Wanderers But Not Lost

The wild haven of BERLENGAS islands | Portugal

One of the most pristine and wild havens of Portugal is the Berlengas archipelago, located about six miles west of the Cape Carvoeiro. It consists of three small islands, Berlenga Grande, Estelas and Farilhões, just the first one being inhabited.

There is a restaurant (and rooms), occupying the building of an ancient monastery of the 16th century, and on top of the island we can admire the Lighthouse Duque de Bragança (1841). Going down from the Lighthouse, we find the beautiful Fort of São João Baptista. It is here that a hotel now operates, which allows a singular accommodation in small cells of the fort. Next to the restaurant, there is another overnight option on the island, the camping site, overlooking Carreiro do Mosteiro Beach, which attracts visitors with its small sandy area and transparent and green waters. It is an option that attracts many young people from Portugal and abroad. There are several species of birds that live and nest on the island, such as the Cormorant, but no doubt that the prevailing species are seagulls, which this time of year protect and feed their young offspring.

We had been on the island before, but we never pass up the opportunity to return to this paradise, and this time we used the service of Julius Berlenga, a local company managed by Mr. Julius, who took us on a trip in Julius vessel, covering the about 7.5 miles separating the island from the port of Peniche. That morning the sea was quite rough and the waves lashed the ship, shaking it vigorously, but Julius held up very well.When we arrived, we were able to admire the “Creoula“, a ship of the Portuguese Navy, docked for a few days.

On the island, and before we made our journey on foot following the observing tracks, we decided to visit the beach and then taste the wonderful fish stew at the restaurant. With batteries recharged, we explored the trail that surrounds most of the island and from where we can closely watch the seagulls and their young, as well as the surrounding countryside and the nearby islands.

The seagull moms would not let us alone, making a deafening noise and gliding in flyby over our heads. When we were coming down to the campsite, a more zealous mother even pecked at the head of a photographer who insisted on approaching the little pups! Then we went up to the other side of the island, where the lighthouse and the fort are. In the latter, we got to know the facilities and decided that the next time we return to the island we will spend the night in the fort. It was here also that again we resorted to Mr. Julius, which has a service on the island in a boat with glass bottom. With Toni at the helm, it took us for a small tour of caves and coves in this part of the island. Water transparency is really impressive and justifies entirely that this is one of the best dive sites and snorkelling in Portugal. But these adventures will have to wait for next time. The trip back with Julius was much calmer, as we sailed in favour of the swell, reaching the port of Peniche an hour later. We said goodbye to Mr. Julius, with the promise that we would go back soon, as the Berlengas well deserve it.

Practical information for Berlengas trip

Name: Julius Berlenga, http://www.julius-berlenga.com.pt/

Location: In the port of Peniche

Phones: 262 782 698 (night); 91 861 9311 (all day); 91 760 1114 (all day).

E-mail: info@julius-berlenga.com.pt

You can arrange for a trip to the Berlengas on the company’s website. Believe us; it will be worth it. Be sure to visit the Berlengas. It is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

Rui Pinto

I was born in Oporto, in Portugal, and I have a degree in Physics. But the taste for travelling began with an InterRail around Europe in 2006. Journeys to India, Nepal, Bolivia, Mongolia, China and Russia followed. A few years latter I realised that I became addicted to travelling.

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