011 - Nazare - Portugal

Named after the famous Nazareth city, this place is unique in the world and a true spiritual location for thousands, but not for the reason you might think! This is Nazare from Portugal!

The city of Nazare is not big, and the fact that we found a hotel room here, after searching for over an hour (while parked at Fatima, see previous article) it is impressive. 

In fact we were lucky because the weather was very calm, with almost no waves on this sunny April day. 

Click here to open the map

011.1 The lighthouse of Nazare and the calm ocean.

011.2 Nazare beach also known as Praia and the funicular that connect with the top area known as Sitio.

011.3 Avenida da Republica with some "need-some-paint-houses" and the entrance to the funicular on top of the Sitio. 

011.4 Nothing more Portuguese than azulejos.

011.5 Blue - Yellow - White and a bit of Green.

011.6 The view from the base funicular station as we wait boarding.

011.7 Cutest 3D ceramic tiles I've seen to date (at the funicular station). 

011.8 The view over half of Nazare and the ocean.

I think it is time to speak about why Nazare is one of the most famous places these days!

011.9 Here at Nazare, because of an underwater canyon, if there is a big storm out in the ocean and paired with strong wind from the beach towards the ocean -> then record breaking waves form and oh my!!!

011.10 One of my personal dream is to be able to see those huge waves, and more importantly, hear the crashing water.

Before this visit, I never thought that gigantic waves were a thing in Europe. I always thought that the surf paradise is somewhere in Australia, but actually, during the winter, surfers from around the Globe come here for record waves. By here I mean Nazare, Portugal. 

Since our visit that was in 2017, while still working in Galicia (North-West of Spain), on the month of January of 2018 I received an alert that big waves might form in Nazare in February of the same year (based on hurricane out in the ocean plus wind from the continent = big waves). I alerted my company that I might take some free days, but right a day before the big event, I knew I won't be able to go (because of work). And as it would have it, record breaking waves would form. In this article, no such waves are present (I don't steel photos, in fact I don't even use AI tech or anything like that), so if you are interested, there are tons of videos and pictures on the internet. 

011.11 If waves are not your thing, or you just want a pause from the beach and all that, there is also a legend. This is the Sanctuary of our Lady of Nazare.

011.12 The first part of the legend says that in the forth century or so, a wood carving of the baby Jesus of Nazareth was brought for safety, here, in a cave.

011.13 And this is no ordinary wood statue, as it was made during the early days of Jesus's life on Earth, while still a baby, so it makes it the oldest relic of sort. At some point, a chapel was built to mark the place, then a church and now we find ourselves inside the Sanctuary of our Lady of Nazareth. I like how Portuguese churches look clean and simple outside (or filled with blue ceramic tiles named azulejos) but then inside they are a whole different deal. 

011.14 The second part of the legend of Nazare, will be presented as usually, at the very end of the article. 

011.15 On top of the hill, on the Sitio, life is more normal Portuguese, meaning: coffee, cakes, fish dishes and juices. Houses here look more clean, while those down at Praia look more dusty. 

011.16 Palm trees, orange ceramic roof tiles and wind turbines.

011.17 One last look at Nazare from Sitio. Still no big waves :(

Like I said in the previous article, and in this one, we did not know about the existence of this city. If someone would have asked me if I saw the waves of Nazare I would replied that I never was outside of EU. 

In fact, on the night of our arrival, while i bed, I was reading about this place and boy... when I saw those waves I got so hyped, I barely could fall asleep. Because of the canyon underneath the ocean, in this area, huge waves can form, bigger than anywhere else. Our hotel was really close to the ocean. Actually, next morning, bright and early we went on the beach with our coffee, but the water was really calm. So instead of moving on to our next planned stop, we decided to stay a few more hours, maybe we get lucky with the tide and something will happen.

The waves season starts late October and ends in March, but with the Global Warming, nothing is pure math anymore. 

Like I said in the beginning, the biggest waves of 2018 were on February, during a huge Hurricane storm out in the middle of the ocean. Plus on the same day, powerful winds were forecasted to blow from the continent towards the ocean, and those help form giant waves.

So before coming here, if you wish to witness nature at work, then look at Nazaré Big Waves News - Nazaré Big Waves Surf - Portugal (nazarewaves.com)

Rent and food here are affordable (unlike Porto, Sintra, Douro Valley) but getting here on a precise day, with last minute flight to Lisbon and then rent a car (some big name athletes come with 🚁 helicopters...) -> that can get expensive very quickly. 

Initially I wanted to mark this place as a 5 star (when big waves) but if you are not rich, you must be lucky to be in the area at the right time. 

I do plan to return so I will make a follow-up article, once I succeed to return. But now my family got bigger but maybe we get lucky, cuz rich is harder.

Until then, thank you for reading this article and hope you will find other ones to enjoy!


Popular Posts