Discover Nazare - Things To Do in Nazaré

Nazare is a charming coastal town brimming with beaches, seafood restaurants and lookouts with superb ocean views.
Before it became a tourist destination, the town relied mostly on fishing. Even today, you can still see local women selling dried fish along the waterfront and boats resting in the sand.
Summer brings the crowds of sunbathers, but for most of the year, Nazaré is a surfers paradise. Its huge waves keep making headlines, with surfers riding waves of nearly 30 metres at Praia do Norte.
Beyond its beaches, Nazaré also contains some historical monuments and a lively food market. Whether you’re coming for the surf or just for a relaxing day trip from Lisbon, here’s what you can’t miss in Nazaré.

What to do in Nazaré

Enjoy the Nazaré beaches

When visiting Nazaré, you must stop by the beach. There are two main beaches in Nazaré: Praia da Nazaré and Praia do Norte.

Praia da Nazaré​ is a long sandy stretch in the centre, lined with shops and seafood restaurants. Its golden sands attract many locals and tourists, who come here for a swim or to practise watersports like surf or bodyboard. As you walk around the beach, you’ll stumble upon traditional fishing boats and ladies selling dried fish assembled on racks.

Further north is the ​Praia do Norte​, a meeting spot for surfers. Unlike Praia da Nazaré, this isn’t a supervised beach, and there are few businesses around, so it feels a bit more secluded. The beach is mostly famous for its giant waves which draw brave surfers from all over the world. It was here that Sebastian Steudtner surfed one of the largest waves in the world. The size of the waves is a result of an underwater ravine in Nazaré combined with strong winds and currents. The waves are smaller in the summer, but the wind makes it hard to relax here. For that, it’s best to head to Praia da Nazaré.

Explore the Municipal Market

A few steps from Praia da Nazaré is the lively Municipal Market. Here you’ll find stands with fresh produce, from fruits and vegetables to cheese and quality seafood. As you walk inside, local sellers will tempt you with their colourful display of ingredients. Some women even dress up with the ​“seven skirts”​, a traditional outfit of Nazaré. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s worth visiting the market and take in the colours and the scents. It’s only open in the morning, so make sure to head there before lunchtime.

Take a surf lesson

Nazaré is the land of surf, so there’s no better place to learn this watersport than here. Unless you’re an expert surfer, you won’t be catching the massive waves at Praia do Norte, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t surf here. There are other beaches with smaller waves that provide many surfing opportunities for beginners. The ​Nazaré Surf School ​offers private and group lessons that range from €30 to €70 per person. You can even book packages with 5 or 10 lessons or a mini surf trip with lunch included.

Hop on the Nazaré Funicular

 High above the beach of Nazaré, you’ll find o Sítio, a neighbourhood set on a promontory featuring incredible sea views. You can climb here, but the best way to reach it is to hop on the Nazaré Funicular. Originally designed by Raul Mesnie du Ponsard, one of Gustave Eiffel’s students, this transport has been running since 1889. At first, it used a steam machine, but now it’s all electric. You can catch it at Rua do Elevador, and the ticket costs around €2.50 each way. 

Visit the Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré

Once you’re up in Sítio, you should visit the church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré. The church was founded in the 14th century, but it was expanded in the 17th century to welcome more pilgrims. Even today, this is the site of many religious events, like the Procession in honour of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré on the 8th of September. Next to the church is a tiny chapel known as Ermida da Memória. Make sure to step inside to admire its stunning tiled walls.

Enjoy the view from Miradouro do Suberco

On the edge of the cliff, 110 metres above sea level, is the Miradouro do Suberco. This lookout point offers spectacular views over the beach and the sea below you. Come here at the end of the day to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets on the coast of Nazaré.

Watch the waves at the São Miguel Arcanjo Fort

Standing on a rocky cliff, the São Miguel Arcanjo fort is the best place to capture the giant waves at Praia do Norte. The building dates back to the 16th century, and it was initially created by King Sebastião to protect Nazaré from foreign invaders. The French army took over for a while, but the locals managed to kick them out. By the 20th century, it lost its military purpose, and a lighthouse was added to support the fishing activities.

As Nazaré became a popular surfing destination, the fort turned into a viewing platform for surf lovers and curious visitors. Inside, there’s an interpretative centre explaining the phenomenon of the waves in Nazaré, as well as the Surfer’s Wall, a small exhibit featuring boards from national and international surfers.

Admire the Monastery of Saint Mary of Cós

If you’re visiting Nazaré by car, you can stop by the Monastery of Saint Mary of Cós. Located 16km away in the village of Cós, this monument dates back to 1670. It’s a bit run down on the outside, but the interior is still well preserved, featuring a golden altar, tiled walls and stunning painted ceilings.

Nazaré Day Tour

Day Trips from Nazaré

If you stay in Nazaré for a couple of days, you should take some time to explore other nearby towns. We recommend visiting Alcobaça, Fátima, Batalha or São Martinho do Porto.

Set along the rivers Alcoa and Baça, Alcobaça is a humble town renowned for its 12th-century Monastery. It’s here that you’ll find the tombs of King Pedro I and Inês de Castro, a Portuguese couple with a tragic love story. The town is also famous for its pão de ló, a traditional sweet bread which you can try in the local cafés. Nearby you can visit the Quinta dos Capuchos, a vineyard offering wine tasting tours.

Fátima is one of the most important religious sites in Portugal. Every year thousands of pilgrims head here to visit its Sanctuary, where three shepherds witnessed the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917. Today, this is a world-famous pilgrimage site featuring a variety of religious monuments, such as a basilica, a chapel and a modern church. The most significant event in Fátima is the Processions on the 12th and the 13th of May.

Batalha is a small town located in the Leiria district. The main attraction here is an imposing Gothic monastery built in the 14th century to celebrate the Portuguese victory in the Battle of Aljubarrota. It’s one of the most beautiful World Heritage sites in Portugal mixing Gothic architecture with Manueline elements like the nautical carvings.

Finally, there’s São Martinho do Porto, a quiet seaside village with nothing more than a few beaches. It has a sheltered bay, so the water is much calmer than in Nazaré. Besides swimming, you can also enjoy activities like sailing and canoeing.

Things to do with kids in Nazaré

Nazaré offers plenty of sights for families. In the summer, you can take advantage of the beaches and enjoy a seafood meal. The older ones can try a surf lesson at one of the local schools. You can also watch surfers from afar at Praia do Norte, famous for its giant waves.

A fun way to explore the city is to hop on the funicular, connecting the town centre with the upper neighbourhood of o Sítio. It’s a short scenic ride that offers panoramic views of the coastline. Once you reach the top, you can capture the town below at Miradouro do Suberco. Kids will also enjoy trying the Baloiço da Ladeira, a nearby swing overlooking the sea. The town is small enough to explore on foot, but if you don’t fancy walking, there’s a small touristic train that takes you along Nazaré’s main attractions in the summer.

Where to eat in Nazaré

The best restaurants in Nazaré are Sitiado, Rosa dos Ventos and Pangeia.

As the name suggests, you’ll find ​Sitiado​ in the Sítio neighbourhood, a few steps away from the church. Decorated with vintage items and colourful chairs, this cosy restaurant specialises in traditional Portuguese ​petiscos, ​ from codfish cakes to octopus salad. You can pair your meal with a glass of wine or local craft beer.

Near Praia da Nazaré is ​Rosa dos Ventos​, a small restaurant that serves delicious platters of grilled fish and seafood. Walking from the beach, it will take you around five minutes to get here.

A bit further out is the ​Pangeia​ restaurant. This one is a bit more on the high-end and features a terrace overlooking Nazaré and the ocean. Even in the winter, you can sit by the window and enjoy your meal with a sea view. The menu features a variety of seafood dishes, but the octopus is their speciality.

Where to stay in Nazaré

There are many accommodation options in Nazaré, ranging from luxury hotels to private apartments. We recommend booking an apartment with ​Feel Nazaré - Boutique Apartments​ or a room with the ​Villamar Style Maison​.

Feel Nazaré​  is a good option for a long-stay in Nazaré. The building is located right in the town centre, so you can walk to the beach in less than five minutes. Each apartment features a small kitchenette with a stove and a fridge, allowing you to prepare meals whenever you want.

Also close to the beach is the​ Villamar​, a modern hotel offering several types of rooms, which can accommodate up to four guests. During your stay, you can enjoy the outdoor pool and the bar which opens until midnight. There’s also complimentary services like breakfast and parking on-site.

Best time to visit Nazaré

The best time to visit Nazaré is around spring or summer. Spring is usually more relaxed, with temperatures ranging around 20ºC. Summer days can get up to 30ºC, making it the perfect time for swimming and watersports. If you’re a beginner surfer, this is the best season to learn, as the ocean is usually calmer. If you’re looking to catch the giant waves, however, you should come between October and March. This season is reserved for experienced surfers, but you can still watch them in action from the São Miguel Arcanjo Fort.

Nazaré Festivals

  • Carnival: Around February, the whole town gets together to celebrate carnival. You can count on a colourful parade, street parties and plenty of costumes inspired by the annual theme.

  • Festas do Sítio: Every year in early September, Nazaré celebrates its patron saint, Our Lady of Nazaré. The festival includes a religious pilgrimage through town, but also a variety of concerts and a fair with food stalls.

  • Surfing Competitions: Between October and March, many surfers are drawn to Nazaré to participate in competitions like the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge.

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