[spotlight series. Tim Latte]
[peniche soundtrack. it’s you]
Just a short 45 minute drive north of Lisbon lies the sleepy fishing town of Peniche. Regarded as one of the best surfing spots in Portugal, it may not be the prettiest town, but what it lacks in beauty, it certainly makes up for in good waves and, as of recently, the best boutique surf accommodation we have found so far.
It was the Surfers Lodge Peniche that attracted us here in the first place.
We arrived in Peniche by bus from Lisbon and were met at the bus station by John Malmqvist, the super sweet Swedish (ex-national surfer) owner/designer of the Lodge. As we pulled up, we were wowed by the beautiful design of this all glass and wood building which sits on a street corner in Baleal. With a Nordic-inspired, 1960s surfer style aesthetic, the Lodge is full of beautiful reclaimed wood, floor-to-ceiling windows, bespoke furniture, and an amazing Moroccan-inspired rooftop (complete with pool, hot tub, comfy lounges and bar).
The vibe here is totally laidback and friendly, and the feeling is more of a home than a hotel. Bedrooms are simple, chic and cosy, and the lodge offers surf, food and yoga packages. We met some amazing people during our 3 night stay – pro-surfers, beginner surfers, or not surfers at all – just cool people wanting to chill out and enjoy the slower, friendlier pace that the lodge has to offer. Once a DJ, Malmqvist has also nailed the music – perfect beats drifting through the Lodge all throughout the day.
We were lucky enough to have daily surf lessons with three of the Lodge’s awesome, local surf instructors – Pedro (who bizarrely talks with an Australian accent!), Marlene and Francisco. After a massive breakfast (think all things healthy – fruit, yoghurt, muesli, eggs and homemade breads with cheese and ham, plus the best coffee we found in Portugal) – we would meet downstairs at 830am, put on our wetsuits, grab our longboards, and then walk the 10 minutes down the road to get to the little beach, Prainha, where the lessons were held.
The rest of our days were then spent either doing Pilates on the deck (I was lucky enough to be traveling with expert Pilates trainer – Colleen Ferguson of Atwill Wellness), grabbing lunch at the Lodge restaurant (try the gazpacho – amazing!), reading, working, doing some yoga, checking out some of the other nearby beaches, or going for big walks along the beach and cliffs of Baleal beach.
At dusk, it was time to hit the rooftop deck – a totally chilled out space filled with beautiful Moroccan rugs and cushions – to watch the sun go down. If you are lucky, there might be a live band or dj spinning some tunes. The restaurant – which is open all day – dishes up incredibly fresh, local and seasonal food, and was such a lovely place to hang out. We tried everything on the menu.
There is no honestly no better place to stay. Malmqvist has created the perfect boutique accommodation experience - high-end, yet super relaxed and bohemian. Good vibes. It’s beautiful here.
Highlights: the design, the food (we love the fresh, local and seasonal menu), sunsets on the roofdeck, the beats throughout the day, the surf lessons and instructors, and the friends we made.
Surfers Lodge: every meal.
Bar Do Bruno: for a laidback lunch with beachy vibes and ocean views.
Sushi Fish Baleal: we were shocked to find such fresh, delicious and amazing sushi in such a sleepy beach town like this. Highly recommend.
Cantina de Ferrel: for authentic and delicious Italian, just up the road from the Surfers Lodge. Come here for great pasta and pizza.
Surfers Lodge: on the rooftop at sunset, or downstairs on the comfy lounges. Cold beers, local wines and cocktails. No need to go anywhere else.
If you are wanting a change of scene though…check out Bar Da Praia (Largo amigos do Baleal) for sunset drinks.
You definitely don’t come here to shop! But we were super impressed to discover (only on our last day however) A’Mercearia: a cute little grocery store for organic fruit and veg, snacks, fresh juices, surf art and more.
Surf: so many waves to choose from. For beginners, grab lessons at the Surfers Lodge.
Skate lessons: also from the Surfers Lodge.
Walk the beach and cliffs at Baleal.
Check out Supertubos: renowned as one of Europe’s best beach breaks, and home to the annual ASP World Tour Championship presence each October.
Hire a boat: pack a picnic and venture out to the beautiful Berlenga islands. Sunbake, swim, snorkel, kayak.
Yoga: try a post-surf yoga class (or get a massage) at the Yoga Center Peniche. 12 euro classes.