Nazaré – Portugal
Renowned for having the tallest waves in the world, Nazaré is a mecca for surfers who make a “pilgrimage” to experience waves that have been known to reach 30 meters – 98 feet in height.
High-powered, brightly colored fishing boats bob out at sea and rest on the sands of the crescent-shaped mile-long beaches. Bars, restaurants, tourist souvenir stores, and bakeries line the seafront promenade that snakes beneath a backdrop of white-washed, red-roofed buildings all the way to the fishing harbor.
We visited in the spring when the turquoise waters were as clear, calm, and gentle as a lake. Summer attracts hordes of visitors who come to enjoy the swimming and gorgeous wide beach, while winter brings the gargantuan waves.
We drove to the Upper Town, Sitio, where a clifftop plaza offers spectacular views from the Miradouro do Suberco viewpoint. A short walk to Praia do Norte on the Northern side of the Sitio headland led us to the spot where surfers come to experience the world-famous waves that are non-existent in spring.
A strange statue of a surfing deer with elaborate horns tells the legend of Dom Fuas Roupinho, who fell off the cliff and was saved by Our Lady of Nazaré.
Our visit ended with a leisurely fresh-fish lunch at an outdoor restaurant perched on the cliffs with a seagull as our companion and an unbeatable view.