Benchmark DetailsDate: 09/01/2017Evaluator: Afonso TeixeiraView Bio

Largo do Município
2520-239 Peniche, Portugal
(+351) 262 780 100

Visit Website
Leiria District, Portugal
Wave Capital of Portugal

On the westernmost point in continental Europe lies Peniche—home to the WSL Portugal Pro at Supertubos (aka “European Pipeline”). Once an island, now a peninsula connected by sand dunes over centuries of swell, wind and tidal currents, Peniche is an international surfing destination with so much to offer in between sessions.

Not only is Peniche’s location in the Atlantic ideal for magnetizing swell year-round with north-, west-, and south-facing coastlines, the peninsula served as a strategic trading post during the Roman occupation and for military defense strongholds in the 16th century through a network of fortresses which are being restored and turned into museums today. The Peniche Fortress was also a 20th-century political prison and marks the beginning of the nation’s political revolution that transitioned Portugal from a dictatorship to a democracy on the 25th of April, 1974. Supertubos can be seen from the prison cell window where an inmate escaped in 1960, swam to shore, and catalyzed the freedom movement while indirectly starting the age of surf exploration in Portugal.

Intrinsically tied to the sea, Peniche’s millennia of fishing heritage is still represented today with the region’s booming canning industry and local restaurants serving incredible seafood dishes. In subpar fishing years, local women used the art and trade of bobbin lace to support their families. Four centuries later, the School of Bobbin Lace and the Bobbin Lace Museum keep this culture alive and continue to innovate the art form through jewelry and fashion.

Take a hike on the Route of the Churches, the Grande Rota Caminho do Atlantico geopark, or visit the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve which includes Berlengas Island and the peninsula of Peniche with its geological formations dating back to the Jurassic Era (200 million years ago). Berlengas has been occupied by monks, Muslims, Vikings, pirates, and now tourists (you can actually stay in the Fortress of St. John on the island). With Mediterranean currents to the south and Atlantic currents to the north, the climate of the Berlengas archipelago lends itself to one of the most unique ecosystems in the world.

The unique geography and offshore canyons mean that high-quality surfing conditions are unusually consistent in Peniche across most wind and swell combinations. In addition to the world-class beach breaks and reef breaks that lure the best surfers from all over the globe, Peniche is also perhaps the best place in Europe to learn to surf given the variety of swell and wind combinations it can tolerate, particularly in the summer. Tapping into this swell potential is the WaveRoller renewable wave energy project that sits beyond the lineup at Praia da Almagreira, which Peniche is expanding to a 5.6-megawatt system over the next decade.

Peniche has been benchmarked against the STOKE Surf Destinations standard and is working towards STOKE certification.