OVERVIEW OF TOWN: Nazare was once known to be the best fishing village in Portugal. Now it’s famous beaches are known for their crashing waves, popular among surfers. Many world-class surfing competitions are held here and the recorded highest wave ever surfed was performed here. But thankfully the people of Nazare are not quick to change and they hold on dearly to their traditions. As you walk the streets you will see elderly women wearing the traditional 7-layer skirts. You may also see local fishermen or their wives selling fish brought in that day from their boats. If you see an elderly woman wearing all black, it is because someone close to them has died and they’ve chosen to wear black for the rest of their lives. The town is filled with shops and restaurants and cafes so get lost in the streets and enjoy. A great souvenir is a doll from Nazare wearing the traditional 7-layer skirt. My parents would often bring me back one from their trips there.
PRAIA DA NAZARE: This beautiful beach has golden sand that is attached to a strip of stores, restaurants, bars, and cafes. I would not call this beach the most family oriented beach only because of the waves. The large waves attract surfers and it is fun to watch them put on a show. The crashing waves are fun to play in but I don’t know if I would let me kids go in alone. The cliffs at the northern end of the beach are stunning and there are many places to rent a chaise. The beach gets very busy during the summer and parking can be a challenge.
FUNICULAR TO SITIO: Every 15 minutes the funicular takes tourists to the top of the mountain where the most breathtaking view awaits you. The ride up is smooth as you slowly climb the stone cliff. I heard the sunset is amazing from the top and wish we had seen it.
IGREJA DE NOSSA SENHORA DA NAZARE: This lovely church sits high above the town of Nazare. I love the legend that is associated with the church. It was said that there was a hunter who was chasing a deer on a foggy night and the Virgin appeared to him just in time to stop him falling off the cliff. The deer was a disguise of the devil. There was a chapel created on the spot that the deer stopped and later a large church was built to accommodate all of the people that came to worship. It is open to the public and it is worth a look if you are up there.