The Berlenga island

April 20, 2012 § 8 Comments

The Berlenga is one of the crown jewels of the Atlantic Ocean. It is surrounded by small, diamond-shaped islands, adorned by emerald waters, and decorated with sparkling crystal caves. It is a place loved by birds of all stripes. Not just sparrows, crows, pidgeons, seagulls, woodcocks, and turtledoves, but also rare birds with unpronounceable Latin names, like ruticcilia tithys and puffinus kuhlii.

The island is close enough to be visible from the coast, but far enough to be shrouded in mystery.  Fishermen attribute to it all sorts of mystical powers. “Expect good weather if there’s fog on the island and rain if it’s clear,” they say.  But ask a fisherman whether the Berlenga inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds, and he will shrug his shoulders. The island does not need another legend. It is a place where, throughout the centuries, treasures were buried, pirates conspired, and lives were lost in harrowing shipwrecks.

In the Summer, there is a regular ferry between Peniche and the Berlenga. You can visit the 17th century fort (shown in the photo), bathe on white sand beaches with crystalline water, and chart a boat to go around the island. It is a grand adventure.

You can catch amazing sea bass in Berlenga’s waters, but you have to know where to cast your line. Ask a fisherman for the best place to fish for sea bass, and he will quickly change the subject, perhaps by asking you: “Did you know that the Berlenga inspired Hitchcock’s famous movie, The Birds?”

Click here for the schedule of boats from Peniche to Berlengas. Boats depart from the port of Peniche.

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