A historic port clings to rough-hewn cliffs and magnificent headlands in this seaside city, famed for its surf beaches, local artisans, historic forts and nature reserves.
Explore sweeping beaches and a walled historic center in Peniche, a city perched on a rocky peninsula in central Portugal. A stroll around Peniche’s Old Town will showcase the city’s enchanting heritage, from historic forts to a rich tradition of handcrafts. Flanked by sandy shores on its eastern side, Peniche is the perfect spot to experience Portugal’s surging surf.
Get acquainted with Peniche’s historic heart by going on a self-guided walking tour within the old walled city. Wander around the meandering city streets and peer into old-fashioned storefronts. Check out local galleries and workshops to learn about Peniche’s particular style of bobbin lacework and pick up some pretty lace-trimmed keepsakes. Admire old-world architecture in São Pedro Church and Misericórdia Church.
Make your way to Fortaleza de Peniche to find out about the city’s significant political history. Built in the 16th and 17th century as a coastal fortification, it was transformed into a jail for political prisoners during the Estado Novo regime. The fort now houses the Peniche City Museum and presents intriguing insights into the city’s history.
If the sun is out, it’s time to hit the beach. For sheltered beaches, check out Consolação and Baleal bays. Supertubos Beach (Medão Grande) and Lagido Beach pump out the west coast’s famous waves, which lure surfers and bodyboarders from around the world. Go diving beneath the wild waters when you visit the Berlenga Island nature reserve or see the roaring Atlantic Ocean from Cabo Carvoeiro.
As a working port, Peniche’s seafood is available fresh daily. Try a delicious local rendition of bouillabaisse or charcoal-griddled sardines, paired with regional wines from Portugal’s wild west.
Peniche is 63.3 miles (102 kilometers) north of Lisbon. Reach the port city by flying into Lisbon’s international airport. Drive a rental car or take an intercity bus to Peniche. With warm summers and mild winters, Peniche is a year-round destination. Visit in October to experience the action of the city’s annual surf contests.