Berlengas

Berlengas – 3 times in seagull’s kingdom

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Visiting Berlengas

A well controlled natural park, Berlengas is, first of all, a strong challenge to those who fear the sometimes rough sea for an hour crossing.

Upon arrival, is a dip in wild nature, with some of the best Portuguese places to snorkel or dive. the access is restricted to a short number of daily visitors, so you better book in advance (+351 262 785646)

Visiting Berlengas
Visiting Berlengas – Fortress

The fortress

Once a five stars hotel, the fortress of S. João Baptista, built in the 17th century, keeps being one of the possible places to sleep, now in a self-catering basis, with the support of a small mini-market.

​Even if you don’t intend to stay there, the free visit is one of the mandatory highlights of the island.

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Visiting Berlengas – Beach

The beach

Very small, very secluded (and as cold as all the Atlantic beaches) this bay is very calm, with crystal waters, and the best place to bath in the Island (some good swimmers prefer to dive from the fort).

If you climb the hill, the sights will reward you.

A warning:

​Don’t dig in the sand – removing garbage is not easy in the island, and you may have an unpleasant surprise.

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Visiting Berlengas – Carreiro dos cações

Carreiro dos Cações

Berlenga “is” nature, but the southern side is prepared to be visited, showing human presence everywhere.

To really feel the wild you must go to the north side, respecting the restrictions imposed by the protective rules, and with the care that the rough terrain justifies.

​”Carreiro dos cações” is a narrow bay, where, it seems, fishing may be rewarding (not for us – we spent there a full morning and… nothing).

Berlengas
Visiting Berlengas – Boat circuit

Caves circuit

One of the “must do” in Berlengas is a circuit around the island to visit its several caves, some of them very beautiful.

​It’s easy and cheap to do: you just have to wait for the tide and to accept joining a group to hire one of the small boats starting from the beach, and in about an hour or so… it’s done.

Berlengas
Visiting Berlengas – Boat circuit

Island circuit

And suddenly the boat stops!

After several yellow smiles, the problem was fixed, and the marvelous circuit could proceed.

​High tides don’t allow visiting the caves, but, even so, if the sea is calm the tour along the southern side of the island is something not to be missed.

​Tours are booked locally.

Alentejo
Visiting Berlengas – Blue cave

Blue Cave

Under the fortress there’s a tiny cave that is famous for the blue colors of the water.

​It may be visited by boat, or by a short swim from the opposite pier.

To see Luís – Berlenga as “a Religion”

Some of my friends visit Berlenga several times a year, each year, sometimes spending there a entire week.

​The strength of pure nature and fishing facilities turn Berlenga into a sort of religion for them.

Some other lovers try to capture the whole of the island, and take it back with them.

Berlengas
Berlengas

Luis Silva, from Ribamar, is someone I don’t know, but that made the best photo collection I ever saw about the Island.

Even without understanding Portuguese, surfing his page is the best way to get a clear idea of what to expect. He moved, the pictures are gone, but I saved one. It’s a pity, losing his good work.

Positive impression Mar & Sol The only Hostel

Berlengas
Berlengas

The best solution for a night stay in Berlengas is this restaurant.

It has six rooms that you may book in advance (you must, otherwise…), with average quality (excellent for the place and its general conditions).

Phone: +351 262 750 331

Website: Mar&Sol

Positive impression S. João Baptista fortCamping in a room

Sleeping in Berlengas
Sleeping in Berlengas – Fort

Once a luxury hotel, the fort was abandoned, leaving behind the structure and some of the facilities (not much). Today you may use one of its rooms, without any kind of service and limited water and electricity.

You may also share with other users the kitchen and “restaurant”, inside, or in the esplanade. It’s cheap, a different experience, and usually overbooked (plan ahead), but people use to get fun at night.

Phone: +351 262 785263

Website: Berlengas fort

Bad day Camping – The third option

Berlengas
Sleeping in Berlengas – Camping

The camping area in Berlenga is very small, even having in mind that the visit of the island is limited to a few hundred people a day.

The conditions are… I don’t know if I should say bad or none, which means that camping there is an adventure in the wild.

High Tide

Berlengas
Berlengas

The best in Berlengas is the boat circuit, along the caves, but the tide may cause some problems.

Many years ago a group of visitors died inside a cave, caught by surprise.

​Since then, boat men are very careful, and I think that there is no considerable risk, but you must plan your visit to make the tour coincide with low tide, if possible.

Boat to the island

Warnings in Berlengas
Warnings in Berlengas – The pier

The access to the island is severely controlled, due to environmental reasons.

It is possible to reach the islands by boat from Nazaré or São Martinho do Porto, but only three companies make public transport, from spring to fall, departing from Peniche, with 90% or more of the visitors using a boat called Cabo Avelar Pessoa.

It belongs to Viamar and may be booked in advance by phone (+351 262 785 646) or fax (+351 262 783 847).

Website: Cabo Avelar Pessoa

The alternative companies are:

Julius – phone +351 262 782 636 .

​Berlenga Turpesca – phone +351 262 789 960

To book lodging in the island contact:

Reserva Natural da Berlenga
Porto de Areia Norte, Estrada Marginal  2520 Peniche

Phone: +351 262 787 910

Boat trip

Berlengas
Warnings in Berlengas – In the boat

One of the strongest sensations (sometimes even violent) of the trip is the boat ride.

When exiting the Carvoeiro cape the surf is generally high, and the boat jumps, dives, and twirls enough to make most travelers get sick. If you use to have trouble in the sea you’d better stay in the small open decks, where showers are frequent but the vision of the waves help to distract and adapt to the movements (and without smells, without the look of green faces…).

​Well, it’s just a warning and be sure that my teams always kept their rosy smile inside or outside.

Kids in the island

Berlengas
Warnings in Berlengas – Kids

The island is interesting for kids, but you must be very careful with them – the paths are steep and narrow, the protections are rudimentary or absent, and getting out of the paths is forbidden.

​Even in the beach you must keep them away from the cliffs, because it is frequent the falling of small rocks, and seagulls don’t like visitors….

Cold but nice

Berlengas
Warnings in Berlengas – Swimming

Berlenga is a paradise for scuba diving or even snorkel, as long as you are well protected.

The water is very cold but who can resist it?

​Even 12 °C are enough (for some of us) for a quick and nice swim in the crystal waters, where the bottom, six or seven meters below, seems to be reachable by your feet.

The many steps

Berlengas
Warnings in Berlengas – Steps

The main highlights are at sea level, but no one visits Berlenga without climbing to the top.

From the beach there’s a steep path, and from the fortress you may count with almost 400 steps.

​It is worthwhile, however!

Electricity

Berlengas
Warnings in Berlengas – By the fort

Electricity is supplied in the island by a generator that stops at 10 PM.

​It’s strongly advisable to carry a lantern with you.

Water supply

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Warnings in Berlengas -Water terraces

The only water available in Berlengas is collected from the rain in the roofs of the fortress and restaurant, which means that water is a RARE element.

​It’s possible to buy (expensive) bottled water during the day, but you’d better try to make low use of fresh water while in the island.

The islands are reputed as one of the best fishing spots in Portugal. Well…

Memories of Berlengas
Fishing

One day, I went there with a group of friends to fish.

Sixteen “fishermen”, or something alike.

How many fishes? Yes… zero.

​They are there, but… you have to know, otherwise you will end cooking your “caldeirada” with sausages, as we did.

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