Surf en Nazaré, la capital de las olas más grandes del mundo.


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

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

Specifically in the coastal town of Nazaré, in the west of Portugal, the most amazing waves of all have been recorded, which have served to satisfy the desire for adventure of surfers from all over the world. And there is no doubt about this: the biggest waves in the world are surfed 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 Portuguese spot, and join the experience of surfing the most challenging waves of all.

Surf en Nazaré

The Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa is the one who has set the last record, right on the beaches of Nazaré in 2017, when he successfully surfed a wave of no more and no less than 24.38m height, breaking the record of 23.7m set by the American 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 so that you really delve into Portuguese culture and live face to face with this mecca of surfing that has become so famous internationally.

Nazaré is a meeting point for travelers from all over the world, who upon arrival find a coastal town full of life, with magnificent beaches and activities of interest in which culture and tradition are truly breathed. Everything you see in this location, from coast to coast, has been years and years in the making, and seeing it firsthand is like traveling back in time to a better time.

In addition, it is an excellent location point for those who are touring 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 large waves that break in its costs. It is really quite a spectacle of nature.

And there is something for all tastes in this destination, which is no less touristy than the rest. The city of Nazaré receives thousands of tourists every year, among which there are many surfers ready for the greatest adventure of their lives.

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

Maybe it maintains its cultural traditions very well, but as it receives more tourists, Nazaré has been modernizing and its visitors fall in love with it, especially for that tranquility and peace that we travelers need to free ourselves from the daily hustle and bustle the emotion of having arrived in this mecca of surfing.

Nazaré actually consists of a single beach halfway along its coastline, divided into small praias with a long promenade that joins them all, with clear sand from end to end that dazzles with sheets endless fish (mackerel, octopus and sardines) drying in the sun, very typical of the area, as well as the most classic tents/beach awnings with vertical stripes, which create an incredible coastal atmosphere.

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

Surf en Nazaré


Nazaré began to become popular in the 1960s when American surfers began to visit the area during the summer. Late in the year 2000 Dino Casimiro, a bodyboarder from Nazaré, contacted Garrett Mcnamara, a Hawaiian professional surfer from the incredible waves of this place. McNamara did not quite believe him and traveled to Portugal to verify the facts. On the cliff, the Hawaiian could see the 15-meter waves that were approaching him. In the words of McNamara "I have never really seen waves as big as the ones I have seen in this place."

Such was the fascination of the surfer for this place that he was convinced that he would manage to surf the first 100-foot wave in the world. He did not succeed, but he did not give up his ambition to achieve the Guinness record and returned the following winter. So, it was not a height of 100 feet, but 78 (24 meters). From that moment Nazaré became a very popular place among surf lovers.

After the achievement of the Hawaiian he invested in surfing in the capital and created a high performance training center for big wave surfers. In addition, McNamara has bought a house there so as not to miss one of the impressive waves that take place in the Portuguese town.


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 that 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 the brave surfers who venture between 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 everyone manages to complete. They don't call them extreme sports for nothing!

The mecca of surfing that hides Nazaré

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

The surfer aesthetic reigns supreme in this area, 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 with the aim of testing their skills.

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

Definitely, Nazaré has deserved to become the surfing mecca that it is. But what is the origin of all this? Where do the giant waves come from in Nazaré?

Surf en Nazaré


The “fault” lies with 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 for such gigantic waves that form in the distance in the Atlantic Ocean and break in Nazaré.

This occurs thanks to the fact that there is a canyon in this area (The Nazaré Canyon) submerged in the depths of the ocean that is understood to be 230km with a depth that oscillates between 50 and 5000 meters.

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

The phenomenon is the following: The waves that move over 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 they pass over it, they lose speed without changing their direction.

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

To locate ourselves a bit in the town of Nazaré, we can summarize that the southern current travels from Praia do Norte while both types of waves (which travel at different speeds and depths) meet near Cabo Sitio.

This is how we owe everything to the combination of 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 more than 30 meters in height.

It is these kinds of waves that attract thousands of surfers, the biggest waves in the world.

Surf en Nazaré


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

As we have commented 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 only an hour and a medium, 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 walk through its cobbled streets it always smells of grilled fish, and you hear the breaking of the waves in the distance echoing 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 really they are all 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 always to take forecasts.

But the reality is that they are all great, and the best thing is that they offer all kinds of water sports activities such as Kayaks, water skiing, paddle boards and more.

Surf en Nazaré


Cabo Sitio/Sitio de Nazaré

Considering today as one of the most prominent neighborhoods in Portugal, and Villa de Nazaré, located on top of Monte Sitio. It offers endless wonderful views of the coast. It is an interesting point due to the history that precedes it, which consists especially of large 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 8th you can celebrate festivities 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.

North Beache (Praia do Norte)

In the northern area of ​​Cabo de Sítio we find Praia do Norte, one of the largest in Nazaré. This beach is really beautiful because of the environment and the natural landscape 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 sport fishing as well as surfing, and also for enjoying a day of fun at the Norpark Water Park.

Nazaré Beach

Originally called Banhos Beach, we find Nazaré Beach located in the bay of the Praia da Nazaré neighborhood. An urban beach in its entirety, and it is integrated into the urban area of ​​the town. It is a beautiful beach, but it does have strong waves, ideal for surfing, swimming and bodyboarding.

Salgado Beach

To the south of Nazaré we find Salgado Beach, it is also one of the most recommended beaches to visit on your trip in this town, located in Famalicão, Nazaré. Its southern zone has an excellent rocky area frequented by divers and fishermen. In addition, the Sierra de Pescaría and the beach itself provide an ideal space for practicing adventure sports in the open air and in contact with its natural beauties and scenery, for example, paragliding.

About Nazarene gastronomy

Gastronomically speaking, Nazaré is characterized by its fish and shellfish in a diversity of species and preparation. 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 prepared.

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

It's just that even dessert can have fish! Have you tried the Sweet Sardinhas? Well, this place is ideal for trying different and original delicacies, such as the so-called Nazarenos and Támares and the famous Bolas de Berlim

Drying the fish. A classic in Nazaré!

We have discussed 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 as you pass through the beaches, which looks more like a museum exhibit, a whole 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 Museo do Peixe Seco. In addition, there is the Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum Dr. Joaquim Manso, Museo da Nazaré, which is extremely interesting if you want to know a little more about the history of this town.

Surf en Nazaré


You can visualize Nazaré by its upper area, its lower 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 town and easy to visit.

The upper part of Nazaré is the most original and ancient. You can access it by funicular 100m for just €1, an experience in itself, for its amazing views and for hosting the beautiful Sitio neighborhood. In the upper part you will find the Sanctuaries of Nuestra Señora de Nazaré, enter the San Miguel Fort, the Suberco Viewpoint and the Nazaré Lighthouse that offers impressive views as we had 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 fishermen's quarter, the port Da Praia, markets and others. You can also choose to stay in apartments arranged for this both in the lower part and in the upper part to live the experience closer to the town.

Surf en NazaréSounds amazing, doesn't it? A coastal town that is said to be quiet and calm, but which 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. Do not miss out on all the experience that the coastal town of Nazaré offers!