The Nazaré Canyon, where big waves are formed

The Nazaré Canyon is an undersea canyon just off the coast of Nazaré (Portugal), in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. It has a maximum depth of at least 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) and is about 230 kilometres long.

The Nazaré Canyon is the reason why the waves are so big and so high breaking. This makes Nazaré a hotspot for big wave surfing.

Although Praia do Norte catches the world attention, Nazaré has not only giant and powerful waves, but also spots and waves accessible to all athletes. And you can also swim in its waters.

Time of the year for the biggest waves in Nazaré

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!

Garrett McNamara

Since Garrett was a young boy, 1-year old, he has been on the search for the Rush. Lucky for him and the rest of the world he found his calling in life… the Ocean.

For the last 25 years Garrett has been on the search to accomplish the unthinkable and ride the unknown. He is known for pushing the limits and going deep.

He is the first and only in history to ride tsunami waves created from calving glaciers, the first to be towed into a big wave by helicopter, and the most decorated tow surfer to date. He is a citizen of the world constantly exploring, sharing experiences and being inspired along the way!

On November 1st 2011, the 44 years-old Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara has reached the unthinkable: he surfed a 78 feet (23,77 meters) wave during the ZON North Canyon Show in Praia do Norte beach, in Nazaré! On that year he set a World Guinness record and this iconic photo taken by photographer António Manuel Silva travelled the world, leaving everyone breathless!

Find out more things to do in Nazaré, Portugal

Where to stay in Nazaré, Portugal