Nazaré was formerly a fishing village, located in the West of Lisbon. Nowadays it is a tourist destination for the beach, and one of the most famous giant wave surf spots in the world!

Nazaré was formerly a fishing village, located in the West of Lisbon. Nowadays it is a tourist destination for the beach, and one of the most famous giant wave surf spots in the world!

Nazaré

Nazaré is an old fishing village in the district of Leiria, located in the West region of Lisbon. Nazaré has become famous in recent years due to the biggest waves in the world surfed on Praia do Norte, over 35 meters high. It is in Nazaré that the Big Wave Nazaré Challenge takes place – one of the stages of the World Surfing Championship. It is a village with characteristics of narrow and winding streets, with Praia da Nazaré highly sought after by families in the summer season, with the funicular from Nazaré, by Sítio da Nazaré, and with a gastronomy rich in fresh fish, seafood and fish.
The village of Nazaré is very popular during the summer with beach tourism, and in the winter it is sought after by a new community of big wave surfers who set up to train and compete on the giant waves. It is common for Nazarenas, known for their typical seven-skirt trages, to advertise rooms to rent posters in their hands, to attract tourists to traditional accommodation in rooms of old fishermen’s houses, which have since been converted into local accommodation. Most of the accommodations are located in the sub-village, close to Praia da Nazaré.
One of the great highlights of Nazaré is the coastal avenue, where we will find the traditional fish stretched on hammocks drying in the sun, people strolling in the summer months, dozens of street artists, souvenir shops, restaurants, and several street vendors with snacks and seafood.

Handcrafted bonacas representing the Nazarenas, known for their typical seven-skirt costumes

Handcrafted bonacas representing the Nazarenas, known for their typical seven-skirt costumes

The municipality of Nazaré, is close to Fátima, Alcobaça, Batalha, Tomar and Óbidos, has approximately 15 thousand inhabitants and is administratively organized in three parishes:

  • Famalicão
  • Nazaré
  • Valado dos Frades

Nazaré is an increasingly popular place for holidays due to the friendliness of the Nazarenes and Nazarenes, the gastronomy, the surf, the genuineness of the village and security.

Attractions to visit in Nazaré (top 10)

Praia da Nazaré, located in the lower part of the village of Nazaré, with a coastal avenue and an extensive sandy beach with a magnificent landscape of the Atlantic Ocean

Praia da Nazaré, located in the lower part of the village of Nazaré, with a coastal avenue and an extensive sandy beach with a magnificent landscape of the Atlantic Ocean

1. Praia da Nazaré: it is the best known beach in the village, it is in front of the sub-village. It is the place chosen by families during the summer, the time of year when it is possible to see the typical blue and white striped cloth tents. With an extensive beach, Praia da Nazaré stretches along the coast to Porto de Abrigo.

2. Sítio da Nazaré: the Sítio da Nazaré, located at the highest point of the village of Nazaré, stands out for the magnificent view of the landscape over the village and the beach of Nazaré that we can get from Miradouro do Suberco located at an altitude of 110 meters.

Nazaré Lighthouse, with the São Miguel Arcanjo Fort and the giant waves of the northern beach

Nazaré Lighthouse, with the São Miguel Arcanjo Fort and the giant waves of the northern beach

 

3. Praia do Norte: it is one of the best known beaches in Nazaré due to the giant waves. It is one of the most popular places for surfing and sport fishing. Next to Praia do Norte is the Gruta do Forno da Orca, a natural cave created by erosion and which can be visited during low tide, the Duna da Aguieira, considered the largest consolidated dune in Europe, and the Norpark Water Park, which it offers several swimming pools for adults and children, jacuzzis with temperatures around 30ºC, a bar with a terrace and a football field.

4. Monte Branco viewpoint: the Monte Branco viewpoint is located in Jardim da Pedralva and stands out for the landscape it offers over the oldest area of ​​Nazaré.

5. Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré: The Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré began to be built in the 14th century, after the visit of King Dom Fernando. The Sanctuary was being improved during the reigns of Dom João I, Dom Manuel I and Filipe II. The Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré was completed in 1691, being one of the most important sanctuaries in Portugal until the 19th century.
The main points of interest of the Sanctuary are:

  • 6568 tiles by Dutch designer Williem van der Klöet, which tell part of the story of Jonas, José and David, the most important set of Dutch ceramics in Portugal;
  • The painting dedicated to the legend of the appearance of Dom Fuas Roupinho, of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré.

6. São Miguel Arcanjo Fort: built in 1577 with the aim of protecting Nazaré from attacks by Dutch, Algerian, Moroccan and Norman pirates. In 1644 it was improved and resisted the French Invasions. Napoleon’s troops were forced to take shelter here due to the revolt that would eventually expel the invaders that took place in Pederneira and “Sítio da Nazaré”. Near the São Miguel Arcanjo Fort there is a lighthouse built in 1903 and the viewpoint of Barbaçã.

Elevador da Nazaré, access from Nazaré access to "Sítio da Nazaré" and the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré

Elevador da Nazaré, access from Nazaré access to “Sítio da Nazaré” and the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré

7. Funicular or Elevador da Nazaré: the Nazaré Elevator was built with the aim of facilitating access to the “Sítio da Nazaré” and to the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré. The funicular was inaugurated on July 28, 1889, by the French engineer Raul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Eiffel, responsible for most of the funiculars built in Lisbon. The Nazaré Elevator covers a distance of 318 meters in fifteen minutes, with a slope of 42%. It currently carries around one million passengers a year.

8. Marginal da Nazaré: the Marginal da Nazaré runs along the entire beach of Praia da Nazaré. Along the tour, it is possible to see numerous souvenir shops, craft stores, restaurants, ice cream parlors, a craft fair, horse mackerel and sardines to dry in the sun on hammocks (known as drying racks or paneiros), traditional fishing boats and thousands of people walking. A must for anyone visiting Nazaré.

9. Ermida da Memória: according to the legend of the foundation of Nazaré, the Ermida da Memória was built by Dom Fuas Roupinho after the miracle of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré. Over the centuries, it underwent several changes, namely during the reigns of Dom Fernando in the 14th century and of Philip IV in the 17th century. The Ermida da Memória, although small, is a popular place in the region. The main highlights are the Royal Shield; the 18th century tiles by Mestre António Oliveira Bernardes; and the image of Nossa Senhora da Conceição.

10. Royal Palace: built in 1718 by Dom Nuno Álvares Pereira de Mello, administrator of the Royal House of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, with the aim of accommodating the Royal Family when making the pilgrimage to Nazaré. The main highlights are the records of Dom João VI’s visits; and the large balustrade balcony.

The Beaches of Nazaré

  • Praia da Nazaré (already described above)
  • Praia do Norte: a place known for the giant waves and for being where the Big Wave Nazaré Challenge takes place, one of the stages of the World Surf League. Giant waves are frequent in Praia do Norte during autumn and winter due to a very rare geomorphological accident known as Canhão da Nazaré. Cannon da Nazaré is the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world, with a fault in the continental plate of 170 kilometers long and five kilometers deep. It is due to the Canhão da Nazaré that the energy of the waves created in the Atlantic Ocean converge until reaching the coast at Praia do Norte. It is a beach much sought after by the best big wave surfers in the world, namely Garrett McNamara, Kai Lenny, Lucas “Chumbinho”, Andrew Cotton, Justine Dupont, Nic Von Rupp and Sebastian Steudtner, Portuguese Alexandre Botelho, and many others …
  • Praia do Sul: it is known for its tube-shaped wave that can reach up to three meters in height. It is a beach much sought after by bodyboarders
  • Praia do Salgado is located between the Serra da Pescaria to the north and the Serra dos Mangues to the south.

Curiosities about Nazaré

  • Nazaré is the stage for world records of surfing on giant waves in Praia do Norte;
  • The village of 15 thousand inhabitants is, according to the New York Times, the new Mecca of the most risky aspect of surfing;
  • Surfing had an economic impact in Nazaré of 10.4 million euros between 2011 and 2014;
  • The São Miguel Arcanjo Fort has over 150 thousand tourists per year, 174 thousand of whom in 2017, since it was reopened in 2015;
  • Nazaré is part of the World Surf League: the world wide wave circuit, the Nazaré Challenge, was the third international competition with more social interactions and views in 2017, behind the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) );
  • Nazaré’s big waves have been studied for over twenty years. The origin of the waves of this dimension is due to the well-known Canhão da Nazaré, a fault in the continental plate approximately 170 kilometers long and 5 kilometers deep;
  • Garrett McNamara surfed the first giant wave in Nazaré with 23.77 meters on November 1, 2011

Quick Facts about Nazaré

  • Population: 15158 inhabitants
  • The main economic activities are fishing, tourism and horticulture;
  • Nazaré is the holder of the Quality Coast award given by the European Commission and considered the largest independent international certification program for tourist-friendly destinations;
  • Nazaré’s handicraft is one of the richest in Portugal, with emphasis on the seven skirts of the Nazarenes, folklore, dried fish, typical dolls and regional fishing boats;
  • Nazaré is located in the western region, a very rich region. Near the fishing Nazaré are the towns of Alcobaça, Batalha, Óbidos, Peniche, Fátima, Leiria and Caldas da Rainha.

Map of parishes in the municipality of Nazaré

The municipality of Nazaré, is close to Fátima, Alcobaça, Batalha, Tomar and Óbidos, has approximately 15 thousand inhabitants and is administratively organized in three parishes:

  • Famalicão
  • Nazaré
  • Valado dos Frades
Map of parishes in the municipality of Nazaré

Map of parishes in the municipality of Nazaré

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