Nazare Beach Travel Guide

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Tourism Nazare

NAZARE BEACH

WHY GO NOW

Dive into a traditional fishing village rich in one-of-a-kind traditions and the world’s biggest waves.

The area known as Praia da Nazare established its self in the 18th century after the threaten of pirates all but disappeared.

Now a top European beach destination and world-class surf spot, visitors to this region will be rewarded with authentic Portuguese culture, fresh local foods, and sunsets that slink into the Atlantic ocean.

Public art takes shape in outdoor exhibits such as the dried fish museum, the Arte Xavega boat exposition, the Mae Nazarena statue, and murals painted by residents are at the forefront in displaying this region’s maritime history.

Nazare has an extraordinary beauty, and its residents, all the more happy to share it with those that venture this way.

KNOW IT

Nazare is the town of legends, and its most famous story goes something like this.

There once was a knight of the King’s guard hunting in the countryside of Nazare. 

At the sight of a worthy victim, a deer, the horse of the gallant Dom Fuas Roupinho, began an uncontrollable pursuit.

Familiar with the terrain, the Knight knew that his stallion was leading him to an inevitable death over the cliffs. 

Desperate for salvation, Dom Fuas called out to our Nossa Senhor da Nazare as a last-ditch effort.

It is said that the Virgin Mary appeared. At the awesome sight of her apparition, the unruly horse came to an abrupt stop with so much force that its hoof is forever fixed into the rocks at the Miradouro do Suberco just inches away from the edge.

It was then that the Knight realized something. The deer wasn’t a deer, after all, it was in fact, the devil in disguise.

Look for the infamous hoof print at the Miradouro do Suberco.

FOOD

EAT IT

DRIED FISH

In the fresh fish section, on the top level overlooking the Mercado Municipal da Nazare, you will find the stall of Maria da Nazare, a dried fish vendor since 1928.

Here, the 300-year-old practice of curing fish is elevated by the mother and daughter team of Isaura & Ines and is an authentic gastronomic Portuguese experience for fish lovers.

The fish, typically hake or horse mackerel, is marinated in olive oil, garlic, and herbs and ready for the picking pica pau style.

Typically opened Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 12 PM inside the Farmer’s Market of Nazare. Cost per dried fish, depending on the type of fish, ranges from $1 to $3. 

BOLA DE BERLIM

For a sweet treat, keep an eye out for Bola de Berlim or a Portuguese Donut. 

Also known as a Berliner, the donut has all the characteristics of a North American donut, minus the whole. The dough is deep-fried then lightly rolled around in sugar before it is sliced open in half and filled with a custard creme. 

Stick with the traditional custard flavor or challenge your taste buds with Dulce de Leche (milk-caramel) or Frutas Vermelhas (mixed berries). Average cost per donut $1.50. 

Visit the Bolas Da Nazare pastry shop on the main promenade here.

SNAILS

The season for snails caracois is a short but bountiful one typically peaking in summer around June.

While at first sight, the critters may offend a nervous palate, those foodies adventurous enough will be delighted by an earthy flavored broth in contrast to the French’s cousin profile of a rich garlic & butter sauce.

Served best with a nice cold imperial – a Portuguese draft beer of either Sagres or Super Bock.

Visit Cafe Avenida for a low-key and authentic serving of snails. One plate, easily shared by two people or a group of four, costs around $8.

DRINK IT

PORTUGUESE ORANGE JUICE

It is quite possible that if you haven’t noticed a fresh orange juice press vendor on your travels through Portugal, then you haven’t been paying close enough attention.

Before the Age of Discovery, oranges in Europe were said to be bitter and only useful enough for making marmalades.

But that all changed when Portuguese Navigators began importing trees from India and China upon their return.

Portuguese oranges were rumored to be so sweet that King Louis the 14th of France, demanded his own Orangerie.

In the summer months, keep an eye out for the orange juice stand (hint, the stand is in the shape of an orange) in the Praca do Largo Sitio. Two delicious oranges fill one small cup and retails for $1.50.

SLEEP

NEW

MAGIC ART HOTEL

In the creative Magic-Art Hotel, guests can select from a catalog of 17 individually themed rooms inspired by the regional traditions and culture of Nazare.

Double Room 102 features the women of Nazare Beach and the sete saias dress, while Double Room 104 with a view of the Sitio showcases the noteworthy style of trawl fishing known as Arte Xavega.

The Hotel Magic closes between November till approximately mid-April most years. Visit their website for more details.  

Average cost per night in April, $70 for a double room.

TRENDY

MAR BRAVO

Built to impress in pure white, the Hotel Mar Bravo, with its privileged corner location in the Praca Sousa Oliveira off the Avenida Principal in Nazare Beach, is a favorite of visitors since 2017. 

A breakfast buffet is offered daily in the hotel’s restaurant with wrap-around windows and an impressive ocean view.

Average cost per night, $125 for a double room in October. Open all year. 

BEST VIEW

STUNNING VIEW OVER THE ATLANTIC

This appropriately named alojamento local apartment found in the Sitio is steps away from the iconic ascensor and overlooks the beach of Nazare. 

Ideal for a couple, the decoration is simple but the vista, anything but.

Bookable only on the Airbnb platform, this accommodation is rarely available during peak season and worth confirming ahead.

SEE

EXTERIOR FACADE

TEATRO CHABY PINHEIRO

When the roaring twenties were in full swing, Nazare completed its construction of the Chaby Pinheiro Theatre, an ode to Milan’s La Scala and a passion project of Ernesto Korrodi.

But it wasn’t until the Portuguese Theatre Group Chabby Pineriho inaugurated the playhouse on February 5th, 1926 that the Teatro grew to notoriety.

Now standing in blush pink rather than its original dull-white, a menacing clown gargoyle with trumpets greets guests just above the entryway. 

It is uncommon to find the doors open but to skip this obscure building would be regretful for architectural lovers.

HISTORICAL

CHAPEL OF MEMORY NAZARE

The Memory Hermitage of Nazare was a gift to the town by an ever thankful Dom Fuas for his salvation.

But the Chapel sits on an even more curious legend than that of the Knight and his hunting escapade.

A rumor has it that the enclosed cave at the end of the descending staircase to the right of the altar once guarded the secret hiding place of a valuable artifact.

A statue, carved in wood by St Joseph of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding an infant Jesus brought to the region by the Visigoths who occupied the area in the 6th century.

CULTURE

DR. JOAQUIM MANSO MUSEUM

Away from the main square in the neighborhood of the Sitio and down the road from the Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré is the Dr. Joaquim Manso Museum.  

The site, the summer home of the Portuguese Journalist Joaquim Manso was converted into a museum and place of cultural interest in 1976 and remains mainly untouched since then.

Exhibits date back to prehistoric times and showcase the ongoing love story between the town and the sea through artifacts, sculptures, and textiles.

Looking for more? Check out tours and other things to do in Nazare.

ACTIVE EXPERIENCE

LADEIRA DO SITIO

Before the introduction of the ascensor 130 years ago on July 28th, 1889, residents of the hillside neighborhood of the Sitio embraced the inevitable climb up the ladeira as a means to an end to reach home.

The 173 steps rise against the cliffside approximately 1100 feet (318 meters) and connect Praia da Nazare to the world-famous Praia do Norte Lighthouse and other notable attractions.

Looking for an easy to moderate climb? Test your calf muscles on Escadaria da Pedralva instead.

Looking for an even more strenuous walk than the two above? Hike up the famous Monte Sao Bras hill to the watchtower for a 360° view 511 feet above Nazare.

Read more about The Best and Easy to do Walks of Nazare Portugal here.

When is your trip to Nazare Beach? Let us know and how we can help. We love hearing from you!

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