Having very quickly tired of both the Algarve and the heat (the dogs were really suffering in the 42 centigrade temperature) we decided to move back north. We agreed on the coastal town of Peniche, up near Obidos, which made for a drive of some 240 miles. Good decision. Up at Peniche it was 20 degrees cooler and yet remained pleasantly warm.
Peniche had been recommended to us a couple of weeks ago (while we were staying in Obidos) as a place to visit. It is a beach resort as much as anything and tailor made for surfers but that was fine with us. We were on our way back to Spain and just looking for somewhere cooler to get a good meal and rest up for the night. We struck lucky on that last point too. We found the ASA Peniche Motorhome Park which place is just as the title suggests – it’s a secure area to park the Van but, with clean hot showers and within easy walking distance of the town centre. Moreover, it had a Campervan Cleaning Station. For the first time in nearly 4 years I was able to get to the roof of the Van.
Peniche is simply about the sea and fish. I enjoyed a couple of good cliff walks and then Vanya and I walked into town for a large bowl of lobster, prawn and mussel stew served with a couple of bottles of Planalto (a Douro dry white wine with a bite not unlike that of Gruner Veltliner). Feeling better already.
We were parked on the north side of Peniche, which provides spectacular views of the sea (not least because of the rugged rock formations which fill the north side of the peninsula that the town fills) but, to the south, is the famous Praia dos Supertubos which is revered in the surfing community and is even included amongst Portugal’s top seven natural wonders. A combination of the shallow slope of land into the sea, north winds and the local currents give rise to a tall, perfectly hollow wave that is unique in Europe and the ultimate for surfing and bodyboarding. Every October, the Rip Curl Pro Championships are held here.
We didn’t stay long in Peniche (we are now committed to getting back into Spain) but if I were to return I would make a point of visiting the Berlengas Archipelago which is a group of islands 10 kilometres offshore pg Peniche. There is no permanent settlement on the islands but the largest island has a fort, a former penal colony, which is now a campsite. The leeward side of this island has small beaches with the clearest water. That sounds worth a visit.