Things to do in Nazare

You will never be without things to do in Nazare, Portugal.

What with a history dating back over 1000 years, there is more than meets the eye to this picturesque fishing village.

Discover one of the oldest churches in Portugal, the Igreja de Sao Giao, or seek out the oldest geological monument, the Pillory of Pederneira

Enrich your knowledge about the town’s heritage and fishing culture or simply marvel at the coastline from the Lighthouse of Nazare.

Either way, Nazare will have you guessing and scratching your head, wondering why you hadn’t heard about this place before. And of course, there’s all this business about big wave surfing and the world’s largest waves. 

So go ahead and bury yourself into our top 17 things to see and do while in Nazare.

A little wee disclaimer before you read:

From time to time, we use affiliate links in our posts to promote the things we love about Nazare.

However, this is not a sponsored blog post. The information included below has not been paid for.

Our mission is to provide our readers with sound advice based on public reviews, personal experience, and of course, positive word of mouth.

Sincerely, Tourism Nazare

DON’T MISS OUT ON THESE 17 THINGS TO DO IN NAZARE

  • CULTURAL CENTER NAZARE
  • DRY FISH MUSEUM OF NAZARE
  • FISHING BOAT EXHIBIT
  • FARMERS MARKET
  • THE GYPSY MARKET
  • OLD CITY HALL
  • THE PILLORY OF PEDERNEIRA
  • THE CHURCH OF MERCY
  • NAZARE FUNICULAR
  • THE CHAPEL OF MEMORY
  • NAZARE LIGHTHOUSE
  • MOUNT ST. BARTHOLOMEW
  • ROYAL PALACE OF NAZARE
  • SANCTUARY OF OUR LADY OF NAZARE
  • DR. JOAQUIM MANSO MUSEUM
  • THE CHURCH OF SAO GIAO
  • PAUL GIROL ART GALLERY

View from the lookout point in Pederneira, Nazare

CULTURAL CENTER NAZARE

For almost 30 years, the Cultural Center of Nazare was a bustling auction-style fish market, and the first of it’s kind. But when the new safe harbor opened in 1983, that began to change. 

Nowadays, the Centro Cultural serves as both a museum and event space with a permanent gallery dedicated to the fishing industry and rotating exhibits that highlight Nazare’s uniqueness.

WHAT’S ON NOW

From February 8th until March 1st of 2020, the Center will showcase the town’s most anticipated party of the year – Nazare Carnival. Through props and images, visitors can emerge themselves into the history and tradition and get a glimpse of how the town has celebrated this epic festival over decades. 

CENTRO CULTURAL DA NAZARE

Edificio Antiga Lota
Cost of admission: FREE
Address: Av. Manuel Remigio, 2450-106 Nazare
Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM and 2:00 – 5:30 PM;  Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM

DRY FISH MUSEUM OF NAZARE

Across the road from the Cultural Center, you will find the open-air Dry Fish Museum of Nazare or the Museu do Peixe Seco.

A tradition that dates back over 300 years, the art of drying fish, was invented to preserve the catch for times of scarcity. The process, a simple four-step recipe that takes 2-3 days to execute, is unique to Nazare and is still in practice today.

The most common fish on display are Horse Mackel, Sardines, Hake, and Octopus.

MUSEU DO PEIXE SECO

Cost of admission: FREE
Address: Av. Manuel Remigio, 2450-106 Nazare
Hours of Operation: Seven days a week from as early as 9 AM with no set schedule, weather dependent

FISHING BOAT EXHIBIT

Mere steps beside the dry fish stalls, you will find the traditional Arte Xavega boat displays or the Exposicao de Barcos.

These traditional boats, six to be exact, were once active trawl style fishing boats and used by locals for hundreds of years.

Unfortunately, these and many like them are no longer in use and serve only as a reminder for a time long gone.

While four of the boats face inland, the Mimosa and the lifeboat “Our Lady of the Desperate” face permanently towards the ocean at the request of a handful of passionate local fishermen.

EXPOSICAO DE BARCOS

Cost of admission: FREE
Address: Av. Manuel Remigio, 2450-106 Nazare
Hours of Operation: 24 hours

FARMERS MARKET

Nazare farmer’s market is one of the most abundant fresh produce, meat, and fish markets in Central Portugal.

Typically open seven days a week, closing only on Mondays during the winter, the Mercado Municipal is a 100 stall market featuring delicacies from around the region.

MERCADO MUNICIPAL NAZARE

Cost of admission: FREE
Address: R. Alves Redol 24, 2450-168 Nazare
Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Sunday 8 AM – 1 PM, Closed Mondays except for July and August

Are you convinced that Nazare is the next item on your things to do in Portugal list? If so, we’ve got you covered!

Jump over to our Where to Stay in Nazare Portugal or find out how to conquer parking in Nazare with our 29 Helpful Things to Know About Nazare Portugal guides.

THE GYPSY MARKET

Every Friday near the city hall of Nazare in a large parking lot, the town becomes a buzz with a sprawling Gypsy Market.

Here locals and visitors alike can hangle on goods such as clothes, purses, shoes, housewares, towels, plants, and even birds.

FEIRA SEMANAL DA NAZARE

Cost of admission: FREE
Address: Behind the Seguranca Social Nazare office at Av. Vieira Guimaraes 54, 2450-106 Nazare
Hours of Operation: Every Friday, except the third week of July till the beginning of September, between the hours of 9 AM and 1:00 PM

OLD CITY HALL

Up the hill in the earliest settlement of Nazare, you will find the neighborhood of Pedeneira and the Antiga Casa da Camara which served as the town’s City Hall for 100 years. 

The only building damaged as a result of the Great Lisbon Earthquake, the bell tower, was rebuilt in the late 18th century to resemble the original structure.

After city hall moved to the lower town, a Praia, in 1855, the building was then used as a butcher shop, jail, courthouse, and finally, a primary school.

These days visitors will find the doors to the building closed and off-limits, but the most intriguing artifact of the region is just in front and outside in the Bastiao Fernandes Square.

ANTIGA CASA DA CAMARA

Cost of admission: Not applicable
Address: Pederneira, R. da Fonte, Nazare
Hours of Operation: Permanently closed

THE PILLORY OF PEDERNEIRA

O Pelourinho, as it’s known in Portuguese, is one of the oldest and rarest geological monuments in all of Portugal that dates back 150 million years.

The petrified tree trunk that sits in the main square in front of the former City Hall was moved from the grounds of the old cemetery and erected in its current spot.

Essentially a large flint, folklores tell stories of it being a ‘magic tree’ that many locals would use to create fire from.

PELOURINHO DE PEDERNEIRA

Cost of admission: Not applicable
Address: Pederneira, R. da Fonte, Nazare
Hours of Operation: 24 hours

Are you curious about day trips or a private tour? Book with a local and skip the whole messy part of planning a trip instead. 

THE CHURCH OF MERCY

Also, in the neighborhood of Pederneira, the quirky Church of Mercy is something not to be missed and worth the relentless walk up to the withdrawn town.

Dating back to 1516, the church initially housed the Brotherhood of Mercy and acted as the town’s original hospital.

When the Brotherhood folded and a new hospital built in neighboring O Sitio, the church fell into despair.

What remains today is an architectural smorgasbord of relics and details that date across many centuries. Inside visitors will find five iconic marble columns standing tall in a window sill, an azulejo mural depicting Our Lady of Mercy and a unique wood roof said to be an inverted hull, designed and built by fishermen.

IGREJA DA MISERICORDIA DA PEDERNEIRA

Cost of admission: FREE
Address: Largo da Misericordia, Nazare
Hours of Operation: From dawn till dusk

NAZARE FUNICULAR

Ride the rails on the historical Funicular of Nazare.

Since its opening on July 28th, 1889, the Ascensor da Nazare, also called an elevator in English, has been an integral transport connection for over 130 years.

Similar to the funiculars found in Lisbon, the original design was that of the same engineer, Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Gustave Eiffel.

Originally powered by steam but converted to electric power for modern times, the Ascensor also uses a puny system to climb up the promontory over 1000 feet on a 42% incline.

ASCENSOR DA NAZARE

Cost of admission: approximately $1.50 each way or $2.90 return, multi-trip passes available
Address (South location): R. do Elevador 9, 2450-200 Nazare
Address (North location): R. do Horizonte 20, 2450-065 Nazare
Hours of Operation: 7 AM until Midnight, operates on 15 min intervals

LOCAL TIP

Purchase your tickets directly from the Operator.

Except for July and August, the ticket booths at both the South and North end locations close during the off-season months. Look for the conductor carrying a coin-purse near the turn-style gates upon entering.

THE CHAPEL OF MERCY

If you haven’t heard of the miracle of Dom Fuas Roupinho, you will soon on your visit to the Sitio.

Built-in 1182, the Ermida da Memoria was constructed under the order of the Knight in honor of his salvation. 

Above the entrance, a hand-painted title of a shield signifies the presence of a Royal visit.

CAPELA DA MEMORIA

Cost of admission: FREE
Address: R. 25 de Abril 17, 2450-065 Nazare
Hours of Operation: From 9 AM – 5 PM, with extended hours during the high season

Read more about the Chapel of Memory and the legend of Dom Fuas in our Nazare Beach Travel Guide.

TAKE ME THERE

NAZARE LIGHTHOUSE

Under the reign of King Sebastian of Portugal, construction of the defensive fort began in 1577 to protect the coast from pirates.

In the years to come, the fort would withstand the French Invasions and the Liberal Fights only to transform into a lighthouse on December 1st, 1903.

Between 2014­ and 2019, the Forte de S. Miguel Arcanjo received its one-millionth guest, making it the most visited attraction in Nazare.

FORTE DE SAO MIGUEL ARCANJO (FAROLIM DA NAZARE)

Cost of admission: $1 per adult, children under 11 FREE
Address: Rua 25 de Abril 2450-065 Nazare
Hours of Operation: 10 AM until 6 PM (last entry 5:30 PM)

MOUNT ST. BARTHOLOMEW

It the prospects of height don’t bother you, then head out of town towards Monte de Sao Bartolomeu.

Standing proud at 511 feet above Nazare, some 156 meters high and nestled in the Leiria Pine Forest, the watchman’s guardhouse is considered to be a mark of a navigator and visible from some 21 miles away at sea.

The grounds also play host to the yearly pagan festival known as Sao Bras every February 3rd and marks the beginning of Carnaval da Nazare.

MONTE DE SAO BARTOLOMEU

Cost of admission: FREE
Address: Sitio Classificado do Monte de Sao Bartolomeu
Hours of Operation: 24 hours (dawn till dusk)

PAUL GIROL GALLERY

Hidden away in the Municipal Library of Nazare near the Rede Expressos and Rodoviaria do Oeste bus terminal is the Paul Girol Art Gallery.

Named after the French Painter, Paul Girol became an unexpected ambassador promoting the town abroad after falling in awe of Nazare during one of his visits.

These days the gallery features both local and international photographers and painters alike who capture the essence of the beach through their art.

WHAT’S ON NOW

Between January 25th until February 29th, 2020, “Olhar o Carnaval.” A collection of photographs showcasing Nazare Carnival of past years.

GALERIA PAUL GIROL

Cost of admission: FREE
Address: Rua Grupo Desportivo “Os Nazarenos” 2450-291 Nazare
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM and 2:00 until 6:00 PM, Saturdays from 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Closed Sundays

Need a place to stay or wondering where to eat in Nazare Portugal? Read The Most Popular Hotels in Nazare or 20 Excellent Spots to Eat at in Nazare next.

Did we miss something or want to learn more about a specific monument or site? Send us a message here, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

What is on your list of things to do in Nazare?

Similar Posts