In this fabulous fishing town, and trending surfing hangout of Nazare the ambience is timeless, traditions continue to thrive and where a sense of contentment abounds. .
Two hours north of Lisbon on the Atlantic Coast, this is not a town of architectural grandeur or revered monuments, instead the mosticonic aspect of Nazare are the cherrily-painted wooden fishing boats, with curved prows and decorative touches and the local ladies wearing the seven skirts of Nazare.
Old-school fisher women still wear seven colourful layers of petticoats under their skirts – one for each day of the week with the seven colours of the rainbow, along with wooden clogs and black headscarves. The traditional attire certainly lends the town a walk-through-time vibe. While this tradition helps stoke the town’s tourist trade, it’s also just the way people live here.
Fish Drying Racks
Along Nazare’s oceanfront, stop to marvel the locals drying their fresh catch of fish in the baking sun and mending their boats, adjacent to sunbathing and frolicking holidaymakers. Fishermen stash cigarettes and fishhooks in their stocking caps, as they carry out their work. Traditions run deep.
A flotilla of sun-dried and salted fish are crucified on nets pulled tightly around timber frames and left under the beating sun, in what resembles a mackerel and sardines crucifixion zone.
Stroll along the promenade toward the new harbor, you’ll come to three traditional boats in the sand, with prows high to cut through the surf. Try to imagine the beach (before 1986) littered with boats like these, with old men mending their nets. Oxen would haul the boats out each day.
Here, you will find awesome restaurantes with delicious seafood – try it out! You will not regret!
If you want to surf small, friendly waves go to the beach in the village; the main sandy beach in the bay gets busy in summer. There are some nice lefts by the harbour. Praia do Sul (the south beach) is similar but a little more powerful and then there’s Praia do Norte, where you’ll find the big waves. Here, you’ll discover an underwater canyon produces massive swells; it gets really challenging when these gets big, so you have to make sure you pick the right time to go there.
When you leave Praia do Norte, keep your eyes to the left you will be able to spot deers.
Head to the lighthouse , the 16th-century Forte de São Miguel Arcanjo, on the edge of the promontory of Sítio. From here you have a clear view of Praia do Norte and the swell o
n one side and the village of Nazaré, the village beach and the fishing boats on the other side. A funicular from Eiffel – era connects the village to the high cliff.
Sitio has the views and therefore the best places to stay. And probably the best restaurants too. And the best miracles; as here on this spot in eleven hundred and ahem, a horse didn’t go off a cliff when Dom Ahemahem, the rider, prayed to The Virgin; therefore there is the cutsiest tiniest tiled little chapel and you have to go down the teeny staircase to look out the weeny window – and when that’s done then you’ve seen the most important of the touristy things on offer.