Berlengas Archipelago

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The Berlengas Archipelago is a rocky archipelago of three granite islands and a string of reefs around 11 km (seven miles) off the rugged Cape Carvoeiro on the Atlantic coast of Portugal near Peniche. Only one island is inhabited: Berlenga Grande has as its star manmade attraction the 17th-century Forte de São João Baptista (Fort of John the Baptist), which is connected to the island by a narrow bridge across a rocky causeway and was used to defend the area from pirate attacks. It was built on the remnants of a monastery that was abandoned in the early 16th century thanks to repeated raids from England, France and North Africa.

However, Berlenga Grande is chiefly known as a hiking, swimming, snorkeling and diving paradise – the island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – and has a number of pocket-sized beaches in tiny coves backed by clear blue waters. Soaring cliffs and sea caves pockmark the indented coastline and can be explored by kayak or glass-bottomed boat. Thanks to the island being a nesting site for seabirds such as the rare purple swamphen, puffins and cormorants, access is strictly controlled as attempts are being made to conserve the pristine pink granite environment.
Adress: Lisbon, Portugal
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