Peniche – a coastal community with unique opportunities 

The Portuguese coastal town of Peniche is a fishing community of approximatlely 27,000 people one hour north of Lisbon. As one of the few still operating fishing ports in Portugal, fishing has shaped life in Peniche for centuries. Some 600 fishermen are still active in the area.

Similar to other regions outside of urban areas in Portugal and abroad, the greater Peniche region faces a number of economic and social challenges: a fading traditional industry, a lack of economic diversity, and a “brain drain” of talent to urban centers. Despite suffering from the downturn, Peniche still has a very strong potential based on its extensive fishing history, knowledge, and physical resources. 

A strong entrepreneurial mindset in the Peniche area - albeit somewhat overshadowed by doubt due to the city’s economic decline – supports industries active in the region, such as plastics, recycling, and manufacturing of sporting goods. 

The Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (IPLeiria) in Peniche has approximately 1,500 students and is part of the Erasmus exchange program attracting international master’s students to the region. IPLeiria is in the process of developing the science and biotechnology park, SmartOCEAN, to enable a Smart Ocean facility with the purpose of enabling ocean-based initiatives around aquaculture and ecotourism.

Peniche’s location is close to Lisbon and Porto, facilitating the connection to industry and research in these areas, but also to Europe and international hubs. The municipal government of Peniche, elected in October 2017, is supportive of regional development initiatives that strengthen digitalization and innovation as well as coastal rejuvenation and sustainable oceans. 

Peniche attracts talent and visitors from across the globe due to the beauty of its nature and surfing for anyone from a beginner to a world champion. Prices are modest, the living standard is high, and the climate is attractive with an enjoyable number of sun hours year round. The greater Peniche area along with the Berlengas Nature Reserve offer numerous recreational activities such as world-class surf, golf, riding, fishing, diving, and sailing.