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Place: Nazaré
Photo: Sebastião da Fonseca
Photo: Sebastião da Fonseca

Don't miss
  • go up to Sítio
  • taste the fish dishes
  • enjoy the exploits of the most fearless surfers and bodyboarders
  • watch the sunset on the beach

Nazaré beach, with its mild climate and natural beauty, has one of the most ancient traditions connected to fishing in Portugal.

The long sandy half-moon shaped beach, which is also the town’s sea front, is known for its grandeur and for the brightly-coloured awnings that decorate the white sandy beaches, contrasting with the blue of the water.

This is the beach in Portugal that retains the more colourful fishing traditions, and it’s not uncommon to encounter fishmongers who still wear the traditional seven skirts. At the end of the afternoon on Saturdays during the summer months, don’t miss sitting on the seawall to watch the fascinating “Arte Xávega” (Drag Nets) spectacle, in which nets laden with fish arrive from the sea and the women scream out their wares for sale. If you don’t understand the words, don’t worry – they use codes that often only they know.

Facing the sea on the right, you will see an impressive headland. This is Sítio, which provides one of the most famous views of the Portuguese coast. It is a 318 metre rock face with a sheer drop to the sea, and is reached on foot by the bravest, or by going up the funicular. At the top sits the Ermida da Memória chapel, famous for the legend of the miracle that Our Lady made to prevent the horse of the nobleman, D. Fuas Roupinho, leaping over the precipice. True or not, the Suberco Belvedere shows the imprint left in the rock by one of the horse’s hooves that foggy morning in 1182. Sítio also houses the Shrine to Our Lady of Nazaré and not far away, the Dr. Joaquim Manso Museum for more details about the traditions of Nazaré.

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