Visit Nazaré: Big waves in Portugal (2020)

Visit Nazaré, a typical fishing village. It is the seat of a small municipality, with small white houses scattered along the slopes of the village. It is today one of Portugal’s main tourist destinations and has managed to maintain many of its ancient traditions. But it is no longer possible to talk about Nazaré without mentioning the world record for the largest wave ever surfed (Garret McNamara on the North Beach in November 2011).

VISIT NAZARÉ

The town of Nazaré has become the host of major international surf competitions and thousands of curious tourists. But Nazaré has a lot to see and tell. It harmoniously combines its past (it’s fishing traditions), its present and its future. Whoever walks around Nazaré will find shops allusive to the typical costumes of the village, fishermen in chess shirts and black trousers and the famous women of the 7 skirts mending fishing nets. But you will also find numerous references to its famous giant waves in a clear appeal to tourism that today plays a vital role. The village is located in the district of Leiria and has about 15 thousand inhabitants. The municipality is surrounded to the north, east and south by the municipality of Alcobaça and to the west is the Atlantic Ocean. It is located 100 kilometers from Lisbon.

VISIT NAZARÉ – VIRTUAL TOUR

DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE

demographic change nazaré portugal

VISIT NAZARÉ – WHICH I CAN’T AFFORD TO MISS

Sitio da Nazaré

Sítio is a small area of Nazaré but the most visited in the village. Besides gathering those who will see the big waves, it is also much sought after by pilgrims. There we find the church of Our Lady of Nazaré, the hospital, the Dr. Joaquim Manso Museum, the fort of São Miguel de Arcanjo and the Lighthouse. Be sure to visit the place of Nazaré, a magnificent viewpoint from where you can admire the beach of Nazaré and, in case the waves are big, you can see the incredible waves of the cannon of Nazaré. If you want to see NOW DIRECTLY THE SIZE OF THE Waves CLICK HERE!

sitio da nazaré portugal

Dr. Joaquim Manso Museum

In this museum we can find collections that document the history and culture of this region. From prehistory to our days through analysis 3 elements: 1. the history and legend, 2. the sea and boats and 3. the costume

The Hermitage of Nazareth (or chapel of memory)

The Legend of our Lady of Nazareth: Story (probably) invented by Friar Bernardo de Brito who had the story told through some great tombstones (in Portuguese and Latin) found in the little chapel of Nazareth: The story of Don Fuas Roupinho. The story says that Dom Fuas Roupinho was a brave knight who was hunting on a day of intense fog and found a great doe. The doe ran as fast as the horse. In pursuit, Don Fuas arrived at a place (where the hermitage is located) where the horse stuck its paws. The legend says that the doe was the devil and wanted to take Don Fuas to hell. When Don Fuas realized that he was about to fall on a cliff he said: “Holy Mary! The saint made the horse staked, thus saving the life of Don Fuas who almost plunged into the depths of the Atlantic which were also the depths of Hell.

The Hermitage of Nazareth (or chapel of memory)

Suberco Viewpoint

At 110 meters high, we find a magnificent belvedere with a stunning view of the ocean. It is a privileged place for fishing lovers, a place where some challenge the sea that sometimes is furious.  

Miradouro do Suberco - Nazaré Portugal

St Michael the Archangel Fort

It’s located on a cliff by the North Beach. This fort was built to protect the village from North African pirates (Algeria and Morocco). The fort was built by Dom Sebastião in 1577 and has been rebuilt by order of João IV, corresponding to the beginning of the expansion of fishing in the village. The fort is located in a viewpoint not to be missed with a panoramic view of the village, Praia do Salgado (to the east) and Praia do Norte (to the west of the fort).

St Michael the Archangel Fort

PEDERNEIRA

On the opposite side of Nazaré we find Pederneira (original name of the current village of Nazaré). Pederneira was one of the most important shipyards during the XII and XIV centuries.

pederneira porth nazare portugal

But the Pederneira is also a 140 million-year-old geological monument. It is a tree that petrified having been found by ancient peoples who gave it a magical sense. It even tells me that it was the stone that gave the town its name since the ancient name of Nazareth was precisely a flint. The monument is located in front of the old town hall.

pederneira nazaré portugal

Shrine of Our Lady of Nazareth

It is located in the main square at Sítio da Nazaré. Dedicated to the patron saint of the village, the Saint of Nazaré will have appeared on September 8th. Every year a great feast is organized dedicated to the patron saint of the village.

Saint Anthony’s Chapel

Located on Avenida da República da Nazaré, the chapel faces the sea. It was built with funding from fishermen who donated 1% of their profits to this religious monument.

Saint Anthony's chapel

Covered with tiles, its blue façade includes a panel with the image of Saint Anthony. The interior of the chapel is composed of a single nave and the main chapel also has the image of the aforementioned saint.

Natural cave of the orca oven

It is located next to the North beach and witnesses the geological history of the village of Nazaré. The cave is inside a limestone structure and reflects the erosion caused by the passage of time. During low tide, the cave is far from the water and can be visited easily. However, when the tide is high and the sea is strong, the waves enter the cave.

Natural cave of the orca oven nazare portugal

Fisherman’s Museum House

This place was created by a lover of Nazaré traditions and opened its doors in 1999. It has recently been restored and can be visited in the centre of Nazaré. The interior and exterior of the fisherman’s house replicate a fisherman’s house from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. All the furniture, appliances and canvases are allusive to this historical interval.

Fisherman's Museum House nazare portugal

Nazareth elevator

Along with the tidal waves, it’s the town’s big point of interest. The lift connects the low zone with the site (the highest zone in Nazaré). The trip takes about 15 minutes and the short one is little more than symbolic.

Nazareth elevator portugal

Visigothic Church

It was thought that there were no Visigothic monuments to the south of Portugal, but near Nazaré it is possible to visit a Visigothic church.

Visigothic Church nazare portugal

But let us not forget other monuments that are also worth a visit: the pillory, the mother church of our Lady of the Sands (XVI century) and the church of mercy (XVII century).

VIRTUAL TRAVEL TO VILA IN NAZARÉ (4k aerial view)

WHEN TO VISIT NAZARÉ?

There are several reasons of attraction in Nazareth. If you want to enjoy the sun and the beach, then the summer months are the ideal option.

If you want to admire the incredible giant waves, you are more likely to find them between November and February. However, you should keep an eye out for the weather because the sea is not always furious in this old fishing village.

WHERE CAN I GET THE BEST VIEWS FROM?

The place of Nazaré (the name is precisely this, place of Nazaré) is the place from where you can admire on your left the village and its beach and on your right, you can see the North beach, a beach forbidden to bathers by the strength and danger of its sea.

nazare viewpoint portugal

I WANT TO STAY IN THE MOST FANTASTIC PLACES. WHICH HOTEL SHOULD I CHOOSE?

1- Beach Hotel (4 stars)

2- Hotel Mira-mar south (4 stars)

3-Mira-Mar Hotel & Spa

I WANT TO STAY FOR A GOOD PRICE AND IN A GOOD AREA. WHAT TO CHOOSE?

The town of Nazareth has a huge offer and has options for every pocket.

1-Hotel Ancora Mar (2 stars. Rating: 8.3/10)

2- Ocean Hotel (2 stars. Rating: 8.2/10)

I DON’T JUST WANT TO VISIT, I WANT TO FEEL THE SOUL OF THE PLACE. WHAT SHOULD I EXPERIENCE?

Visiting the market of Nazaré is mandatory in order to feel the soul of Nazaré and to buy vegetables, fruits and the fresh fish that so well characterizes the region. It is one of the most representative places in Nazaré. At the municipal market, you will hear the local trading sessions sung by the 7-skirt poles. The trading sessions are a way of attracting the attention of customers and the curious of the market.

To feel the soul of Nazaré you must also wander its small streets. Walk into a café and listen to the locals talking. Let time run by and talk a little with the locals. Ask what it’s like to live there, show curiosity for the history and evolution of the place. Ask how you live in this area of the country. Listen and talk.

nazare market portugal

I LIKE TO ENJOY THE EVENING. WHAT SHOULD I VISIT?

NBAR – Good for drinking a free vat and listening to covers. Easy parking.

BLÁ-BLÁ – Small and cosy bar with good music and community spirit.

INN-BAR : Fast service, good variety of food and drink. View to the beach.

I REALLY LIKE THE BEACH. WHERE CAN I STRETCH OUT IN THE SUN WHEN I VISIT?

Praia da Nazaré

Praia com um grande areal. Boa para passear à beira-mar e boa para nadar (caso o mar não se encontre muito agitado). Muito popular entre os amantes do surf.

nazare beach portugal

North Beach

it’s the famous beach next to Nazaré’s cannon. Famous for the formation of giant waves. It is a beach with a lot of wind, a very violent and dangerous sea. It is ideal for EXPERIENTS of bodyboarding, surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing.

north beach nazare portugal

Areeira beach

A magnificent beach very close to Nazaré. Far from services and practically deserted. At the back of the beach there is a pine forest perfect for a good walk.

Areeira beach nazare portugal
Praia da Areeira, concelho da Nazaré, Portugal

South Beach

It’s an almost private beach. Access through the port of Nazaré. Beach without surveillance and with a dangerous sea. Great sandy beach. A good alternative for those who do not like crowds.

South Beach nazare portugal

WHAT TO EAT IN NAZARE?

eating in nazare portugal

VISIT NAZARÉ- WHERE TO EAT?

Localizada junto ao mar, a vila da Nazaré oferece opções gastronómicas baseadas sobretudo em produtos frescos provenientes do oceano Atlântico.

Restaurante Sacramento do Chiado.

EVENTS

You can check the upcoming events in NazarÉ here: http://www.cm-nazare.pt/pt/agenda

CONCISE HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE INAZARÉ

Until 1912 this municipality was called Pederneira and was changed by law to Nazareth. Pederneira is today one of the districts of the town of Nazaré there we can find several old buildings such as the Town Hall, the Pelourinho, the main church and the church of mercy.

During the 20th century, Nazaré ceased to be a fishing village and became a village dedicated to tourism. This transformation was particularly accentuated in the last 6 years, particularly in the winter months, as a consequence of the giant waves made known by the American surfer Garret Macnamara.

Tourism is today a very important source of employment for the people of the village.

THE TRADITIONAL 7 WOMEN’S SKIRTS IN NAZARÉ

It is a Nazarene tradition for the women of Nazareth to wear the seven skirts. There is no explanation that brings together the consensus among historians but the idea that it is related to the sea and to work is accepted. When Nazareth was a fishing village, the women were in the habit of waiting for their husbands sitting on the sand on Nazareth beach. So they had the function of covering and protecting the whole body. The top skirts protected the head and shoulders and the bottom salts covered the legs.

THE TRADITIONAL 7 WOMEN'S SKIRTS IN NAZARÉ portugal

FAMOUS PERSONALITIES RELATED TO NAZARETH

Emilío peixe: former football player and current coach of the Portuguese national teams.

Garret Mcnamara: North American surfer who became famous for surfing the biggest wave ever on the North Beach.

NAZARÉ IN OLD PHOTOGRAPHS