At a distance of around 10 km from Peniche, the Berlengas Archipelago is a natural haven maintained in a virtually unspoilt state. Constituted by three groups of small islands – Estelas, Farilhões and Berlenga – the zone maintains extensive undergrowth, including unique species such as the Armeria berlegensis and Herniaria berlengiana, whose names indicate their origin.
Many bird species find an ideal refuge here in order to nidify or as a stopping point in their migration routes. By far the most apparent presence is that of seagulls, which can be seen everywhere. Endangered species can also be seen such as the puffin, which resembles a small penguin and has been chosen as the symbol of a Nature Reserve. The protected area also covers an important 985-hectare marine reserve, with a highly diversified range of animal life.
Berlenga, the largest island, is the only one with inhabitants throughout the year, limited to those persons required for indispensable services — operation of the lighthouse and surveillance of the Nature Reserve, thus living in absolute isolation. Between May and October there is daily maritime transport from Peniche. If this timetable does not suit you, or you would like to visit the islands during a different period of the year, there are small boats that can take you there, subject to seafaring conditions.
Berlenga is the ideal spot for those who are looking for tranquillity, far from the normal hustle and bustle of daily life, given that the island can only be visited by a maximum of 350 persons at any one time. In order to get to know the island better, you may follow the pedestrian walks that will lead you to the grottoes, to the Fortress of São João Baptista or simply find excellent spots in order to marvel at the spectacular landscapes.