Camping on Berlengas
This post is going to tell you everything you need to know about camping on Berlengas from how to make the reservation, to what to pack. We had an incredibly relaxing 36 hours on the island and would highly recommend it if you are looking to get away and be surrounded by nature.
What if you could spend the night on a tiny piece of land in the middle of the ocean listening to the calls of seagulls, the crash of waves, and wishing the clouds would pass faster, so that you could see the bright stars that had been promised?
Berlengas is an archipelago 15 kilometers off the coast of Portugal. To get there you must take a 20 minute ferry from the harbor in Peniche. Lou and I went on one of the last days of the season, which runs from May 20th to September 15th, so it wasn't hard for us to book a ticket. Though I have read that if you're trying to go in the middle of high season, it is important to plan your trip in advance. If you come to Peniche outside of the season you can still visit the island, but have to go with a licensed tour operator.
Booking a ferry is quite simple - I just called (+351) 262 785 646 to make reservation with Viamar, one of the many ferry companies. If you're already in Peniche, you can go to the ferry harbor and there are a bunch of kiosks where you can purchase your ticket in person. For us it was 15 euro each way because we were spending the night on the island. Be aware the prices change depending on day of the week and month and if you are just going for the day or spending the night. Here you can check out the full pricing table. Make sure when you are setting up your reservation to clarify if you will be spending the night on the island.
If you want to camp on the island as well there is one more step to complete your reservation. You must email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, telephone number, check in and check out and the tent capacity. Then they will send you a confirmation as well as their banking information so that you can make a bank transfer for how much your campsite costs.
Prices per tent per night:
2 Person Tent – 10.30€
3 Person Tent – 14.95€
4 Person Tent – 19.60€
Next email them a screenshot of the bank transfer and they will send back a final confirmation. You must print this receipt. They make it very clear in the email that without a printed receipt you will not be allowed to sleep on the island. However, when we arrived on Berlenga, there was no one patrolling the campsite and just went to the number on our ticket and set up our home for the night. It's possible during high season they are a bit stricter, but the overall vibe to the island was be respectful, but no one is there to tell you what the rules are.
If you have any other questions about the camp site and want to talk to someone here is the full contact information:
Telephone: 262 789 571
Address: Posto de Turismo de Peniche, Rua Alexandre Herculano, 2520-273 – Peniche
FYI There is also accommodation available in the 17th century, São João Baptista Fort, but it is extremely minimal. I believe you even have to bring your own sleeping bag and flash light. The rooms don’t have bathrooms on suite. This article gives a lot of information on São João Batista Fort.
The island is very small and within a few hours Lou and I had walked every single trail. The main attraction is the incredible São João Baptista Fort as pictured above. We had a great time filming and photographing with such a unique backdrop, and then explored the inside of the fort where there is a lovely little cafe.
But after the exploration, Lou and I spent the majority of our time perched on the cliffs, listening to the ocean crash below below. It was peaceful and for us getting to feel bored felt like a luxury that made time move slowly in the best way possible. But if that's not your version of a fun trip, definitely bring some entertainment. In fact, because the campsite is so close to where the ferry drops you off, I recommend bringing everything you want to feel cozy and comfortable.
Packing List for the Camping Trip:
- Cash (the island is cash only and there is no ATM)
- Bathing Suit
- Fleece ( it got a little chilly during the night)
- Water (There was access to some fresh water on the island, but I am not sure on the quality of it as everyone I saw was drinking bottled water. I recommend bringing a 6L bottle of water to share between two people for drinking, teeth brushing, etc as the bathrooms have salt water in the pipes and more if you plan on cooking)
- Deck of playing cards, a good book, journal/pen, or other wholesome entertainment
And please pack the other obvious necessities for camping like food, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, toiletries, change of clothes. Once you get to the island there is very little - so if you forget your sleeping bag you are out of luck!!
There are two places where you can get food on the island if you don’t want to cook, but there aren't any vegan options. We just brought food with us. If we had known how close to the ferry terminal the campsite was we would have brought a camping stove and food to cook because it really is the most relaxing camping activity in my opinion.
Lou and I didn't take any tours during our visit, but if you want to go on a snorkeling trip or dolphin watching, there are many many tour companies that will help you see the abundant sea life that call Berlengas home. We saw a lot of people using the company Feeling Berlengas and they seemed to be having a great time.
If you make it to Berlengas please let us know as we would love to hear what you think of the crazy island home to so many birds and other wildlife.