A cruise to Berlengas Islands

By boat and on foot to discover this natural paradise, classified as a natural reserve in 1981, biogenetic reserve by the Council of Europe - the Natura 2000 Networking Programme and a candidate to UNESCO biosphere reserve.

The trip to the Berlenga takes about 40 minutes. If you do not want to have lunch at the local restaurant, take a snack with you, and do not forget the camera and binoculars. Do as required to avoid feeling sick at sea. The return trip is not as hazardous, due to the direction of the winds and waves. Corresponding to a very old granite formation, the archipelago is constituted by three groups of islets, the Berlenga Grande and adjacent reefs, the Estelas and the Farilhões. The Berlenga Grande, a pink granite rock, shaped like an eight and very much indented, is washed by clear and transparent waters. The sea is inhabited by various fish and shellfish, as well as numerous species of algae. In the Fortress of S. João Baptista, built by King John IV, numerous battles took place, the most famous occurring in July 28, 1666, during which the fortress, kept by twenty-eight soldiers and a corporal, António Avelar Pessoa, was attacked by a Castilian fleet (hence the name of the boat making the link to Peniche). The weather has Atlantic and Mediterranean influences on fauna and flora, causing this island to be a unique ecosystem in the world. On land, only two mammals: European rabbit - introduced voluntarily - and the black rat, which sneakily traveled in boats. There is no free access to the whole island, as it is divided into a total reserve, partial reserve and recreational area. However, there are tracks where you can glimpse the beauty of Berlengas. These tracks are clearly marked and allow you to see much of the island. You may choose a track, according to your preferences, from one hour and a half to three hours. In the small beach Carreiro do Mosteiro, you can enjoy the sun and the waters in shades of transparent green, and have a deserved rest from the emotions of the tour by boat or on foot! One of the attractions of the island, not to be missed, is the 1 hour boat trip through the many caves. Departure and arrival at the dock of Berlenga, the same port where docks the boat connecting to Peniche. These tours in small boats take you through rocks with the shape of animals - the whale rock is one of them, just beside the Fortaleza de São João Baptista. If you look at it from one side, it looks like a whale, but if you look at it from the south, its features seem more like an elephant trunk. Beneath the fortress is called Blue Grotto. The name has to do with the vagaries of optics, resulting in the angle of incidence of sunlight and its reflection in the back of the cave. In practical terms, if you put your hand in the water, turns blue. Later, the Furado Grande is Berlenga's most impressive cave, with a natural tunnel of 70 meters which allows to under-cross the island from one side to the other. There are also inlets such as the Cova do Sonho and Furado Pequeno, which is accessed only by foot or kayak, the latter can be rented at Caramusteiro. If you rent one, try also the Gruta da Flandres which features allow you to enter by one side and get out by the other. If you do so, you will find an extraordinary cave, worthy of a movie like 'Pirates of the Caribbean" where 300 years ago sailors, pirates and soldiers sought shelter. If your purpose is to explore the seabed, you can go diving, although spear fishing is prohibited

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