014 – Top things to do in Peniche – PT – World’s First Natural Reserve

Imagine that you are a passenger and you are checking the scenery through the windows of the car. Then you take a quick glance at the GPS. Next thing you know, where normally should only be the ocean, now a huge green rectangle sits right in the middle of it.

Wouldn’t you be curious about what is there?

Well, we were!

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So like I was saying -> there I was looking on the Maps.Me application (our GPS) and I saw (back in 2018) that there was a natural reservation. Green dots hovering over the drawn ocean. So we went to check it out.

map

Click on the map to get an interactive look

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14.1 Mesembryanthemum or ice plant

Some come here because of the big golden sands that go right next to the road; tall sand dunes that spray over the windshield. Others come here out of pure curiosity, as ourselves but know this: Peniche has one of the first Natural Reserves in the World. And you can visit the place, by boat, during the summer, at every hour. (if you don’t mind the tidal waves)

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14.2 The rocky shore

While every hour there is a ferry (from the port of Peniche, town) to get you to the Berlenga Islands, there are other, much smaller boats, that are good to visit the caves, with the longest one measuring 70m in length. Zoom in and you will see some 8 people on a rubber speed boat, wearing swim jackets.

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14.3 Can’t get any darker nor whiter than that…

Yet, when you look at the ocean and how energetic it is, make a correlation with the tide and the result is that this right here is what is slowing down the rotation of the Earth. Basically, many many years ago, the night and day cycle used to be shorter than today.

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14.4 Berlenga lighthouse

While I did not think about visiting the island itself, in this picture you can see the main island and the Farol da Berlenga (the lighthouse). But what we can barely see from here, is a very important piece of history → the famous Fort of São João Baptista das the Berlengas -> to the right of the white lighthouse, where you see that dark golf.

Now imagine a dark, misty night with lights from every window (inside the golf) and soon you will be thinking of pirates gathered in search of finding crew for a dangerous endeavor. Well, It is kinda unrealistic, some will say, given the fact that the island is at only 12km from the shore. And the fort is very much visible from the shore. But maybe… on a very think misty night 🙂

Anyway, if you find yourself in the area, and you don’t have seasickness, I suggest you come and visit the place. The fort, the bay, the beautiful bridge that connects the island with the Fort/ex-Prison it is shown even in magazines of Portugal. It might not be very known but surely is beautiful in a way.

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14.5 Pink ice plant

The natural reserve is not for trees and forests, as you might have guessed from the image, rather for protecting birds, lizards, and fish. Yet all the shore is painted with Mesembryanthemum → really hard name for such a beautiful flower.

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14.6 Water and wind sculptures

I did not really knew about the island, yet I still found the place very memorable. First were the huge sand dunes that came right next to the main road → could not stop to take photos, as the traffic was not really forgiving. Next were the shores that looked like they were from another planet → much like the creation of an artist to depict other worlds. And from the gaps you see tinny little aliens coming out to look at the Guliver sized biped that points a big, dark, round shiny object. Click!

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14.7 Lighthouse of Cabo Carvoeiro

No shore is without a lighthouse, and Cabo Carvoeiro is no exception. Built around 1758 and remodeled in 1886, it has been provided safety for boats and fisherman ever since. For some time it actually “worked” on olive oil. Isn’t that cute? If they needed some oil for their salad, all they had to do is open the barrel and help themselves.

While I did not see a Natural Reserve, (the road ahead was still long) it doesn’t mean that it is not ok to come here.

Thing is, you should stay the night in case the boat trip was too much for your stomach. Also, you should pack a cheap camera if you wish to visit the caves. But the boy is beautiful even from the shores. And yep, it is one of the first nature reserves. See you in the next article

MiDe.

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