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
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
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
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
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
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 is supplied in the island by a generator that stops at 10 PM.
It’s strongly advisable to carry a lantern with you.
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.