per day. During the other months of the year, the island of Berlenga is inhabited only by lighthouse keepers and watchmen from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNB).

The Bairro de Pescadores

The Bairro de Pescadores is your first stop on the island as it is very close to the anchorage. There you will find some fishermen's houses and the Mar e Sol restaurant (the only one on the island). It is also the headquarters of the Life Berlengas project.

It is there the only nucleus of habitation of the archipelago of Berlengas.

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Bairro de Pescadores in Berlengas

Although it is still an unknown place to many people, its human occupation dates back to ancient times. It was even called the Island of Saturn by Roman geographers. Later it was visited by Muslim sailors, Viking sailors, and French and English privateers.

The Praia do Carreiro do Mosteiro

Also known as Praia da Berlenga Grande, it is the most famous beach in the archipelago.

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Praia do Carreiro do Mosteiro

It is close to the anchorage and with excellent conditions to enjoy the immense sea. With a length of about 40 meters, it is made of beautiful golden sand and has no swimming infrastructure.

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Praia do Carreiro do Mosteiro

You can also try the small beaches, like Praia do Forte, located next to the masonry bridge that connects the fort to Berlenga, or Praia Cova do Sonho, with a small sandy beach that almost disappears at high tide.

The Forte São João Baptista

The most notable construction on the island is Fort São João Baptista das Berlengas, which seems to extend from the rocks to the ocean. It is not known exactly when it was built, but testimonies indicate that there was a fortification there since the XNUMXth century.

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Forte Sao João Baptista.

After some renovations in the 1930s, it finally became a hotel in the 1950s.

Other activities to do on the island

One of the most popular activities in the Berlengas is exploring the caves that exist all over the archipelago. The most famous and impressive is the Furado Grande, which runs through practically the entire island in a sort of natural tunnel 70 meters long and 20 meters high.

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Berlinga

Other highlights are the Cova do Sonho and the Furado Pequeno, which are only accessible by boat and can only be visited at low tide. There are dozens of caves to explore all over the island, many of which are submerged and only accessible by diving.

There are two hiking trails you can follow to explore the island. The first is the Berlenga trail, which goes from the fishermen's quarter to the fort and passes by the lighthouse. You will arrive at an observation point from where you will have one of the best views of Fort São João Baptista.

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Farol da Berlenga

The second is an easier to walk 1,5 kilometer circular trail, the Ilha Velha Trail. It will take you directly to the habitat of the seagulls. From the top of the cliffs you can see some of the islets that surround the Berlengas, like Estelas or Farilhões.

 

By Mayara Rods

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