Peniche Guide Silver Coast | Portugal Visitor
Portugal City Travel Guide: Peniche
Peniche is a growing Atlantic resort in Estremadura on the Silver Coast (Costa de Prata) known for its surf and laid-back vibe.
Once an island, Peniche is now joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus with good beaches on either side.
Its proximity to Óbidos, Caldas da Rainha, Nazaré, Ericeira and indeed Lisbon has made it a favorite with both families and the younger surf crowd over recent years.
Still a working fishing port with a population of around 26,000, Peniche also provides access by ferry to Ilha Berlenga. Berlenga lies 10 km offshore, an almost-deserted island and biosphere, and an important habitat for nesting colonies of seabirds.
Ferries take about an hour to make the (often rough) crossing in summer. Visitors can explore the caves, cliffs and 17th century São Jão Baptista fortress on the island, which has been converted to offer basic accommodation.
The irregular star-shaped Praça-forte de Peniche (Peniche Fortress) dates from the late 16th century but has been much modified over the following centuries. The original design was influenced by Pendennis Castle in Falmouth in Cornwall, southern England. A fort was also later built on Ilha Berlenga.
Though damaged in the 1755 earthquake the fortress was repaired though not enough to prevent it being occupied by French troops during the Peninsula War (1807-1814).
The fortress later became a notorious prison during the Salazar era. The Museu Nacional Resistência e Liberdade inside the fort details this dark time showing the original visiting room for prisoners with its glass partitions, letters the prisoners wrote to their loved ones, photographs, videos as well as other documents and personal belongings of those confined within.
Along with the Museu do Aljube in Lisbon, the Museu Nacional Resistência e Liberdade in Peniche tells the story of the repressive Novo Estado from 1926 until its demise in the Carnation Revolution of 1974.
Later the fort was to temporarily house refugees returning from Portugal’s overseas colonies.
The main attraction in Peniche is the sea and its surf. The town’s beaches has some of the best surf breaks in Europe. The winter months from November to March have the best waves but less hard-core surfers tend to congregate in the summer months of July and August.
Surf schools offering courses pack the town along with budget guest houses for the mostly young wave worshippers. Peniche is a venue on the international surf circuit – the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Tour.
Other aquatic sports are also popular here including kite-surfing, fishing and diving.
Close to the old, walled town itself are Praia da Maya, Praia do Portinho da Areia do Norte, Praia da Gambôa and Praia do Portinho da Areia Sul.
Further south is the huge Praia dos Supertubos, the main surfing beach with excellent waves reaching up to 3 meters or more and a frequent venue for surfing competitions.
North of town is Praia Baleal another excellent beach for surfers with lots of beach bars and budget accommodation nearby.
Besides the fortress, the streets of the old town of Peniche are pretty to wander. At the southwestern edge is a lighthouse and Cabo Carvoeiro (Cape Carvoeiro) with great views out to sea.
There are several small churches to see in the old town, all of historical interest. These include the Igreja de São Pedro, Ermida de Santa Cruz, Igreja de Sant’ana, the Santuario de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios and the Igreja da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Peniche.
The Igreja de São Pedro dates from the late 16th century. Inside its a central nave and two laternal naves. The church is noted for its gilded woodwork and paintings of St Peter. The organ dates from 1771 and was made by the Italian Pietro Antonio Boni, responsible for the instruments at Lisbon Cathedral.
The Santuario de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios is believed to date back to the 17th century. The church’s main festival takes place in October.
Standing near the turismo, the 17th century Igreja da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Peniche was once attached to a hospital run by the order. The interior has some beautiful azulejos tile panels and paintings by Josefa de Óbidos.
The squat, white-washed Igreja de Sant’ana stands on a street of the same name in the old town. The simple interior is decorated with azulejos tiles.
The big religious festival in town is the Festa do Nossa Senhora de Boa Viagem (the patron saint of fishers) in early August. There is a blessing of the fishing fleet, which is illuminated at night, followed by a procession, dancing and fireworks.
The area is also famous for its bobbin lace. The free Museu da Renda de Bilros de Peniche is dedicated to this local craft. The museum has a permanent collection and also puts on temporary exhibitions. There are displays of patterns, lace products and the wooden bobbins used to make them with explanations using wall charts and video. The art of lace-making in Peniche dates from the 16th century. It was brought to the town by Portuguese sailors trading with Flanders. At the time many of the women were involved in lace-making to supplement the income from fishing by their menfolk.
The nearby Monumento à Rendilheira is a statue of a lace-maker.
Atouguia da Baleia
A few kilometers inland is the charming village of Atouguia da Baleia. A peaceful place to stay with a couple of churches, cafes and restaurants. Baleia means “whale” in Portuguese and there is a whale bone inside the Igreja de São Leonardo.
Baleal, 4 km to the north along the coast from Peniche is connected to the mainland by a causeway. The are lots of places to stay here and party close to its sweeping, sandy beach. The surf’s great, too, and the area is dotted with surf schools and surf shops.
Peniche Tourist Office
Posto de Turismo de Peniche
R. Alexandre Herculano 70
Tel: 262 789 571
Getting to Peniche
Train Travel in Portugal
There is no station in Peniche itself. The nearest railway station is at Dagorda-Peniche on the line from Torres Vedras, 24 km to the east.
It is easiest to arrive here, however, by bus from Lisbon (see below).
Car Travel in Portugal
From Lisbon take the A8 highway north and then the IP6 to Peniche. Journey time should be 1 hour, 15 minutes depending on traffic from Lisbon.
Bus Travel in Portugal
On the bus, it takes 1 hour, 25 minutes from Lisbon to Peniche. Take the Lisbon metro to Campo Grande Station, then a Rodoviaria Oeste bus to Peniche which runs through Lourinhã and Praia da Areia Branca. Frequent buses run from 8 am to 9 pm on weekdays but only two buses on weekends and public holidays.
See here for a timetable in PDF: rodoviariadooeste.pt
There are also Rede Expressos buses from Sete Rios to Peniche (1 hours, 35 minutes) via Torres Vedras, Lourinhã and Praia da Areia Branca.
Rede Expressos buses also run from Peniche to Torres Vedras, Leiria (2 hours), Coimbra (3 hours), and Caldas da Rainha (30 minutes). Local Rodoviaria Oeste buses operate to Óbidos (45 minutes).
Portugal Hotel & Hostel Accommodation
Peniche offers a range of accommodation to suit all budgets from cut-price surfers’ lodges to more high-end hotels suitable for families with kids.
The summer months of July and August are the peak season so you will need to book early to guarantee a room at this time.
Some recommendations are the Hotel Star Inn Peniche, the Hotel Pinhalmar and the reasonable Hotel Neptuno.
Guest houses and apartments for the younger crowd include Pineapple Surf House, SwordFish Eco House Peniche and Katekero.
See a complete listing of places to stay in Peniche.
Featured Hotel in Peniche
Buffet breakfast, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis court, sun terrace & free WiFi.
Book Accommodation in Peniche
Hotels in Portugal – Booking.com
Hotels in Albufeira – Booking.com
Hotels in Algarve – Booking.com
Hotels in Lisbon – Booking.com
Hotels in Madeira – Booking.com
Hostels in Portugal – Booking.com
Lisbon Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, Tramcars, and Yellow Boat River Tour
New Europe SIM Card With Fast 4G Data In EU Europe, Plus Unlimited FREE Incoming Calls & Texts
There is a wide choice of places to eat in Peniche from top class restaurants to more humble eateries.
Some recommended places to wine and dine after a hard day on the beach are O Pedro at Av. do Mar 26, Lola Gastrobar, and Taberna do Ganhão in Baleal.
Bars and cafes abound both in the old town and along the beaches. Try Xakra Beachbar, Java House, nearby Bar Três As or Baleal Cocktail.
List your restaurant/bar/hotel contact Advertising – its free!
The average high June temperatures for Portugal is between 22 degrees Centigrade and 26 degrees Centigrade.
Get more weather information for Portugal
Other places to visit in the Estremadura region of Portugal include Alcobaça, Batalha, Caldas da Rainha, Fátima, Foz do Arelho, Golegã, Leiria, Mafra, Nazaré, Óbidos, Ourém, Ericeira, Santarém, Tomar, Torres Vedras and Vila Franca de Xira.