In the fishing town of PENICHE, determined touts hawk rooms and a glut of harbourside seafood restaurants vie for tourists. But although the balance of life is changing here, Peniche has yet to be seduced entirely from its roots. Gangs of fishermen still repair nets at the harbourside, while the first weekend in August sees the boisterous festival of Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, during which there’s a blessing of the fleet, plus fireworks, bands and dancing in the street.
The town was an island up until the fifteenth century, when the surrounding area silted up and now a narrow isthmus, with gently sloping beaches either side, connects it to the mainland. Unsightly development stretches along the coast, but inside the walled town there is a small grid of narrow streets dominated by a fortress, as well as a busy harbour and marina. Boats from here run out to the Ilha da Berlenga, while there’s an enjoyable regional market held on the last Thursday of the month.