Baleal, a beach in the Peniche region, used to be an island but it is now connected to land by a thin strip of sand. Its name comes from the Portuguese word for whale (baleia) for, in ancient times, whales were hunted nearby.

Baleal has many charming houses with beautiful ocean views. But its hallmark is a dramatic rock formation sculpted by the sea.

In his 1923 book “The Fishermen,” the writer Raul Brandão singles out Baleal as the most beautiful beach in Portugal. Surfers, who flock to Baleal every Summer, seem to agree.

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