Tourism

Is Nazaré Worth Visiting? A Comprehensive Guide to Must-See Places

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 7 min read

Yes, Nazaré is worth visiting for magnificent beaches, world-class surfing, rich cultural heritage,  scenic cliff views and delicious seafood. The massive waves at Praia do Norte attract professional surfers and thrill-seekers, making it an ideal destination for those passionate about conquering the waves. Those who like to visit historical places can wander through the charming streets and explore the traditions of this quaint fishing village for an enriching cultural experience. Seafood lovers can savor the freshest catches in Nazare. In summary, whether you seek adventure, cultural exploration, or simply a relaxing beach getaway, Nazare caters to a diverse range of interests, making it a destination worth considering for your next travel experience.

What are the Best Places in Nazare that Make it Worth Visiting

Best places in Nazare that makes it worth visiting are Praia de Nazaré, Sítio da Nazaré, Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo, Praia do Norte (North Beach), Mercado Municipal de Nazaré, Monte de São Bartolomeu and Cultural Spaces and Museums. More details of these places that makes Nazare worth visiting are given below. 

Praia de Nazaré (Nazaré Beach)

The heart and soul of the town, this expansive beach is famous for its golden sands and azure waters. It's a perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying vibrant local culture. The lively promenade, traditional fishing boats, and local seafood restaurant are the highlights of this beach. 

Sítio da Nazaré

Perched atop a cliff, this historic neighborhood offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Accessible by a funicular, it's a window into the town's rich history.

Main highlights of Sítio da Nazaré are Sanctuary and the legendary Miradouro do Suberco viewpoint.

Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo

A fortress-turned-museum, it's located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Nazaré North Beach, known for its world record back-breaking surf and huge waves there. It is known for surfing memorabilia, Nazare lighthouse, and stunning views of the giant waves.

Mercado Municipal de Nazaré

A bustling local market where you can experience the town's vibrant culture and indulge in fresh local produce. You can enjoy the fresh fish and seafood, local crafts, and a lively atmosphere.

Monte de São Bartolomeu

Offering some of the best deals most breathtaking views of Nazaré, this hill is ideal for hikers and nature lovers. Here you can experience natural trails, panoramic views, and a serene environment.

Cultural Spaces and Museums

Nazaré's cultural spots, like the Dr. Joaquim Manso Museum, provides insight into the local history and traditions.

Local Gastronomy

The town is a culinary delight, especially known for its seafood. The main highlights are local dishes like Caldeirada (fish stew) and grilled sardines.

Best Nazare Beaches To Visit 

The best Nazaré beaches are Praia de Nazaré (Nazaré Beach), Praia do Sul, Praia do Norte, Praia das Paredes, Praia do Salgado mand and Praia da Légua. Here is the detailed guide on these popular beaches that are the main attractions to visit nazaré.

Praia de Nazaré (Nazaré Beach)

The most famous beach in Nazaré, known for its wide stretch of golden sand and lively atmosphere. It's the heart of the town, bustling with activity year-round.

Highlights: Ideal for families, sunbathers, and swimmers. The promenade lined with cafes and shops adds to its charm.

Praia do Norte (North Beach)

A global surfing hotspot, renowned for the gigantic waves that attract surfers from around the world. It's less crowded and offers a more raw, natural beach experience.

Praia do Sul (South Beach)

A quieter alternative to the main Nazaré Beach, it's perfect for those seeking a more tranquil beach experience.

Praia das Paredes

Located to the north of Nazaré, this beach is known for its scenic cliffs and peaceful environment. It’s a bit more secluded, offering a different kind of beach experience.

Praia do Salgado

Situated between Nazaré and São Martinho do Porto, this beach is known for its stunning natural landscapes and unspoiled beauty.

Praia da Légua

A bit further from the center of Nazaré, this beach offers a more secluded and intimate beach experience. Its remote location makes it less crowded, perfect for a peaceful day by the sea.

What are the Main Attractions at Nazare Beach? 

The main attractions at Nazare beaches are stunning beachfront, surfing and water sports,  traditional fishing culture, local cuisine and seafood, cultural events and festivities. Here are more details about these main attractions of Nazare beach. 

Stunning Beachfront

A vast expanse of golden sand meets the blue waters of the Atlantic, offering a picturesque setting for beach activities.

Surfing and Water Sports

Nazaré is a global surfing hotspot, especially known for its gigantic waves that attract surfers worldwide. In the evening you can also visit Nazare narrow streets to enjoy delicious food.

Traditional Fishing Culture

Nazaré retains a strong connection to its fishing heritage, visible in the traditional fishing boats and gear dotted along the beach.

Local Cuisine and Seafood

The beach area is surrounded by numerous restaurants and cafes serving fresh seafood and local delicacies.

Vibrant Promenade (Avenida Marginal)

A lively promenade runs along the beach, bustling with activity and lined with shops, cafes, and souvenir stands.

Miradouro do Suberco

A breathtaking viewpoint located on the cliffs of Sítio, overlooking Nazaré Beach.

It offers panoramic views of the entire beach and is a fantastic spot for photography.

Cultural Events and Festivities

Nazaré hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, adding to its vibrant character.

Nearby Attractions

Close to Nazaré Beach are other attractions like the Nossa Senhora da Nazaré Sanctuary and the Nazaré Funicular ride.

Gigantic waves, Nazaré Canyon, surfing Competitions, year-round surfing conditions and supportive infrastructure makes Nazare Portugal a popular surfing destination.

How are the Big Waves at Nazare Formed?

The big waves at Nazaré are formed primarily due to the unique underwater geological feature known as the Nazaré Canyon. This submarine canyon, one of the deepest in Europe, stretches approximately 230 kilometers long and reaches depths of up to 5 kilometers. Its unusual shape and depth act like a funnel, channeling and amplifying the Atlantic Ocean swells as they approach the coastline. 

As these swells travel over the canyon, the difference in speed between the wave fronts over the canyon's deeper sections and the shallower areas near the shore causes the waves to dramatically increase in height and power. This effect results in the formation of the exceptionally large and powerful waves that Nazaré is famous for, attracting surfers local fishermen and spectators from around the globe who come to witness these majestic oceanic giants.

Which are Famous Beaches for Big Waves at Nazare?

Famous beaches for big waves at Nazare are Praia do Norte (North Beach), Praia da Vila (Town Beach) and Praia do Sul (South Beach)

What is the Best Time of Year To See Big Waves In Nazare? 

The best time of year to see the big waves in Nazaré is between October and March. During these months, the Atlantic Ocean is more prone to producing the large swells that contribute to the formation of Nazaré's famous giant waves. More details are listed below. 

Peak Season

The very peak for the biggest waves often occurs from November to February. This is high season when the likelihood of witnessing the colossal waves, some reaching up to 100 feet, is at its highest.

Surfing Competitions: This time frame also coincides with various professional surfing competitions, including events on the Big Wave Tour, drawing surfers and spectators from around the world.

Weather Considerations

Visitors should note that while this is the prime time for big waves, it's also the cooler and wetter part of the year in Portugal, which may affect other aspects of their visit.

Surfing Competitions

This time frame also coincides with various professional surfing competitions, including events on the Big Wave Tour, drawing surfers and spectators from around the world.

What are the Best Tours in Nazare?

The best tours in Nazare are big wave surfing tours, cultural and historical tours, boat tours, food and wine tours, walking and hiking tours and photography tours. In Nazaré, a variety of tours are available that cater to different interests, ranging from cultural explorations to thrilling adventures. More details of best Nazaré tours are given below. 

Big Wave Surfing Tours

These tours are a day tour, specialized in providing an up-close experience of the big wave surfing scene at Praia do Norte. They often include guided visits to the best viewpoints and insights into the surfing culture.

Cultural and Historical Tours

These tours explore the rich history and traditions of Nazaré, visiting landmarks like the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré, the Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo, and the traditional fishing districts.

Boat Tours

Offering a different perspective of Nazaré's coastline, these tours can include dolphin watching, sea cave explorations, or just scenic trips along the beautiful coast.

Food and Wine Tours

Highlighting the local cuisine, these tours often involve visiting local markets, tasting traditional dishes, and sometimes include cooking classes to learn how to prepare Portuguese specialties.

Walking and Hiking Tours

For those who enjoy nature and outdoor activities, walking and hiking tours around the Sítio da Nazaré area or along the cliffs offer breathtaking views and a chance to experience the natural beauty of the region.

Photography Tours

Given Nazaré's scenic landscapes and spectacular views, especially during the big wave season, photography tours are popular, guiding enthusiasts to the best spots for capturing stunning images.

Day Trips to Nearby Attractions

Tours that extend beyond Nazaré, visiting nearby attractions like the monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha, or the medieval town of Óbidos, are also quite popular.

What are the Best places to Stay in Nazare, Portugal?

The best places to stay in Nazare, Portugal are Nazaré town center, Sítio da Nazaré, Pederneira, Praia do Norte,  South of Nazaré, Nearby villages and rural areas. More details about why these places are best to stay in Nazare are given below. 

Nazaré Town Center

It is the heart of the town, bustling with activity, close to shops, restaurants, and the main beach (Praia de Nazaré). It is the ideal place for Travelers who want to be in the middle of the action and within walking distance of the beach and attractions.

Sítio da Nazaré

It is located atop a cliff, accessible via a funicular. Offers stunning views and a quieter atmosphere. It is the perfect place for those looking for a more serene setting with easy access to historic sites like the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré.

Pederneira

A more residential area, with back streets offering a glimpse into the daily lives of locals. It's a bit more removed from the tourist center but still within reach. Suitable for visitors seeking an authentic local experience and a quieter stay.

Praia do Norte (North Beach)

It is known for its big waves and surfing culture. More secluded and less crowded than the main beach. It is perfect for surf enthusiasts and those looking for a stay close to nature and away from the main tourist crowds.

South of Nazaré

Areas south of the town center, like Valado dos Frades, offer more tranquil surroundings.

This area is suitable for families and travelers preferring a peaceful environment, still within a short drive from Nazaré’s main attractions.

Recommended Hotels in Nazare, Portugal?

Recommended hotels in Nazare, Portugal are Miramar Hotel & Spa, Hotel Mar Bravo, Hotel Mare, Lab Hostel Nazaré,  Airbnb and Local Rentals, Casa das Ondas. More details of these hotels are listed below. 

Miramar Hotel & Spa

Boasting stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, this hotel offers luxurious amenities including a spa, outdoor pool, and elegant rooms.

Hotel Mar Bravo

Situated right on the main beachfront, this boutique hotel is perfect for those seeking a more intimate and personalized experience.

Hotel Mare

Offers family rooms and easy access to the beach, making it a convenient choice for families.

Lab Hostel Nazaré

A popular choice for budget travelers, offering clean, comfortable, and affordable shared or private rooms.

Airbnb and Local Rentals

Nazaré has a wide range of holiday rental options, from seaside apartments to traditional houses, offering a more local living experience.

What are the Best Ways to Travel from Lisbon to Nazare?

Best ways to travel from Lisbon to Nazare are by car, bus, train, or taxi. More details on these transportation options are listed below 

1. By Car

Duration: Approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

Route: The most common route is via the A8 motorway, which offers a direct and scenic drive.

Advantages: Flexibility to stop along the way, explore the surrounding countryside, and convenience if you plan to visit other places in the region.

Car Rentals: Available at Lisbon Airport and throughout the city.

2. By Bus

Duration: Around 2 to few hours to 2.5 hours.

Service Providers: Companies like Rede Expressos operate regular services from Lisbon's Sete Rios bus station to Nazaré.

Advantages: An affordable and straightforward option. Buses are comfortable and offer a good frequency of services.

3. By Train

Duration: Approximately 3 hours (including transfer).

Route: There's no direct train to Nazaré. You would need to take a train from Lisbon to Valado dos Frades or another nearby station, then a bus or taxi to Nazaré.

Advantages: Scenic route, especially along the coast. Suitable for those who prefer train travel.

4. Private Transfer or Taxi

Duration: Around 1.5 to 2 hours.

Advantages: Direct and private travel. Ideal for those looking for comfort, convenience, or traveling in a group.

Frequently Asked Questions On Is Nazare Worth Visiting?

1. What Makes Nazaré a Popular Tourist Destination?

Answer: Nazaré is famed for its spectacular beaches, particularly Praia do Norte, known for some of the world's largest surfable waves. The town also boasts rich cultural heritage, with traditional fishing customs, vibrant local markets, and historic sites like the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré. Its unique blend of natural beauty, surfing culture, and traditional Portuguese lifestyle makes it a must-visit destination.

2. Are There Activities in Nazaré for Non-Surfers?

Answer: Absolutely! Apart from its famous surfing scene, Nazaré offers a variety of activities for non-surfers. Visitors can enjoy its beautiful beaches, explore the charming old town area, take scenic funicular rides, indulge in delicious local seafood, and participate in cultural events and festivals that showcase the town's rich traditions.

3. What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Nazaré?

Answer: The best time to visit Nazaré depends on your interests. For surfing enthusiasts and those wanting to witness the giant waves, the ideal time is between October and March. For a more typical beach holiday with warmer weather, the summer months from June to September are perfect.

4. Is Nazaré Suitable for Families?

Answer: Yes, Nazaré is very family-friendly. The town offers safe beaches for swimming, family-oriented accommodations, and activities that children will enjoy, such as beach games, the Nazaré Funicular, and the Norpark water park. The welcoming nature of the locals also makes it a comfortable destination for families.

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.