A coastal and fishing village famous throughout the world seems too short a description for the Nazarethbut this is the perfect base to talk about one of the most beautiful corners of Portugal??
It is true that, many times, Nazaré is only talked about for the records set by surfers, who often face absolutely monstrous waves in Praia do Norte. And that ends up catapulting the village to fame and that doesn’t hurt. After all, it is a way for the world to get to know what is considered by many to be the most typical beach in Portugal, which enchants any visitor for its natural beauty.
This is combined with a friendly, affable and hospitable population. It is therefore not surprising that it is sought after by so many, whether tourists, surfers or even painters and artists, who see Nazaré as the perfect setting for works of art.
As a fishing village, there is another factor that contributes to its charm: the quality of the gastronomy, marked by fresh fish and seafood. After all, Nazaré is also a true summer resort full of color – not just the golden sun and blue sea, but also the parasols that occupy the beach.
Praia da Nazaré: fishing, surfing and adventure
This half-moon-shaped cove with long sand is one of the most attractive spots in Nazaré, famous for its bright colors, white sand, deep blue water and, of course, the waves that command respect – both for surfers who see them as a challenge, both for the fishermen, who must overcome them, day after day, to go in search of the day’s sustenance.
Every day, we come across the fishmongers, who still wear their seven skirts – as tradition dictates –, and who proclaim slogans that arouse our attention.
This supposed harmony was once altered. More precisely in 2011, when the world surfing legend, Garrett McNamara, surfed an overwhelming 30-meter wave – the largest in the world. And all eyes were opened to pay attention to this little Portuguese corner.
In Nazaré there is a cannon…
The giant waves of Praia do Norte, which travel the world every year, have a reason for existing: the Nazaré Canyon. It is an intriguing geological phenomenon five thousand meters deep and 230 km long, of unknown origin, which produces some of the most (un)surfable waves in the world, especially from November to February.
Hence, currently, Nazaré is a world-renowned surfing destination, sought after by many, but dominated by few.
The presence of the cannon creates unique and special conditions for the formation of big waves. The phenomenon divides the wave in two, increases the speed and makes them reunite later, in a kind of book that opens and closes and wants to keep all the moments for itself.
What to visit in Nazare
Until the 18th century, the sea covered the entire village of present-day Nazaré and residents lived on top of the cliff, more than 100 meters above the beach level. Hundreds of years later, the village is bigger and has a different configuration, which made the promontory stop being a place of habitation and become a place of pilgrimage, full of tourists who seek it out for the incredible views.
Miradouro do Sítio
When leaving the funicular that takes you to the Sítio Promontório, on the left side you will find the Sítio Viewpoint, which is the ideal point to have an excellent aerial view of Nazaré and its vast sandy beach.
lighthouse of Nazaré
This picturesque lighthouse is located in Fort São Miguel Arcanjo and is a lovely place to visit, especially at the end of the day, when the sun is setting.
Church of Our Lady of Nazareth
This 17th-century baroque church owes its beauty to the fact that it is decorated with beautiful Dutch tiles. It is located on the Sítio Promontory and houses the highly venerated sculpture of the Virgin, which, legend has it, was built by José himself, when Jesus was a baby – which gave rise to the name of the city.
Where to eat in Nazaré: 3 restaurants to visit
If you like grilled sardines, then this is one of the best restaurants to taste this true delight! Even if you don’t like sardines or it’s not the season, know that there are always other maritime options to try and always ask for more. the fame of Casa Pires is due to its vast experience: open to the public since 1930, Casa Pires is not a large restaurant, which allows it to maintain the quality and personalized service that so well characterize the space.
O besieged is a modern tavern that offers high quality classic tapas, as well as a menu full of Portuguese surprises that will be just what you need to end a day in style. Sauteed ham with fried eggs, meat with coriander, cooked chicken gizzards, black pudding with caramelized onions… Have we whet your appetite?
the lantern It is a very welcoming restaurant, with comfortable decor and low ceilings, specializing in cataplana. An incredible space for meals with family or friends and which would show how life, when well spent, is really good to live.
Where to sleep in Nazaré
Although we suggest three hotels for your stay, be aware that there are often local women in town, with signs of rooms for rent. And then prices can be negotiated, which, in high seasons, can come in handy.
Miramar Hotel & Spa
Located just a 10-minute walk from the beach, the Miramar Hotel & Spa is located in a privileged location overlooking the sea and the entire village and is an excellent option when visiting this location. It also has a restaurant, Mar Aberto, where you can taste both the flavors of international cuisine and a variety of Portuguese delicacies.
Located in the center of the village of Nazaré and featuring a modern and relaxed atmosphere with an exclusive design, Hotel Praia offers all guests the ideal conditions for an unforgettable stay. Best of all, it’s just two minutes from the beach and offers a relaxed, contemporary and design atmosphere.
Miramar Sul Hotel
The Hotel Miramar Sul is a little further away from the center of Nazaré, located on top of a hill, as if offering a lookout point and appreciation of the entire region. It has spacious and bright spaces and allows you to enjoy the peaceful environment provided by the green area of Pinhal de Leiria.