Sloths on the Wonderisland

by Miška


Maybe you remember our wandering near Peniche, searching after picturesque ruins on the coast and wondering about islands on the horizon. After finding out more about them – the Berlengas – they became our must-see number one. My beloved sloth was talking about visiting them since the moment he had seen them in the distance for the first time, even before he actually found out that ruins we were looking for are exactly there. At first, I was uncertain if travelling to them is worth it, in comparison my boyfriend is convinced that every place has something to offer, and I agreed to it only after checking some pictures online. Finally, during the last weekend, we went there to do some exploration.


Our expedition to Berlengas


The trip started for us at 8 am. My mood was so-so as I needed to wake up early and walk to Peniche from our home in Consolação (maybe you remember that we don't have a car here). Tired and still a bit sleepy, I was watching the cloudy sky matching the grey ocean and started to be skeptical. What is more, we got to the port in the last minute. Luckily, we were not the last ones and our guides were still waiting for us.


Berlengas is a name given to a group of islands lying 14 km away from the coast. Since it was our first time going there, we decided to go directly to the biggest of them – Berlenga Grande. You can choose how you want to cover the distance: by a regular or a fast, pontoon boat. Due to the fact that I have never tried the latter, and because it gave us extra time on the island, the faster version of the ride won my heart.


Adrenalin speed boat 


If you are not a pussy (and you are not getting seasick easily), you definitely need to choose the speed boat. This version of travelling is far from boring. You can feel the waves almost under your feet, enjoy the wild wind caressing your face and still be able to appreciate fully images of the Peniche disappearing behind and the islands appearing in front. I was really thrilled about the choice and I couldn't stop smiling! My inner child woke up. (The excitement lasted until one of the neighbors looked like he will vomit on me, but he didn’t so the joy remained.)


When we were approaching the Berlenga Grande, weather seemed to be changing positively. My mood, already elevated thanks to the great ride, started to reach really high levels. I couldn’t wait to see all those beautiful places I have read about in the reviews of other travellers.


A paradise in the middle of the ocean


The island charmed me with its atmosphere. On the land in the middle of the ocean I found a piece of paradise. Its nature fascinated me incredibly. I was amazed by the endless ocean to the west, it’s waters were changing colors according to the point of view – from the darkest of blues far away to the light green in small bays surrounded by cliffs. I loved wild waves tirelessly hitting the ancient rocks. There was something relaxing in listening to them, I felt hypnotized, they were asking to stay with them forever. The unique mix of colors wasn’t limited only to the Atlantic. From the dry, brown inland part of the island to the yellow of lichens on the pink granite rocks and orange cliffs... All is there contrasting with the endless sky and the ocean. It’s easy to understand why Berlangas are a natural reservation, recognized by UNESCO.


Warders on the island


It took us five hours to walk around the whole island. I didn’t feel the time passing by. I wanted to see everything, check what’s behind every rock, know what the island has to offer. Accompanied by hundreds of seagulls and tiny lizards, we explored different parts of the island and enjoyed various views. I liked that we didn't meet many people (even though plenty of boats are bringing tourists on hourly bases), and could spend lonely moments not being distracted by crowds.


Discovery of the ruins 


Not to forget one important thing, we finally found the “ruins”, a fort of São João Baptista. We cheerfully climbed down to it, as it is situated at the base of a cliff in a calm cove, and spend a nice time strolling on its walls, takings pictures and resting. We were much less enthusiastic about the way up, though, just have a look at our photos.




After five hours and ten kilometers in our feet later, we ended up on a small but cozy beach. All the clouds disappeared from the sky and we had a perfect, summer day. When on the sand, I got a bit sad that I didn't take bikini and couldn't jump to the ocean to enjoy the water.


Finally, the time to go back came, and once again we had fun during the speedy ride.


Although I am not the kind of a person who likes to visit the same places more than once, Berlengas became one of the exceptions. The trip to them costs 20 euro per person, and it’s a fair price. The islands exceeded my expectations (which doesn't happen often) and became my favorite spot in Portugal so far. I will go back, I promise. 

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