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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Nazare | Surf, Beach & Fishing Town

After finishing in Coimbra in the afternoon, we drove to Nazare, which is a little beach/fishing town on the coast. It's a cute little beach town with a historical feel to it, where we stayed two nights.

Traditional 7-Layer Skirts

One part of the history of Nazare is that women would wear the traditional 7-layer skirts. Even in today's times some of the older women still dressed in them. Old wives tales say it represents the 7 days of the week or the colors of the rainbow, etc. However, the traditional fishing wives would wear these various petticoats as layers while they waited for their husbands to come home; the various layers would allow them to adjust with the weather of the sea. Many times you will see these women selling nuts (although they may just dress this way for the tourists), but you'll also see some older women just walking around town wearing them as well.

We stayed in the area on the upper level of the city in an Airbnb, which Clara was super excited that she got the pink and yellow bed - her two favourite colors.


To get down to the main fishing village we had to take the funicular or take the stairs down the hill. However, a 1-way fare is only 1.20 Euro, so it was worth taking the funicular.

The first night we decided to go for some fish dinner - we had a cuttlefish and shrimp dish in rice, which was delicious! However, because of the kids we definitely are looking for dinner much earlier than most people, especially since dinnertime is traditionally later in Spain and Portugal. Many times we’ll be searching for a place to eat, but not be able to find a lot of selection because many of the restaurants don’t open until 7 p.m.

Morning Hike

We spent one full day in Nazare and we mostly spent it exploring near the coastline. Alex and I woke up early for a hike along the cliffs. It was nice to see all the fishing boats out in the area fishing for the day’s catch. There were some beautiful views back to Nazare beach and the beach on the other side of the cliffs as well. There was even one area that had steps down and then a ladder to get down to the cliffs further; although, we just stopped at the ladder.

On the way back we stopped at a little café that was frequented by the locals to get some coffee and rolls. You always have to make sure that you say “Coffee with Milk” instead of just “coffee” in Spain & Portugal - otherwise you get a shot of espresso.

Nossa Senhore da Nazare

We started the morning with the kids by exploring the Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazare, which has the Virgin of Nazare statue housed in it. This is how the town got its name.

Nazare Lighthouse

Although it was similar to the hike we took in the morning, we headed back to the lighthouse with the rest of the gang later that morning. It was a long trek for a 3-year old to the lighthouse, but Clara did well.

The lighthouse was interesting because it had several exhibits which showed how the under water canyon causes such large waves to form; as Nazare's claim to fame is that it has the 'largest waves in the world.' Each November they have a famous surfing competition where top surfers from around the world come to compete. As part of the exhibits they showed footage of the surfers in the large waves and it was quite amazing, but daunting to say the least. The Guinness Book of World Records for the largest wave ever surfed was 78 feet high right here in Nazare. I can’t even imagine!

Nazare Beach

In the afternoon we headed to the beach. It was a windy beach though! Our AirBnb provided a little wind break which was nice to use with our sun tent. We spent most of our time in the sand playing since the water was still cold, but we did dip our feet in. Clara had a blast of course and was exhausted after the afternoon of fun in the sun!

Seafood Restaurant & Top Notch Service

Because we had to take the funicular to get down to the beach area we came back up to get washed and dressed before dinner. Therefore, we decided to eat at one of the seafood restaurants on the upper side of the town instead. We tried some appetizers this meal, so we had some shrimp, olives, bread and complimentary little squid. They also had a very cool way of serving a kebab.

While we have continued to have several older ladies stop us and visit with baby Connor, we experienced a new first at this restaurant. One of the servers came over and asked if she could hold him and take him to see the others back in the kitchen. Then while we were eating, one of the other ladies came over and offered to take him while we were eating. As they didn’t have highchairs it was a nice offer. They asked for his soother and then the next time I looked over, they had gotten him to fall asleep!! They laid him in a stroller they had sitting there and put a blanket over him - talk about restaurant with service! I think he was so tuckered out from the beach that day (even though he napped in the tent), that he slept soundly even when I transferred him out of the stroller and walked home.

On the Road to Lisbon

Our final morning in Nazare we packed up and headed to Lisbon, which was about 90 minutes away. It appears as though Lisbon will be just as hilly as some of the other towns we visited - our door is located in the middle of a stairway!

Wine Prices = Cheap!

We spent the afternoon settling into our new place and grabbing some groceries. A trip to the grocery store was in order and it really is true that wine is almost as cheap as water/juice here! You really are hard pressed to find any bottles of wine for more than 3 Euro. Here was a glance of the wine selection at one of the grocery stores - I think if you want a really nice bottle of wine you have to head to a wine store, but even the 1.50 Euro bottles of wine are good tasting! The cheapest I saw was .89 Euro!!! It is very true that wine is one of the best items you can get in Spain/Portugal for the least amount of money!

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