Nazaré

It took one wave. In fact, not an ordinary wave. A giant wave emerging from the beach Praia do Norte, surfed by Hawaiian surf legend Garrett McNamara in 2011. This breath-taking 30-meter-high wave would change forever the fate of a picturesque coastal town known as Nazaré. Or as surfers like to call it: Naza!

The canyon of Nazaré is a puzzling geological phenomenon which is 5.000 meters deep and about 230 km long. It is the cause of such incredibly monster waves, attracting top surfers from all over the world. The big wave season begins in November and ends in February. Since 2011, the Big Wave Challenge in the iconic Praia do Norte has caught the eye of the world and Nazaré became a world-famous surf destination. But only for the brave!

There’s more to Nazaré than its wow-effect waves. In fact, Nazaré is also a charming fishermen town and a colourful seaside resort, where we can still feel the huge importance of tradition. Nazaré has developed in a very sustainable way, paying homage to its common heritage and historical memory.

One of the most moving images of Nazaré is the horse mackerel – “carapau” – hung out to dry in the sun. Or its beautiful boats bursting with colour and powerful life-related messages. Or friendly women dressed in their 7 skirts selling dry fruits and talking out loud. As if time stood still. Just like the black clad women in Nazaré beach back in 1955, brilliantly depicted by the  lens of the great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. They are the very soul of the place.

Local gastronomy is mouth-watering, mostly consisting of shellfish and fish specialities like fish stews – “caldeiradas” – and dried fish, an absolute must in Nazaré!

The best view over Nazaré can be taken from Sítio district, where you can get to by funicular. This is the ideal spot to contemplate this absolutely unique coastal town, while feeling the wind on your face. The sea as you have never seen it before. Welcome to Nazaré!

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