In Peniche, the fortress that D. João IV ordered to be built in the seventeenth century was, like the forts on Consolação beach and the S. João Baptista fort on the Berlenga Islands, an important military complex for protection against invasions from the sea.
The fort in Peniche, which was turned into a political prison in the period of the Estado Novo or “New State” (1933-1974), was the scene of one of the most extraordinary escapes of the twentieth century in Portugal. In 1960 a group of political prisoners escaped from it, among them Álvaro Cunhal, the communist leader. Visit the interesting museum space, which recreates the prison environment and contains various thematic areas relating to the region.
Fishing is still an important activity in Peniche, and people love to watch the the boatloads of fish coming into port. The regional gastronomy takes full advantage of the abundance of fish in the sea. We therefore heartily recommend that you seek out restaurants in the Avenida do Mar that will serve you a caldeirada (fish casserole), sopa de lagosta à moda de Peniche (Peniche-style lobster soup), arroz de marisco (shellfish risotto) and many other dishes that all use the best fresh fish available.