“Berlengas” always sounded like a foreign place to me, a Spanish Island or even a part of the Italian Riviera. It never crossed my mind that it was actually a little over an hour away from Lisbon!
A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon Diana Coza’s blog Where Two Go To and read her article about Berlengas – it didn’t take much to convince me to go.
I thought I would plan a weekend getaway to the island in the summer, but the opportunity came sooner than I expected when I decided to treat Nick with a scuba diving trip for his birthday.
It took a bit of research, but after a while I found a company that did scuba diving in Berlengas. Aquaoeste provides all sorts of diving-related activities both on the island and around the Peniche area. I emailed the founder, Jorge Pereira, back and forth until we settled for a date and time.
He was with us every step of the way, from the moment we arrived to Peniche to the moment we jumped out of the boat and followed fishes around.
Unfortunately, unlike Ariel, we don’t have the skills to speak underwater so we had to resort to gestures to communicate with Jorge. He kept asking us if we were okay while we were down there and even though I was nervous at first, I eventually got used to it. From octopus to sea cucumbers, there were so many things worth capturing, I was really overwhelmed by it!
If your stomach can handle the boat trip to Berlengas, you can trade scuba diving for snorkeling or simply spend the day tanning on the secluded beach.
The island itself is full of seagulls that look like they could be cast for Hitchcock’s “Birds”, just make sure to stay away from their nests!
After spending most of the day underwater, we left our suits on the boat and ventured around the island. While we saw colorful fields of flowers, many might miss this sight if they come during the summer, as they will probably be dead by then.
We walked to the fort, which looked straight out of a medieval movie – apparently you can sleep here in the summer! After a couple of failed selfie attempts, we headed back for a drink at the island’s restaurant, where Jorge and the crew were waiting for us.
While we welcomed the water splashes on our way there, it was nice to stay dry on our way back, thanks to the crew for covering us 🙂
So I crossed scuba diving off my nonexistent bucket list, maybe I’ll give skydiving a chance…
HOW TO GET TO BERLENGAS?
If you don’t have a car, there are two ways to get to Peniche from Lisbon. You can either get the bus from Sete Rios, like we did, or from Campo Grande. Whatever you decide, they both take around the same time.
Since we had booked the scuba diving, the boat trip to Berlengas was already included. However, if you just want to go sightseeing, you can take the Viamar boat from the Peniche port that takes around 30 minutes to arrive to the Island.
Berlengoest also organizes trips to Berlengas and they have a glass-bottom boat.
Just make sure the weather is good before you book anything!
WHERE TO STAY IN BERLENGAS?
If you fancy spending the night on the Island, you have three options:
- Camping – you have to book in advance with Peniche’s tourism office.
- Pavilhão Mar e Sol – part of the island’s restaurant, it has only 5 small double rooms that cost around 75 euros per night.
- The Fort – to stay here you need to book ahead with Associação Amigos das Berlengas. It costs 10 euros per night but you have to bring your own sleeping bag.
Make sure to take a lantern and plenty of supplies. There’s only a mini market on the island, the electricity is cut at 1:00am and they close the water tap at 10:00am!