Nazaré is a picturesque seaside village, famous for its top surf beaches and colourful wooden fishing boats. According to legend, the village takes its name from a small statue of the Virgin Mary, which originated in the Holy Land of Nazareth and was brought to the village by a monk in 711 AD.
Fishing continues to be an important part of the local economy, with plenty of fresh fish available from seaside restaurants. During the summer, the traditional high-prowed fishing boats return laden with the day’s catch, and are manually winched up the beach to safety; a sight much-loved by locals and visitors alike.[tabs] [tab title=”Culture and History” icon=”icon-key”]The original settlements were located well above the beach – a defensive position providing a safe base for local inhabitants against raids by Algerian, French, English and Dutch pirates that continued until the early 1800s. The town consists of three parts: Praia (along the beach), Sítio (located on top of a rocky promontory) and Pederneira (on the hilltop). Visitors can take a picturesque ride on the Ascensor da Nazaré (a steep funicular railway dating back to the late 1800s), which allows easy connection from Nazaré beach to the top of the hill.[/tab] [tab title=”Sports and Nature” icon=”icon-leaf”]Nazaré is also famous for its spectacular surf conditions. In November 2011, Nazaré made surf history when Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara surfed a Guinness World Record-breaking 78 foot wave at the 2011 ZON North Canyon Show at Nazaré. The mesmerising photos and videos have captivated the attention of the world and has solidified Nazaré’s reputation as one of the biggest surf beaches in the world. At the western end of town, visitors can enjoy great views of the monster waves from the São Miguel Fort, built in the 16th century. A lighthouse was installed in the early 1900s to help sailors navigate around the coastline. During the summer, there are a wealth of activities in Nazaré, including bullfights, live music and boat trips to spot dolphins.[/tab] [tab title=”Gastronomy” icon=”icon-food”]Seafood and local cuisine.[/tab] [/tabs]