The quaint fishing port of Peniche lies in the shelter of a great headland on Portugal 's rugged Atlantic coast. As late as the mid-16th century, the town was part of an 8-kilometre-wide island, although an accumulation of sand gradually joined it to the mainland to form the present peninsula.
A small area of 74.6 Km2, Peniche combines a large modern fishing harbour with a 17th century military complex that symbolizes its ancient strategic value.
Today the town is most famous for its lace-making and fishing, and of course the abundance of gorgeous beaches and surf spots. With it numerous fish restaurants, which during the summer serve up some of the tastiest sardines in Portugal .
What to see
At the water's edge on the south side of town stands the 16th-century Fortaleza , used as a prison during the repressive Salazar regime. It now contains a museum of local archaeology and crafts, incorporating former cells, solitary chambers and the visitors' grilles.
In Largo 5 de Outubro, the Church of the Misericórdia has 17th-century painted ceiling panels depicting the life of Jesus Christ and patterned azulejo glazed tiles from the same period. There are also frequent festivals and markets offering the opportunity to buy goods from around the world.
A 3-km walk eastwards lies the breezy Cape Carvoeiro and the Chapel of Our Lady of Remédios, which contains 18th-century blue and white azulejo (glazed tiles).
About 12 Km from Cape Carvoeiro is a small group of islands called the Berlengas. Berlenga Island itself, filled with mystery and beauty, is a nature reserve for the nesting of various species of birds and the preservation of various reptiles and other animals. You will also find there typical plants and flowers unique to Portugal . Laced with grottoes and coves, the Berlenga Islands are an hour's journey by boat from Peniche. It also has a 17th-century fort.