Looking for the best things to do in Nazare, Portugal? This guide is for you!

We spent two incredible nights in Nazaré on our 3-week road trip through Portugal. Nazaré was one of our favorite stops!

things to do in nazare portugal

Immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of Portugal’s premier fishing village, Nazare. From its beautiful coastline to colorful storefronts and lively beach bars and cabanas, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

As you stroll through the town, you’ll meet fishermen and local ladies outfitted in vibrant petticoats who will share stories about their rich fishing culture. Then, you’ll make your way up Sitio while taking in breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean as daring surfers ride massive waves nearby—a sight definitely not to miss!

Best Things To Do in Nazare, Portugal

1. Soak up the Portuguese Sun on Praia Da Nazaré (translated to Nazaré Beach)

Praia da Nazare, or Nazaré Beach, is a pristine central beach in Nazare that has a ton of cute cafes and beachside restaurants and bars for you to enjoy. During the warmer months, you can rent jet skis and other water sports rental services right on the sand!

the vast beach of Praia da nazare

2. Open Air Traditional Boat and Dried Fish Exhibit

Our VRBO host recommended we explore the traditional Nazare boat and dried fish exhibit, which initially sounded like an odd tourist attraction. Yet, much to our surprise it was pretty interesting to visit!

For many centuries, Nazare was the largest fishing village in Portugal. Fishermen on the Nazare beach were hauled up to the shore by oxen to unload their freshly caught fish daily.

visit nazare to see wooden boat exhibit
traditional fisherman boat on nazare beach

Also Read: Guide to Algarve Portugal

This changed in 1986 when a new harbor was constructed for the fishermen. However, Visitors can still experience a glimpse into this ancient tradition by viewing the traditional fishing boats set up on display along the beach.

where local fishermen dry out fish
dried fish on nets on nazare beach

Consider supporting the local community by purchasing dried fish from one of the many women who have set up makeshift market stalls along the beach.

Next to the boat exhibit, local men and women tend to the assortment of famous sun-dried, salted fish stretched across the netting.

The exhibit is free. Note: We were there in the off-season, and only a few stalls were set up. In the summer months, you’ll find a larger selection of vendors!

Book Car:  Portugal Car Rental 

3. Take a ride on the Nazare Funicular

For those looking for a unique way to explore Nazare, take the Nazare Funicular—a cable car ride that takes you ~1,000 feet up to some of the city’s best sights!

The Funicular was built in 1889 but fully modernized in 2002. The funicular railway connects the two communities of Nazare (the beach community and the cliff-top community of Sitio). Many locals use it as their primary mode of transport.

funicular from above showing praia da nazare in back
cable car from nazare beach up to praia do norte



The Nazaré Funicular runs from 7:15 am to midnight and departs every 15-30 minutes.

Price of Nazaré Funicular:

The funicular is surprisingly affordable with a round trip costing just under 3 euros.

Tip: If you plan on taking numerous rides during your visit, consider investing in a weekly Funicular pass.

4. Beach day at Praia Do Norte

(home of the record-breaking giant wave!)

Praia Do Norte, or North Beach as commonly known is renowned for its giant waves, which have broken Guinness World Records!

HBO even featured the world’s largest waves in their docuseries ‘100 Foot Wave.’

praia do norte to watch the big wave tour

Staying the night? Here are all your hotel options in Nazare, Portugal.

It’s fascinating to learn that an underwater canyon at Praia do Norte, known as the Nazaré Canyon, which reaches 16,000 feet (5,000 meters) below sea level, forms these giant waves.

During the summer, the waves at Praia do Norte are calmer, making it a great place to sunbathe. From October to March (aka Big Wave Season), the Praia do Norte becomes a mecca for surfers!

5. The Farol Da Nazare (aka Nazaré Lighthouse)

Sāo Miguel Arcanjo fort, home to the Nazaré lighthouse and surf museum, sits upon a 1,050-foot (318-meter) cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

The Nazaré lighthouse itself is quite impressive. It offers views of Praia do Norte and a sweeping view of the town of Nazare and the surrounding coastline.

lighthouse that over looks the big waves at Praia do norte
Light house surf musuem that showcases guinness world record for biggest waves surfed at Nazare

Visit during big wave season to spot fearless surfers attempting massive waves!

The Lighthouse Surfing Museum is located inside the tower. It houses a collection of photographs and artifacts documenting the surfers and their surfboards that have made this area famous in the surf world.

Also Read: Ultimate Portugal Guide

The Nazare Lighthouse is about a half-mile walk from the top. If you do not wish to walk, some tuk-tuks and jeeps will drive you for around 2 Euros each way.

6. The Veado

Halfway down to the lighthouse, you will come across a massive statue. It is half human and half deer, holding an oversized surfboard – it’s the Veado!

This sculpture embodies an ancient legend from centuries past and introduces a new realm of big wave surfing at Nazare.

statue to see when you visit nazaré overlooking the Praia do norte beach

Legend has it… 

Saint Joseph originally sculpted the statue before it was passed on to Saint Jerome and then to Saint Augustine. It eventually landed in a monastery in Spain.

Then, a monk named Romano fled with the statue to a village that is now known as Nazare.

Don’t Forget To Pack Reef Safe Sunscreen

statue that represent deer hunter legend and big waves surfing in Nazare

Then, in 1182, a warrior named Dom Fuas Roupinho hunted deer in the area. He and his horse chased a deer through thick fog to the cliff’s edge. The deer jumped off the cliff, but Dom Fuas Rouphinho’s horse managed to stop before going over the edge.

Dom attributed his survival to the Veado Statue!

7. Ermida da Memória

While visiting Sitio, be sure to stop and check out the Ermida da Memoria (translated to Memory Hermitage) also known as the Chapel of Our Lady of Nazaré.

This adorable little chapel is covered in painted ceramic blue tiles (azulejos).

chapel of our lady of Nazare with virgin mary

The chapel is small, so you only need a few minutes to peek inside.

Book: Day Trip to Obidos, Nazare, Fatima, and Batalha.

8. Cocktails at Beach Club Restaurant

Nazare is known not only for its legendary waves but also for its lively beachside restaurants and bars. The old town’s narrow streets are lined with cafes and restaurants offering an array of traditional Portuguese and international cuisine.

Various restaurants and bars on the beach serve fresh seafood and delicious cocktails.

cocktails at beach at Praia da nazare
local restaurant on the beach to have cocktail in hot summer

Michael and I stopped at Bússola na onda to enjoy an afternoon cocktail. We visited Nazare during the winter season, so only a few beach bars were open.

For a more lively beach bar experience, we highly recommend going during the warm summer months.

9. Shop at Mercado Municipal da Nazaré

Exploring the local markets is one of our favorite activities when visiting a new country. The Mercardo Municipal da Nazare did not disappoint!

Located in the heart of Nazare, this vibrant market offers an array of fresh and delicious local produce, spices, seafood, and other traditional Portuguese items.

market to get grilled fish, fruits and other groceries.
fish nets laden in market
town market with groceries and other Nazare gifts

Few vendors spoke English, so we relied heavily on Google Translator when ordering snacks and juices. The prices were reasonable since it was more of a local market than targeting tourists.

We filled up on an array of fruit, olives, and nuts for the rest of our Portugal 3-week road trip.

Also Read: Portugal Guide: Lisbon to Porto

How to Visit Nazare, Portugal

Getting There

We had a car during our 3-week road trip through Portugal.

You can explore Nazare in various ways—we personally selected to drive there and devote two full days to exploring.

Book Car:  Portugal Car Rental 

The Get Your Guide day trip from Lisbon is the perfect option if your trip is limited.

These excursions include visits to many surrounding towns like Fatima, Batalha, and Obidos and an opportunity to take in all that Nazare has to offer.

Popular Get Your Guide Day Trips

Nazare by Car

Driving: Lisbon to Nazare takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

If you follow our 3-Week-Portugal Roadtrip guide, you will arrive in Obidos, which is only a 30-minute drive away.

Parking: We found parking in Nazare easy to navigate during winter. However, we have been told that parking can be a bit tricky in the summer months. If visiting Nazare during the summer, we recommend finding a hotel or Airbnb with dedicated parking before arrival.


Bus: A bus runs from Lisbon to Nazare for those who do not wish to drive. The trip is said to take 2-3 hours.

When writing this article, the Bus fare from Nazare to Lisbon costs ~15 Euro each way.

Where to Stay in Nazare, Portugal

Nazare is split into two areas: the Praia (the main beach and town) and the Sitio (the area of town up on the cliff). Praia is flat and walkable, with many great beach restaurants and shops nearby.

We recommend finding a hotel or guest house in the main beach town.

Best Hotels Nazare:

We highly recommend this guest house.

Our stay at the Pearl Guest House was one of a kind. It provided us with two comfortable bedrooms and a contemporary living space that offered stunning ocean views.

We were also within walking distance of beach restaurants, shops, and a funicular. To top it all off, this guest house had private gated parking.

guest house on praia da nazare in central portugal

Eating and Drinking in Nazare, Portugal

A visit to the fishing town of Nazare is not complete without a visit to a Portuguese fish dinner! You will find lots of restaurant options in the main town, as well as in Sitio.

Note: Nazare restaurants had some of the highest prices we encountered in Portugal. Most of the grilled fish meals were between 20 and 30 euros. However, we were able to find a few great restaurants that offered delicious meals at a more reasonable price.

Favorite Nazare Restaurants:

  • O Veleiro – fresh seafood, big portions, and one of Nazare’s more affordable seafood places.
  • Taberninha– nice fish dinner & wine (more $$$)
  • Bússola na onda– restaurant and bar on the sand. Great cocktails and seafood rice.
  • Little India– incredible Indian food if you need a break from all the Portuguese fish.
  • Mercado Municipal– the local market for groceries, snacks, coffee, and juices.
taberninha seafood restaurant shrimp
taberninha seafood restaurant

Check out this Day Trip to Obidos, Nazare, Fatima, and Batalha.

Nazare Portugal FAQs

Is Nazaré Worth Visiting?

Yes! Nazare has beautiful views, expansive beaches, and great seafood restaurants. It is worth a visit if you have the time. While eating out may be expensive, the stunning beaches and abundance of free activities are more than a makeup for it.

How much time do you need in Nazare?

The amount of time you spend in Nazare will depend on your preferences. We suggest spending at least one full day exploring the town and its surroundings.

If you want to spend a few days in Nazare, plenty is to keep you occupied, including day trips to surrounding towns, beach activities, museums, and more!

Also Read: Best Beach Town in Portugal!

What is Nazare known for?

Nestled on the coast of Portugal, Nazare is a treasured fishing village that has evolved into an internationally acclaimed hotspot for big-wave surfing. Thanks to the discovery of the Nazare Canyon, which helps form perfect giant waves, this charming seaside town attracts big-wave surfers from around the world.

Can you swim in Nazare?

Swimming at Nazare is possible. However, the waters at Praia da Nazare can be very rough and should be cautiously approached. If you want calmer waters to swim in, we recommend driving 15-20 minutes south of Nazare to São Martinho do Porto.

nazare family vacation beach spots

When are the biggest waves in Nazare?

Big Wave Season begins in November and ends in February. Redbull’s website will provide the most up-to-date information on the Big Wave Challenge at the Praia do Norte!

This post is all about the best things to do in Nazare, Portugal.

Trip Planning & Packing Freebee

Subscribe + get our FREE trip planning and packing must-haves!

Explore More