Nazare, more than just a day trip from Lisbon - 9 awesome things to do in Nazare

Nazare, More Than Just a Day Trip From Lisbon – 11 Awesome Things to Do in Nazare

In this post, you will find not only the list of awesome things to do in Nazare, Portugal but also all the reasons why Nazare should be more than just a day trip from Lisbon.

Nazare, Portugal is a laid-back fishing village situated on a wide bay of golden sands – Praia do Nazare.  In the summer, Nazare is a perfect getaway for sun lovers and relaxation seekers. And in the winter, it becomes home to the biggest waves in the world!

I stayed for a week in Nazare. I had some work on this blog, and I found this environment very favourable.  I fell in love with the town and I now consider it to be one of my favourite coastal towns in Portugal. Even though I am not a surfer!

Nazare is often recommended as a great day trip from Lisbon. And yes, as much as the town can be seen in a day, I recommend spending a few days in Nazare. Nazare is a fantastic place to recharge, relax and truly immerse yourself in the Portuguese lifestyle. But surprisingly there are actually also plenty of awesome things to do in Nazare!

What is Nazare Famous For?

Nazare is most famous for its spectacular waves and it attracts the best surfers from around the world!

On February 11, 2020, at Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Maya Gabeira broke the record for the biggest wave ever surfed (also as a woman) on a record-setting wave measuring 73.5 feet (22.4 meters), besting her own previous world record of 68 feet. But the fame of Nazare waves started in 2011 when the Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara won the Billabong XXL Global BigWave Award and entered the Guinness Book of World Records.

I visited in May so the sea most of the time was perfectly calm and inviting rather than dramatic. Yet on my last day, I received a perfect gift and experienced not only the beautiful personality of the sea but also the best sunset I have seen so far, ever!

Things to do in Nazare, Portugal
Things to do in Nazare, Portugal

How Long Should You Stay in Nazare?

Nazare is perfectly walkable, and there are definitely quite a few things to do you could fit in a day. 

But I think that visiting a town like Nazare and rushing around to tick all the boxes defeats the whole purpose of the visit.

Wouldn’t it be nice to allow yourself to spend a day on the beach without rushing back to the city or spend the evening watching the sunset while gorging on the freshest seafood out there? Wake up the next day and get the fresh fruit from the local market and delicious freshly baked pastries and bread?

Things to do in Nazare, Portugal

How about taking an afternoon walk by the promenade, pretending you have nothing to do, walking to the lighthouse for the best photo opportunities and then exploring Praia do Norte, where all the surfers can be found?

Sounds tempting?

Then you should definitely stay in Nazare for a few days.

Three days is a perfect amount of time to spend in Nazare to explore what the town has to offer and spend some time relaxing and enjoying the beach.

Nevertheless, if you only have one spare day while staying in Lisbon, Nazare is still worth visiting. If you are really short on time you can also book a day trip from Lisbon which would cover Nazare, Obidos and Batalha.

Awesome Things to Do in Nazare

Stroll Along the Nazare Promenade

Nazaré is one of the most traditional fishing villages in Portugal, and you can still find some women dressed in traditional skirts with seven petticoats, taking care and selling the fish that dries in the sun, lined up on posts.

Nazare more than just a day trip from Lisbon - awesome things to do in Nazare

Just walking along this beach is an adventure of discovery. As you stroll along the Nazare promenade, you will see traditional colourful boats displayed on the beach. It is a sort of open-air museum. You will find signs explaining the use and the type of the boats!

Things to do in Nazare, Portugal

You will find plenty of cafes, beach bars and restaurants spread along the strip. And of course the beach itself!

Things to do in Nazare, Portugal

Soak Up The Sun on Praia do Nazare

Praia do Nazare is one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, and it is much calmer compared to neighbouring Praia do Norte. The long stretch of golden sand and crystal blue ocean will allow you to spend glorious days soaking up the sun.

You will find numerous beach bars along its promenade where you can get a drink as well as a snack or lunch. In the summer colourful tents open on the beach which adds even more charm to this town.

What better way to spend time in Portugal than to enjoy its remarkable beaches?

Explore the Winding Streets of Nazare Town

I loved getting lost in Nazare’s cobbled streets and discovering its nooks and hidden local restaurants and snack bars. You will find many locals enjoying drinks and food amongst whitewashed buildings with colourful linen drying in the sun.

Walking amongst those buildings and streets was one of my favourite things to do in Nazare, and I always found a corner I hadn’t seen yet.

Things to do in Nazare, Portugal
Things to do in Nazare, Portugal

Explore O Sitio and Take a Funicular Ride

O Sítio is one of Nazare’s famous neighbourhoods located at the top of the impressive headland and is an older part of the town. It is an over 300m high rock cliff and provides one of the most famous views of the Nazare coast. Sitio can be reached on foot or by taking the funicular. 

The walking path is quite steep, yet it’s perfectly walkable. It is paved with cobbled stairs, and you can reach the top in around 20 minutes whilst marvelling at spectacular views. 

I liked walking up on foot and then taking the funicular down as I found the steps to be a bit slippery. It is a great workout as well 🙂

A funicular ride is a lot of fun. The ride costs €2.5 one way and is available throughout the whole day until midnight. 

Once you reach the top, you will find yourself in the charming Old Town, where life seems slower than in Nazare’s main resort. It’s a great place to walk around round and experience authentic Portuguese life and culture. 

Awesome things to do in Nazare - O Sitio

The sites you should visit include Ermida da Memória chapel, Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré and not far away, the Dr. Joaquim Manso Museum, where you can learn about the traditions of Nazaré.

There are also a few restaurants, souvenir stalls and snack bars. 

The viewpoint is spectacular and offers views over the Portuguese coast and Nazare town. 

Awesome things to do in Nazare - O Sitio
Awesome things to do in Nazare - O Sitio
Awesome things to do in Nazare – O Sitio

The Views From São Miguel Arcanjo Fort! 

From O Sitio, you can continue walking towards Farol lighthouse situated at São Miguel Arcanjo Fort, the famous viewing point for Nazare’s big waves.

There is a path that will take you down to Praia do Norte, where you will be able to observe the surfers or just take a walk. Given the dangerous currents and waves, this is not a swimming beach. For swimming, it is best to use a designated part on Praia do Nazare.

Awesome things to do in Nazare - O Sitio

The beach itself is very beautiful, especially at sunset. You should also take a walk all the way to the fort and if you are lucky you might spot some surfers fighting with big waves!

Nazare more than just a day trip from Lisbon - awesome things to do in Nazare
Nazare more than just Things to do in Nazare, Portugal
Things to do in Nazare, Portugal

Take a Surfing lesson

If Nazare is not the best place in the world to learn surfing, I don’t know which is!  

Unless you’re a proficient surfer, I wouldn’t recommend catching the massive waves at Praia do Norte. But there are smaller beaches in the area where you can practice your surfing skills, and The ​Nazaré Surf School ​offers private and group lessons that range from €25 to €60 per person. You can also book packages of 5 classes or surf guiding with lunch included.

Things to do in Nazare, Portugal

Visit Local Market 

Nearly Every town in Portugal has its own Municipal Market. And Nazare is no different. This is the place where you can really get a glimpse of local life, especially in a town like Nazare.

Whilst in Lisbon or other bigger cities you will often find those markets heavily catered towards the tourists, here a market is a place where locals shop for local fruit, vegetables, bread and of course fish!

Things to do in Nazare, Portugal

Taste the Freshest Seafood 

There are plenty of restaurants spread across Nazare where you can have a taste of the freshest seafood. Most of them are lined along the promenade but you will also find great eating spots up in Sitio as well as in the town. 

You will find many Cervejarias where locals sip a beer and eat clams, snails and other small dishes of shellfish as a snack. 

The traditional dish to have whilst in Nazare is of course fish like bacalhau, grilled sardines or octopus.

Awesome things to do in Nazare

A word of warning – be careful with the starters! Waiters often would bring a few appetisers once you have ordered your food. Sometimes they will say, but sometimes they will not that those starters are chargeable – meaning you pay for what you eat. 

This is the case in many smaller towns in Portugal, as I had this happening in Obidos as well. 

Walk Up the Hill to see Pederneira – The Lesser-Known Part of Nazare

The town of Nazaré is divided into three different areas: downtown on the seafront, Sítio on top of the cliff and, Pederneira – the uptown. I took a walk up the Paderneira and found a wonderful viewpoint – Miradouro da Pederneira but also many narrow cute streets and church Igreja da Misericórdia da Pederneira. 

It is a very peaceful part of the town and really worth exploring. 

Awesome things to do in Nazare

Make Nazare a Base for Further Explorations

Apart from all the great things to do in Nazare itself, you can also make it a base for further explorations.

Nazare can be a great base to explore nearby towns and attractions such as the beautiful Alcobaça Monastery or the UNESCO World Heritage Site Monastery of Batalha. You can also visit Sao Martinho do Porto, a typical holiday resort located just 13 kilometres from Nazaré.

Historic Óbidos is a fantastic day trip from Lisbon but can also be visited if you are staying in Nazare. Although I have to mention that there is no great public connection between those locations, renting a car would be recommended.

How to Get to Nazare From Lisbon

Nazare is located 80km from Lisbon. The best and cheapest way to get to Nazare from Lisbon is by bus. This route is served by Rede Expressos company and the Bus departs from Lisbon Oriente station. The ticket as of May 2021 costs between €8 and €11 (depending on when you book) one way and the journey lasts around an hour and a half.

You can book the ticket with Omio or Busbud as well.

How to Get to Nazare From Porto

It takes 3 and a half hours to get to Nazare from Porto.  The best and cheapest way to get from Porto to Nazaré is by bus which costs 12€ – 15€ and is operated by Rede Expressos. The bus will stop right in the town centre. 

There is a train you could take from Porto to Nazare but it stops at Valado station which is located 5km away from the town and the journey is longer. No point, really. 

Best Time to Visit Nazare

Nazare is an all-year destination depending on what attractions or activities you are after.

For its magnificent waves, the best time to visit is between October and March. For the sun and sunbathing, it would have to be June to September.

There are plenty of sunny days on offer all year long in Nazare. The temperature can get down to around 10° to 7° in the winter, and you will get a few more rainy days. Given the town is located on the Atlantic oceanfront, the evenings, even in May, can get cold, so pack a warm sweater or a jacket. During the day you can wear sandals and shorts starting from May or even April all the way to October.

For the hottest weather, visit Nzare in July and August when the temperature can go well above 24°. Mind you, that is also the busiest time of the year when the sleepy town transforms into a bustling beach resort. If you’d rather avoid that, I recommend the months of May, June and September for great weather and an authentic feel.

Where to Stay in Nazare, Portugal

There are plenty of charming little hotels and homestays in Nazare and a few excellent hostels.

There are a few cool surfers hostels in Nazare like Lab Hostel Nazaré and Nazaré Hostel.

But I found them very expensive and realised that you can get a nice private room for the same price of just a little bit more.

I stayed in Bairro Típico – Casas da Bela and I loved it. I had a small room with a shower and a mini kitchenette. No stove but I had a kettle, microwave and some kitchenware which was fine for a few days. It was one of the cutest places I stayed. And there was a washing machine we could use free of charge!

If you fancy a little more room and comfort I recommend Maiores Ondas do Mundo or Home Sweet Praia.

And if you are more than one person, I highly recommend renting one of the cute apartments like the Apartamento Bela Vista or Casa da Avó.

I haven’t seen all the fishing towns and beach resorts in Portugal. Yet 🙂 I was utterly charmed by Nazare and loved all seven days I spent there. To be honest, I could stay longer. Actually, I could live there!

Try to get at least a couple of days to experience the charm and magic of this town, yet even if time won’t allow you – Nazare is worth a visit, even for a day.

I hope you found my guide to awesome things to do in Nazare useful, and if you decide to visit please leave a comment below and let me know how did you enjoy your time.

Happy travelling!

Heading to Lisbon next? make sure you read my post about the best day trips from Lisbon that are not Sintra and one that cannot be missed is the most charming medieval town in Portugal – Obidos.

Read here about a true hidden gem near Lisbon – Setubal and Troia Penisula!

For exciting photo opportunities, you should take a trip from Porto to Aveiro and Costa Nova.

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