The Berlenga island

The Berlenga is one of the crown jewels of the Atlantic Ocean. It is surrounded by small, diamond-shaped islands, adorned by emerald waters, and decorated with sparkling crystal caves. It is a place loved by birds of all stripes. Not just sparrows, crows, pidgeons, seagulls, woodcocks, and turtledoves, but also rare birds with unpronounceable Latin names, like ruticcilia tithys and puffinus kuhlii.

The island is close enough to be visible from the coast, but far enough to be shrouded in mystery.  Fishermen attribute to it all sorts of mystical powers. “Expect good weather if there’s fog on the island and rain if it’s clear,” they say.  But ask a fisherman whether the Berlenga inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds, and he will shrug his shoulders. The island does not need another legend. It is a place where, throughout the centuries, treasures were buried, pirates conspired, and lives were lost in harrowing shipwrecks.

In the Summer, there is a regular ferry between Peniche and the Berlenga. You can visit the 17th century fort (shown in the photo), bathe on white sand beaches with crystalline water, and chart a boat to go around the island. It is a grand adventure.

You can catch amazing sea bass in Berlenga’s waters, but you have to know where to cast your line. Ask a fisherman for the best place to fish for sea bass, and he will quickly change the subject, perhaps by asking you: “Did you know that the Berlenga inspired Hitchcock’s famous movie, The Birds?”

Click here for the schedule of boats from Peniche to Berlengas. Boats depart from the port of Peniche.

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27 thoughts on “The Berlenga island

  1. if you are going to stay the night on Berlenga, do you have to pay 2 times the boat ( 2 x 12 = 24)?
    we are a group of scouts visiting Porugal and would like to know 🙂

  2. Do you recommend a private tour company for our group of four or do you think a ‘Do-it-yourself’ approach is a good option? We will be in near Obidos around July 17-20.

  3. If I were to plan my own trip to this Island from Lisbon, do you have any advice? Struggling to organise coach journeys around the viamar boat timetable. Boat leaves Berlangas at 18.30, but last coach back to Lisbon is also at 18.30. Getting to Peniche for the earlier boat trip seems unrealistic as the first coach comes into Peniche for 9am, and we still have to get to the harbour. Many thanks.

    1. We just went to Berlengas last week. It was wonderful and you should definitely try to go. We drove to Peniche and parked at the dock with no problem. We bought our tickets once we got there. There are multiple companies that sell tickets and tours to get to the island including the ferry. The ferry – Viamar – had a few more trips posted at the dick than on the website. We departed at 11:30 and returned on the 16:30 ferry. We had plenty of time to tour the fort, climb the lighthouse, and hike to the highest peak. If you go, definitely book a small boat tour of the island (glass bottom boat). Ours was 30 minutes and took us into caves and around the island before letting us off at the fort. There are also tour companies that will pick you up in Lisbon and return you to your hotel. One was a really great deal that included the boat tour, snorkeling, lunch and transport. The ferry and the boat tour will be €26/pp the tour I just mentioned was €85 and included all of the above. That way you would have to worry about time tables. Having said that, Berlengas is a very easy DIY day trip. Good luck!

  4. Hi, is there an option to order tickets to the peniche -berlengas ferry in advance? online? we are a group of 7, and would like to reserve our tickets. We couldn’t find this option in the web sites of the ferry companies… thank you!

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