Nazare has become internationally famous for its giant waves, but it has many other attractions that make it a must-visit for anyone visiting the west of Portugal.
The giant waves located only on the North beach are Nazare’s main attraction. Despite the huge interest in visiting the city of Nazare to appreciate surfers looking for the biggest wave in the world, Nazare has many other points of interest.
Nazaré is located on West region, next to the Leira at north and Alcobaça or Caldas da Rainha at south. It is located about 120km from Lisbon.
Nazare at was a fishing village where the figure of the seven-skirted women, the colourful boats and the dried fish is well known. The lower part of Nazare is located very close to the large beach of fine and golden sand. It was an area of modest houses lined up on streets perpendicular to the sea, which over the past few years have been replaced by the type of urbanization that now exists. In this area, the most interesting will be the Nazare beach, a walk along to the huge promenade overlooking the sea and the bright colours of the characteristic rental tents between Nazare Port and the Ladeira, also know as Sítio da Nazare.
By the morning, visit the Municipal Market of Nazare to experience the true culture of Nazare and its fishermen. Finally, use the elevator and go up to the Sítio da Nazare.
The Sítio da Nazare
The Sítio da Nazare is mandatory point to visit in Nazare. This place is located on top of the steep cliff and is also a viewpoint overlooking the sea and the city of Nazare. It is a place of legends and veneration and also the ideal place to observe the North beach.
To climb to the Sítio da Nazare, starting from the centre of Nazaré, you can use the funicular, but also the old path with steps. This one, demanding, will be a great experience, not least because in the end, you’ll find the Ladeira Swing, an ideal place for photographs that will make your social networks vibrate!
The Suberco Viewpoint on the main square of the sítio is without a doubt the best viewpoint for observing the whole of Nazare and its beach formed in a half-moon shape. It is also the place where you can see some Nazarenes with their typical clothes.
The Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré is another icon of the Sítio. It is a beautifully located sanctuary that deserves an attentive visit to its interior, where a panel of tiles stands out.
From Sítio da Nazare, you can walk towards the lighthouse or also known as São Miguel Arcanjo Fort, a place made famous by the photographs and videos of the giant waves from the North Beach.
The Giant Waves
The giant waves formed at North Beach are a natural phenomenon formed by the Nazare underwater canyon. This was about 5km of maximum depth and made the Nazare famous worldwide, in January 2013, the surfer Macnamara broke the record thereby surfing a wave of about 30 meters in height. Since then, tourism in Nazare has undergone a profound remodelling and is now directed towards surfing and essentially towards the practice of giant wave surfing.
The best time of year to visit Nazare and observe the giant waves will be during the winter, however, it is necessary that the sea and wind conditions are the most suitable.
Even when there are no giant waves, the northern beach is frequented by surfers as the swell here is usually higher than that registered in neighbouring beaches.
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Nazaré can be visited at any time of the year and what will vary will be the objectives of the visit.
- If you visit in the summer months you can enjoy the excellent beaches. However, it should be noted that the water on these shores is generally cooler;
- In the winter months, you are more likely to be able to observe the giant waves.
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