Berlenga Island: the Portuguese nature reserve with clear blue waters

by - 6:45 PM

The Berlengas is an archipelago located in the West region of Portugal that is currently classified as one of the 30 Portuguese protected areas. 

It is composed of 3 island groups, each with distinct climates and geological formations, despite their proximity. 

From May to September it is possible to visit the main and most extensive island: the Great Berlenga.

There are a variety of boat companies in the Peniche Harbor that offer different prices, travel durations and packs including other activities. I opted for Viamar, which took around 45 minutes.
Be mentally prepared for intense rocking due to waves crashing against the boat, though! Although I found the roller coaster ride feeling quite amusing, if you suffer from seasickness, go prepared with some tablets. 


The island is known to have a rather especial ecosystem due to a result of both Atlantic and Mediterranean influences. Therefore, high efforts are made to conserve the local fauna and flora. 

The accentuated coastline includes caves, grouts, arches, cliffs and small islets, making the area a true geological treasure.


The Berlenga is home to several species of sea birds such as seagulls, shags and pallid swifts as it is the perfect nesting and migration stop point. The birds are all very curious yet menacing-looking, though. So much so that we found ourselves surrounded by them just a few seconds after taking the first bite from our sandwiches! They even managed to steal a donut from a boy sitting close by!


The marine life is also quite diverse, ranging from starfishes to octopuses and even dolphins. 

In addition, the island features some flora species that can uniquely be found within the area. Not only this, but the landscapes feature barely any trees due to the strong salty winds making it difficult for them to settle.


From the port, you can choose between two paths:
  • Turning right will lead to the catering area, where you can also find some public bathrooms and the information centre. Continuing on this route will lead to the island's hiking trails. 

  • Going straight away will lead to the Carreiro do Mosteiro Beach, an absolutely gorgeous tiny beach. Keep in mind that since the beach is surrounded by high cliffs, it is in the shade during some parts of the day. Therefore, if you're visiting the island during the morning, save relaxing here for last; however, if you're spending the afternoon on the island, I recommend starting with the beach and leaving the hiking for later.

One of the main attractions of the island is its hiking trails. I should, however, note that the majority isn't properly paved so don't forget to pack some comfortable shoes.

When you finally reach the highest point of the island you will find the lighthouse. It was built in 1840 and is nowadays still functioning, being automated to work using solar energy! 


The São João Baptista Fortress is definitely non-missable. It was built in the 16th century due to being in an excellent defence spot and was recently turned into a hotel. The fort is connected to the island by an arch-bridge and to get there, you will have to descend over 300 steps. You will, yes, have to climb them all up again but the views are totally worth it! 


The several natural caves of the island can be explored by taking a tour in a glass-bottomed boat. The other option is going kayaking or canoeing. I didn't have time to do this but I can imagine how beautiful it must be!

You could also go snorkelling to observe the natural reefs, either by bringing your own equipment or taking some lessons.

Whilst there is no permanent habitation on the island, it is possible to stay a few days. You can opt between sleeping in the fort, camping or staying in a lodge. Some people working on special nature projects can even apply to stay in the lighthouse!

Berlenga Island really is the perfect location for a one-day trip. With a max of 350 people being allowed on the island at a time, you will be able to explore the gorgeous caves and swim in the clear blue waters without feeling too packed. 

How beautiful are these views???

You May Also Like

0 comentários