Surf in Nazaré, the capital of the largest waves in the world.

June 25, 2020

Surfing in Nazaré

Portugal is definitely a country that stands out a lot internationally because of its good gastronomy, its cultural diversity, its history ... but also for having the largest recorded waves in the world!

Specifically in the coastal population of NazarethIn the west of Portugal, the most amazing waves of all have been recorded, which have served to satiate the yearning for adventure of surfers from all over the world. And there is no doubt about this: the largest waves in the world surf in Nazaré! If you are a lover of surfing and adventure sports, you cannot miss the opportunity to visit with us the best of this spot Portuguese, and join the experience of surfing the most challenging waves of all.

Surfing in Nazaré

The brazilian Rodrigo Koxa He is the one who set the last record, right on the beaches of Nazaré in 2017, when he successfully surfed a wave of nothing more and nothing less than 24,38m high, breaking the record of 23,7m that the American set. Garrett McNamara in 2011, also surfed in this town.

But what makes this geographical point so special compared to the rest?

First of all, it should be noted that Nazaré is one of the most beautiful and multicultural locations in Portugal and Europe, and although it does not have the fame that other cities in the country may have, for us it is a mandatory stop for you to really get into Portuguese culture and live face to face this surf mecca that has gained so much fame internationally.

Nazaré is a meeting point for travelers from all over the world, who upon arrival encounter a coastal population full of life, with magnificent beaches and interesting activities in which culture and tradition really breathe. Everything you see in this location, from coast to coast, has been done for years and years, and seeing it first hand is like traveling back in time to a better time.

In addition, it is an excellent location point for those who are visiting Portugal, since it is very close to the main cities, but it is significantly cheaper.

The panorama in Nazaré is truly beautiful. Next to the mouth of the Alcobaça river and up to the famous Nazaré Lighthouse, you can see the opening of an amazing blue coastline, which merges with the green of the mountains through which its streets and fishing areas unfold between big waves that break in its coasts. It is really quite a spectacle of nature.

And there is something for everyone in this destination, which is no less touristy than the rest. The city of Nazaré receives thousands of tourists annually, among whom Sufis abound, prepared for the greatest adventure of their lives.

Nazaré is not very big, but we do not lie when we say that it is very close to the main cities. We find it located 120km north of Lisbon and 215 km south of Porto. It has about 10.000 inhabitants and can be walked very comfortably, while enjoying its picturesque scenery and coastal landscapes, restaurants, shops, and points of cultural interest.

It may keep its cultural traditions very well, but as it receives more tourists, Nazaré has been modernizing and completely falling in love with its visitors, especially for that tranquility and peace that travelers need to free ourselves from the daily hustle and bustle of having arrived in this surf mecca.

Nazaré really consists of a single beach half along its coastline, divided into small beaches with a long walk that connects them all, with clear sand from end to end that dazzles with infinite sheets of fish (horse mackerel, octopus and sardines) drying in the sun, very typical of the area, as well as the most classic shops / awnings of striped beach verticalis, they generate an incredible coastal environment.

All this cultural and special setting of the area is combined with the sporting expectations of this location that brings surfers together (especially in winter) to enjoy not only Nazaré as a tourist destination, but as a meeting point to study, witness, admire and face the biggest and fiercest waves that the world has to offer.

Surfing in Nazaré


Nazaré, what have we done to deserve you?

Nobody warned us that this charming fishing village would become the ideal location for the formation of true water skyscrapers: the most extreme waves that surfers have dared to surf and which for many represents the greatest challenge to "graduate" As a surfer.

And no one warned us that we would be able to witness such feats as those we see in Nazaré, Portugal, at the hands of brave surfers who venture among its waves. It is a true physical and psychological test -only for expert surfers- who humbly present themselves to tame the great forces of nature, which not all of them complete. They don't call them extreme sports for nothing!

The surf mecca that Nazaré escode

Nazaré will not disappoint you with its blue skies, and its beautiful and powerful light from the Atlantic Ocean, but as we get closer to the point of the big waves, the imposing sea is felt, and an almost stormy and salty atmosphere is generated. Nothing that appeals more to the professional surfers of our era!

In this area, the surfer aesthetic reigns, because the truth is that it has become a meeting place for those who practice this extreme sport. The destination point is there, and they go aiming to test their skills.

Nazaré gathers surfers in winter, waiting for the most favorable surf to practice this extreme sport. It is from the month of November that it begins to fill with surf enthusiasts, and it is also the time when the Big Wave World Tour takes place that celebrates events and competitions in this and other locations of great waves around the world.

Nazaré has definitely deserved to become the surfer mecca that he is. But what is the origin of all this? Where do the giant waves in Nazaré come from?

Surfing in Nazaré


The “fault” lies in El Cañón de Nazaré, the deepest gorge on the entire European coast. And it is that the geographical location of this coast in Portugal is the reason why such gigantic waves are produced that form in the distance in the Atlantic Ocean and break in Nazaré.

This occurs thanks to the fact that there is a canyon (El Nazaré Canyon) submerged in the depths of the ocean, which is understood to be 230km with a depth ranging from 50 to 5000 meters.

Although the canyon is a large part of the equation, the history of these waves comes from two sides: the Nazaré beach and the North beach (continental shelf). Both have different characteristics that combined promote this phenomenon.

The phenomenon is as follows: The waves that move above the Nazaré Canyon do not lose their speed and change their direction due to the depth of the area, but then the continental shelf is much shallower, and the waves that pass over it go losing speed without changing its direction.

The genius happens in front of the Nazaré Lighthouse about 200m from the coast, where both waves come together and generate an amazing water peak. During your visit you can see the magic from there at the Lighthouse, or from the Miradouro de Suberco, which offers panoramic views of the entire coast.

To locate ourselves a little in the town of Nazaré, we can summarize that the southern current travels from Praia do Norte at the same time that both types of waves (traveling at different speeds and depths) face near Cape Sitio.

This is how we owe it all to the combination of the climatic, environmental and natural factors that occur in this location and to the coastal current, which (in summary) is found with a great difference in depth between the canyon and the continental shelf, creating the perfect geographical environment to form these super waves, which can reach up to more than 30 meters in height.

It is this kind of wave that attracts thousands of surfers, the largest waves in the world.

Surfing in Nazaré


Nazaré is an incredible place to visit, whether you are a surfer, a surf enthusiast or just a tourist in Portugal.

As we have mentioned before, it is a location that can function as a central spot to visit the rest of the surrounding towns and cities such as Leira, Fátima, Alcobaça, Batalha ... and it is that from Nazaré to Porto you will invest in the journey only an hour and a half, and from Lisbon the same. So it is a good opportunity to take advantage of its excellent gastronomy, culture, its great waves and its cheap prices, to make it the starting point on your tour of other incredible places in Portugal.

The days in the fishing village of Nazaré are very calm and pleasant. When you stroll through its cobbled streets it always smells of roasted fish, and you hear the breaking of the waves in the distance ringing in your ears.

The beaches of Nazaré are spectacular with soft sand, but it is true that the water on the beach is quite cold, even during the summer. Although all really are small portions of the same beach that extends a kilometer and a half from Cape Sitio to the fishing port in the south. Some of the beaches have currents that can become somewhat strong, so it will not be unusual to catch a trained lifeguard; the recommendation is to always make provisions.

But the reality is that they are all great, and the best thing is that they offer all kinds of water sports activities like Kayaks, water skiing, rowing, and more.

Surfing in Nazaré


Cabo Sitio / Siege of Nazaré

Considering today as one of the most outstanding neighborhoods in Portugal, and the Villa de Nazaré, located on top of Monte Sitio. It offers infinity of wonderful views of the coast. It is an interesting point for the history that precedes it, which consists especially of great pilgrimages that ended at the Nuestra Señora de Nazaré church, which has also become a great figure for the locals.

In fact, if you visit on September 8 you can celebrate parties of, well, Nossa Senhora da Nazaré.Today, thousands of pilgrims visit this town to celebrate the life and miracle of Fuas Roupinho in 1182. In addition to these celebrations, you can also be part of the "Nazaré en Fiesta", an annual 10-day event dedicated to gastronomy, crafts, culture and entertainment.

Nort Beache (Praia do Norte)

In the north of Cape Sítio we find Praia do Norte, one of the largest in Nazaré. This beach is really beautiful because of the environment and the natural landscaping it offers, surrounded by dunes (Dunas de Aguieira) and pine forests, but it is really its big waves that have made it famous internationally. In addition, its location makes it an excellent destination for practicing sport fishing in addition to surfing, and also for enjoying a day of fun in the Norpark Water Park.

Nazaré beach

Originally called Banhos beach, Nazaré Beach is located in the bay of the Praia da Nazaré neighborhood. An urban beach in its entirety, and it is integrated into the town center of the town. It is a beautiful beach, but let go of the strong surf, ideal for surfing, swimming and bodyboarding.

Salgado beach

South of Nazaré we find Playa do Salgado, it is also one of the most recommended beaches to visit on your trip in this town, located in Famalicão, Nazaré. Its southern area has an excellent rocky area frequented by divers and fishermen. In addition, the Sierra de Pescaría and the beach itself bring together an ideal space for practicing adventure sports outdoors and in contact with its natural beauties and landscaping, for example, paragliding.

About Nazarene gastronomy

Gastronomically speaking, Nazaré is characterized by its fish and shellfish in a diversity of species and clothing. The truth is that the dishes they offer are really delicious, based on traditional recipes from the area in which the Caldeirada stands out, which consists of a stew in which different types of fish are served.

So get ready to eat fish! You will also surely come across cards in the various and delicious restaurant in Nazaré with dishes such as Massa de Peixe, Acorda de Mariscos, Cataplana de Peixe, and all kinds of fresh grilled or grilled fish, as well as rice with seafood, stews, soups , grilled sardines, sausages, cod and others, very typical of the area.

It is that even the dessert can take fish! Have you tried the Sardines Sweets? Well, this place is ideal to try different and original delicacies, such as the so-called Nazarenes and the Támares and the famous Balls of Berlin

Fish drying A classic in Nazaré!

We have mentioned it before, but the truth is that we cannot stay without talking a little more about the traditional drying of fish that you experience when you visit Nazaré, Portugal. You see them with your own eyes when passing through the beaches, which seems more like a museum exhibition, a different experience. Although if you want to know more about this culture there is a museum in the area that you can visit such as La Casa / Museo del Pescador or the Museum do Peixe Seco. In addition, there is the Dr. Joaquim Manso Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum, Museo da Nazaré, which is also very interesting if you want to know a little more about the history of this town.

Surfing in Nazaré


Nazaré you can visualize it by its high area, its low area, and then because visually it goes from one side to the other along its coastline, from end to end, which makes it a very pleasant and easy to navigate town.

The upper part of Nazaré is the most original and oldest. You can access the 100m funicular for just € 1, an experience in itself, for its cool views and for hosting the beautiful Sitio neighborhood. In the upper part you will find the Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Nazaré, entering the Fort of San Miguel, the Mirador de Suberco and the Faro de Nazaré that offers impressive views as previously mentioned. The lower part for its part houses and borders the beaches in the town, the houses, and most of the restaurants. It is here where you will find numerous hotels of all kinds, from the most luxurious to the most economical, souvenir shops, small streets, the fishing district, the port Da Praia, markets and others. You can also choose to stay in apartments arranged for it both in the lower part and in the upper part to live the experience closer to the town.

Surfing in NazaréSounds amazing doesn't it? A coastal town that is said to be calm and calm but that in its nature houses a wild ocean that seems to have been specially designed for surfing. Without a doubt visiting Nazaré is knowing its customs and traditions, its gastronomy, its people, its history, its beaches and its great waves. The experience of visiting this beautiful town is truly amazing, from start to finish, and from top to bottom. Don't miss out on all the experience that the coastal town of Nazaré has to offer!

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