Peniche Guide: 5+ Things to See & Do

Like many places in Portugal, Peniche began its life as a fishing village and fishing is still a big part of life here. In recent years, however, the Peniche has become more famous for something else: surfing.

Peniche is one of Portugal’s top surfing destinations, for many people, it’s the best, although other destinations like Ericeira, Nazaré, Sagres, and Costa da Caparica all have their fans as well. Even if there are disagreements on which surfing destination is the absolute best, ask anyone what their top three surf destinations in Portugal are and Peniche will almost always get a mention.

There are other things to do here as well. Berlenga Grande, the main and only accessible island in the Berlengas archipelago, is definitely worth a visit, and many people also come here for cycling, hiking, and other types of surfing like windsurfing and kitesurfing.

There’s also the Peniche Fortress, which has a varied and colourful history, that includes everything from military base to political prison, but, generally, the main focus reason to come here is to surf.

Useful Resources for Your Trip to Peniche

Here’s our top tips and tricks for getting the best deals for your trip to Peniche. 
  • Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb are the two most comprehensive websites for finding hotels, hostels, apartments, and other types of accommodation in Peniche. 
  • Car Rental: Discover Cars and Rental Cars are the two most useful sites for booking local car rental, particularly in Peniche and the surrounding Central Portugal region. There are normally cheaper deals at the airport, so it’s better to book your car rental there. 
  • Airport transfers: There are taxis and Ubers at Lisbon and Porto Airport, but you can also pre-book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups
  • Tours & Things to Do: Both Get Your Guide and Viator list lots of local tours and activities in Peniche and the surrounding Central Portugal region. 
  • Luggage Storage: Luggage Hero and Bounce are two great sites for finding places to store your luggage in Portugal, and are good places to look for storage options in Peniche. 
  • Public Transport: Cp.pt is the main website for trains in Portugal. For longer distance buses, see Rede Expressos. Flixbus.pt often has cheap tickets between cities in Portugal. 
  • Flights: Skyscanner and Google Flights are the two most useful websites for finding flights to Portugal. The nearest airport to Peniche is Lisbon Airport. 

Where to Stay

There are plenty of great accommodation options in Peniche, from surf hostels to boutique hotels, but here are a few that stood out.

  • Star Inn Peniche – Offering incredible views of views of Praia de Alfarroba and Praia do Baleal as well as both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, this boutique property is one of the most popular places to stay in Peniche. 
  • MH Atlantico – A 4-star hotel with both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as a tennis court and onsite restaurant, MH Atlantico is perfect for those that want a little luxury during their time in Peniche. 
  • MH Peniche – Amenities at MH Peniche include both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sauna, hot tub, a tennis court, and fitness centre – perfect for those that want to relax and keep fit while in Peniche. 
  • Offshore Rustic House – Offers self-catering units that are equipped with a kitchen: ideal for those that want to cook during their stay. 

What to Do

Although most people come to Peniche to surf, there are a few others things to see and do here besides getting on your board.

Go Surfing

Peniche is revered as a premier surfing destination not only in Portugal but also worldwide. Located on a peninsula with beaches and breaks facing different directions, Peniche offers versatile surfing conditions that can accommodate surfers of all levels, from beginners to professionals. The area is famous for its consistent swells throughout the year, making it a surf spot that is always in season.

The most iconic surf break in Peniche is Supertubos, known globally for its powerful, hollow waves that form perfect tubes—thus its name. Supertubos is also the host spot for the annual Rip Curl Pro Portugal, a key event in the World Surf League where top international surfers compete. Beyond Supertubos, beaches like Baleal and Consolação offer more forgiving waves for less experienced surfers.

Various surf schools and camps are available in Peniche, providing lessons and equipment for those who are new to the sport or looking to improve their skills. Remember, always respect the ocean and prioritise safety when surfing, especially on the more challenging waves.

Take a half-day trip to Berlengas

Berlenga Fortress

The Berlengas archipelago, situated off the coast of Peniche in Central Portugal, offers a remarkable natural escape for travelers. A mere 10 kilometers from the mainland, this collection of islands is a nature reserve known for its diverse marine life and unique flora. A trip to Berlengas provides not only stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, but also an opportunity to explore the island’s rugged landscapes, caves, and pristine beaches. The main island, Berlenga Grande, hosts the most attractions for visitors.

The 17th-century São João Baptista Fort, which was built on the remnants of a monastery, is an intriguing piece of history that also offers spectacular sea views. The island’s hiking trails allow you to discover an array of bird species, including the rare European storm petrel. Boat tours can take you around the island, with stops at notable spots like the Blue Grotto, where sunlight hitting the water creates an enchanting blue glow. Keep in mind that Berlengas is a protected nature reserve, so visitors should respect the environment and follow the designated trails and regulations.

Read more about visiting Berlengas

Go to the beach

Praia da Gâmboa

Peniche is home to some very beautiful beaches including Praia do Baleal, Praia de Supertubos, Praia da Gâmboa, and Praia da Consolaçãom and, if you’re already visiting Peniche and have some time to spare, it’s worth spending a day on at least one of them working on that all-important tan.

As great as the beaches in Peniche are, Peniche is probably not somewhere that you would come to purely for the beach. It’s a surfing destination for a reason, and that’s because it’s often incredibly windy here. While that’s great for the waves, if you’re lying on the beach it does mean you’ll get blasted with sand a lot. 

Windsurf or kitesurf

Not only is Peniche a haven for surfers, but it also holds a strong allure for those passionate about windsurfing and kitesurfing. Praia de Supertubos, Praia da Consolação, and the Lagoon of Óbidos are some of the most popular places to do this. The reliable wind conditions and the variety of waves make it an ideal location for both of these thrilling water sports. Throughout the year, the peninsula catches strong, steady winds, particularly in the afternoon, which are great for both windsurfing and kitesurfing.

For windsurfing, Peniche’s Baleal Bay is a popular spot, offering optimal conditions for different levels, from novices to advanced windsurfers. For kitesurfing, the Gamboa Beach near the mouth of the Arade River is a favorite among enthusiasts, thanks to its spacious sandy beach and consistent winds.

Several schools in the area provide training courses and equipment rental for those who want to learn or hone their skills. It’s an exhilarating way to interact with the ocean and the wind, gliding on the water’s surface and harnessing the power of the elements. Just like with all water sports, safety should be the top priority, so make sure you’re well-prepared and informed before heading out.

You’ll find several surf schools in Peniche offering rentals and lessons for beginners, and many trips can be booked through booksurfcamps.com

Try your hand at stand up paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is another water activity that visitors can indulge in while in Peniche. This sport, which requires balance and a love for water, has been gaining popularity over recent years, and Peniche’s calm beaches like the Baleal Bay and Supertubos are perfect places to try it out. Paddleboarding offers a unique perspective of the coastline, and it’s also a fantastic way to explore the local marine life beneath the clear waters. For those new to the sport, there are several local outfits that offer rental equipment as well as introductory lessons. You can take a group tour or venture out on your own once you feel confident with the basics. Peniche SUP School offers SUP rentals as well as guided tours of Berlengas, Baleal Island, and Óbidos Lagoon.

Visit Peniche Fortress

Peniche Fortress

Back in the middle ages, Peniche was constantly under attack from English, French, and North African pirates. King Manuel I initially responded by sending armed ships and recommended the construction of a permanent fortification which eventually began construction while King John III was in power.

Initial construction of the star-shaped Peniche Fortress began in 1557 and continued until 1567. From completion until 1897, it served as a military base. Since then it has had an extremely varied history. During the Boer War (1889-1902), it housed South African refugees and, during WWI, it was a prison for German troops. Most recently, it served as a political prison during Salazar’s “Estado Novo” (1934-1974). This is one of the few historical attractions in Peniche, but one that’s definitely worth a visit. 

Eat an “S”

esses peniche

You’ll find several different regional cakes and biscuits in Peniche, including “Pastéis de Peniche” and “Amigos de Peniche,” but the regional sweet you’ll see advertised most are “esses.” These are almond biscuits that are shaped like an “s” and they can be found in most pastelarias in Peniche. 

Getting Here

Most people visiting Peniche will come from Lisbon, which is just 102 km away. You can drive it in less than an hour and a half and the express bus takes roughly the same amount of time as well.

  • Flying: The nearest airport is Lisbon Airport, which is around an hours’ drive away. 
  • By Train: There is no train station in Peniche itself. The nearest train stations are in Caldas da Rainha or Torres Vedras. You can easily get a bus from Peniche to Caldas da Rainha, a pleasant town about an hour away, and the train runs from there to Coimbra in the North and Sintra in the south where it connects with the main north-south trainline.
  • By Bus: The bus from Sete Rios in Lisbon to Peniche takes around 90 minutes, and there are normally several journeys per day. There are also some services from the Lisbon Oriente bus station, but not as many as from Sete Rios. Tickets can be purchased on Rede Expressos or on Flixbus.pt
  • Driving: A car is always the easiest way to get around Portugal, particularly if you want to take day trips from Peniche. There are only one or two car rental companies in Peniche so, if you plan to rent a car, it makes more sense to do it at the airport. 
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