There’s no doubt in our minds that Portugal is one of the top European hotspots for travelers. The weather, the food, the people, the culture, and the scenery just make it a spectacular place to visit. All of these factors are exemplified by Peniche, a rocky peninsula with a proud fishing history. These days, it’s an up-and-coming tourist destination popular with surfers. But is Peniche worth visiting?
Whether you’re a surfer or not, we really think it is. There’s so much beauty and history to explore, packed into a tiny area. If you’re looking to get away from it all, then Peniche might be the paradise you’re craving. It’s an idyllic seaside Portuguese town.
The entire country of Portugal is worth visiting. However, there’s something special about Peniche. Below, you’ll find seven reasons why we think this is a particular destination worth considering. Keep reading to find out the answer to the question: is Peniche worth visiting?
1) Surfing Paradise
The most popular reason that travelers give for visiting Peniche is its unbeatable surf breaks. The huge waves make for epic rides out on the ocean. If you’re not a big surfer, though, then this is still a spot worth visiting. In fact, Peniche is probably the ideal place for beginner surfers to improve their technique.
First of all, there’s the fact that the waves break over sand. This means that you’ve got a soft surface to land on if you’re prone to falling off. For anyone looking to improve their surfing technique without the risk of being cut up by jagged rocks, Peniche is the ideal location.
Second, the waves in Peniche aren’t as big as they are in other locations. This is especially true in the summer. You can use this as a location to practice your techniques on the smaller waves before graduating to something more hardcore.
Maybe you’re not interested in surfing at all. If so, is Peniche worth visiting? Well, yes. You’ll still get to enjoy the laid-back, welcoming, and international attitude that comes with being among a surfing community.
2) Unrivaled Beaches
If you have no interest in watersports, you’ll still want to visit the beautiful town of Peniche. These soft sandy beaches are good for more than just dragging a surfboard through. Whether you want to ride a horse along the waterfront or sunbathe with a good book in hand, Peniche is for you.
The peninsula is home to countless idyllic beaches. Find one that matches your vibe, whether you’re looking for a tranquil retreat or a lively Portuguese party. The most highly-rated beach spots include Praia dos Supertubos, Baleal Beach, and Praia de Peniche de Cima. Wherever you stay, you’re bound to be just a stone’s throw from an epic beach.
There are few things that are as calming as being by the ocean. Feel the joy of the sand between your toes as you listen to the crashing of the waves. Portugal does this better than almost any other country and Peniche is perhaps the best destination for beach-lovers.
While parts of Portugal can hit truly scorching temperatures, the coastal location of Peniche keeps it cool. If you want a summer that rarely tops 70°F, then find accommodation near a beach in Peniche.
3) Famous Forts
Are you worried about a beach vacation becoming boring? Maybe you’re more into history and culture. In this case, is Peniche worth visiting? Well, yes – Peniche has you covered there as well. Due to its coastal location, the town was historically used to build marine fortifications. While these are no longer used, they welcome tourists looking to discover history.
The most famous tourist attraction is the Fort of Peniche. This is built on the remains of a 16th Century castle so it simply oozes history. The fort has a dark past, however, serving as a political prison under the repressive Estado Novo regime. It can be a little bit creepy but that’s just part of the fun.
Explore these old buildings among some of Europe’s most spectacular natural scenery. This makes for a wonderful hike to get some exercise and enjoy the exploration that comes with travel. So if you’re ever bored of lounging around on a beach, remember that Peniche offers so much more.
Other historical sites worth visiting include the Fortress São João Baptista and the Cabo Carvoeiro Lighthouse. Even if you have a few weeks booked in this part of the world, you’re unlikely to run out of things to do.
4) Escape the Crowds
These days, tourists are increasingly looking to escape mass tourism. Are you bored of crowded streets, tourist traps, and overpriced restaurants? You can avoid all of this by visiting Peniche. It’s a chance to retreat into nature and enjoy a slower, more relaxed pace of life. This is the perfect opportunity to lower your cortisol levels.
Many visitors to Portugal visit more lively cities like Lisbon and Porto. While these are definitely worth traveling to, they won’t suit someone who prefers peace and quiet. Lisbon, for instance, has a population of half a million. Peniche’s population? Just 15,000. This offers a completely different scene.
You won’t struggle to find some alone time. Whether hiking over the cliffs or strolling down the beach at sunset, don’t let other humans ruin your day. Come to a small town like Peniche, support the local economy, and actually use your vacation time to properly relax.
The town of Peniche is large enough to have all the amenities you need to live comfortably. At the same time, it feels quite rural and remote. It’s a chance to enjoy the best of both worlds, giving you instant access to nature and human contact, depending on what you’re craving.
5) Enjoy the Dramatic Scenery
Portugal’s cities, with all their culture and lively atmosphere, are well worth the trip. However, you should never neglect the natural beauty of this Mediterranean country. By visiting Peniche, you’ll be at the heart of this spectacular scenery. From the moment you leave your accommodation, you’ll be surrounded by dramatic natural beauty.
It’s particularly known for its jagged cliff faces upon which the waves crash. Hikers in these areas should be cautious. If you love the majesty and drama of nature, then Peniche is for you. It’s not a tropical paradise with gentle turquoise water and perfectly white sandy beaches. It’s something altogether more exciting than that.
Hike a coastal path to take in the sheer beauty that this part of Portugal has to offer. Along the way, you can take shelter in cafes and bars, run by friendly locals cooking up hearty meals. The perfectly diagonal stripes that line the cliffs are a sight to behold and not something you’ll easily find elsewhere.
There’s something special about the ocean. It connects you to Portugal’s seafaring history and puts you in the shoes of ancient explorers. It’s also just incredibly calming, yet simultaneously awe-inspiring.
6) Learn About Portugal’s Fishing History
Portugal has a long coastline and, therefore, has been heavily dependent on the sea. This is where locals found food to feed the people and the starting point for navigating the world. That’s why the Portuguese Empire was comparable of that of Spain or Great Britain. That’s also why Portuguese culture is known around the globe.
When visiting Peniche, you can’t help but be aware of the importance of fishing in this small town’s history. For many years, it was the main source of wealth and the largest employer. Is Peniche worth visiting for this reason alone? Absolutely. It’s important to explore this proud and prominent past.
During your travels to Peniche, you’ll find islands with decaying fishermen’s huts, museums dedicated to the vocation, and lighthouses that once guided ships to safety. By exploring the fortresses, you’ll also get to learn more about the marine history of the area. Even if you’re not into fishing yourself, these stories are worth discovering.
7) Visit a Nearby Archipelago
Being a peninsula, Peniche feels a bit like being on an island. You’re completely surrounded by sea after all. However, maybe you want to actually go to an island and enjoy the feeling of being somewhere even more remote. From Peniche, this is entirely possible. Many people visiting the town will head to the Berlengas Archipelago.
Located a short 10 km boat ride away, the Berlengas Archipelago is easy to reach. Nobody lives there permanently, meaning it really does feel like you’re escaping civilization. It’s a great day trip to explore the untamed Portuguese wilderness. These islands are no paradise so expect to be battered by the high winds.
However, they are truly beautiful and spectacular. They’re also the location of some forts and a lighthouse, which are open to be explored by the public. You’ll also spot some traditional fishermen’s huts, which are an important relic of Portuguese history. Anyone who loves the combination of nature and culture has to come to Peniche for its nearby archipelago.