Lovely towns

Funicular takes you up

A funicular takes you from downtown Nazaré up to Sítio, the higher part of Nazaré. On the large square next to the church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, young and old get together, souvenirs are sold to tourists, and you can enjoy the view of the village and the beach of Nazaré 110 meters below. In the church there are many azulejos panels, including a Dutch one from the 18th century.

The Igreja (church) da Nossa Senhora da Nazaré (originally from the 12th century, rebuilt in the 17th century) is tiled with lots of beautiful azulejos, but more important is the black Madonna statue. Twice a year, this statue is the destination of pilgrims: on 15 August 15, Assumption Day; and in the 2nd week of September, the Romaria da Senhora da Nazaré.

Opposite the church is a small chapel, the Capela da Memória, alsmost completely covered with azulejos. The chapel was built in memory of the wonder of a nobleman in the 12th century: during a hunt he and his horse were about to fall over the edge which he couldn't see because of very thick mist, when the Holy Virgin appeared at the edge of the abyss. That's when the nobleman saw the abyss just in time and he could turn around and safe his life.

On the westside of the main square, you can descend to the lighthouse (farol). Here the waves of the ocean crash high on the steep cliff.

In Sítio there are several bars, restaurants and terraces for a drink or a meal.

 

Probably the most well known coastal village of the Costa de Prata

Originally Nazaré was a fishing village. Not so very long ago the fishermen used oxes to pull the boats out of the water, helped by men and women standing in the water. Now you can only see this on painted tiles (azulejos) for sale in the many souvenir shops.

The fishermen now use a modern harbour on the southside of the village. On the promenade you can still see the women of Nazaré in their remarkable traditional clothes, wearing and short skirts (in 7 layers) and colourful scarfs and socks. They dry the catch of they day on racks, they sell dried fruits, or rent out rooms to tourists.

Because of the extensive beach, Nazaré is one of the most popular seaside resorts in central Portugal, and especially during the summer months it's very lively. But be aware: the sea can be very rough. And that’s exactly why Nazaré hosts surfing championships every year. The American Garrett McNamara set a new worldrecord in November 2011 with riding a wave more than 27 metres high. In January 2013 he broke is own record by surfing a wave of a stunning 34 metres.

O Sítio

High above the town is O Sítio, which can be reached by a funicular. All of Nazaré can be seen from there, and on a clear day you can see as far as Peniche.

On the main square in Sítio is the Capela da Memória, a small chapel almost completely covered with azulejos.

Also on the square is the 17th century Nossa Senhora da Nazaré Church. Again many azulejos, but more important is the black Madonna. Twice per year this statue attracts many pilgrims: Assumption Day on 15 August, and Romaria da Senhora da Nazaré in the second week of September.

Museums

  • Museu Etnográfico Dr. Joaquim Manso: history and folclore of Nazaré

  • Casa Museu do Pescador: exhibition about the fishing population of Nazaré, located in a traditional fishermen's house

 

www.cm-nazare.pt

One of Portugal's major seaside resorts

Figueira da Foz is a lively and cosmopolitan seaside resort at the mouth of the Mondego River, it’s main asset is its wide and extensive sandy beach.

The beach is many kilometers long, and hundreds of meters wide. It stretches from the mouth of the Mondego to the fishing village Buarcos. Next to Buarcos is the Cabo Mondego, a limestone rock with lighthouse, quarries and browncoal mines.

Northwest of Cabo Mondego is the Serra da Boa Viagem. From the highest point, the Alto da Bandeira (258 meters) you have a fantastic view.

Every year, in the night 23 to 24 June, there is street party in the honor of São João, with parades, fireworks and folk dances.

In the Bairro Novo (new district) there are many hotels, restaurants, discos and a casino. Every year in September there is a film festival in Bairro Novo.

Some of the attractions in Figueira da Foz:
Igreja do Antigo Convento de Santo António (church of the old Santo António convent)
Capela de Santa Catarina (saint Catarina chapel)
Museu Municipal Santos Rocha (municipal museum Santos Rocha). On exhibition are findings from the stone age and the roman period, colonial art, ceramics, carpets, and contemporary art
Igreja Matriz de São Julião (mother church of São Julião)
Mercado Municipal Engenheiro Silva (municipal market halls)

Picturesque fortified town continues to fascinate

West of Caldas da Rainha, is the town of Óbidos. Óbidos is a fortified town located on top of a hill, and still encircled by high walls. Once the town was surrounded by sea, so it was of strategic importance, which explains the high location and high walls.
Dom Dinis gave the town of Óbidos to his wife Isabela as a wedding gift. Together they spent their honeymoon in Óbidos. For ages Óbidos was the wedding gift for every new Portuguese queen.

The whole of the town of Óbidos is declared as a monument. It has many streets, alleys, squares, white houses, shops, and restaurants. The walls are still completely intact, so you can walk all around the village.

Just before the entrance you can find the Tourism office, here you can get your own copy of the Óbidos map and lots of other information.

The Castelo

The Castelo is very old. During the earthquake of 1755 it was heavily damaged. In the 20th century the ruins were reconstructed. After te reconstruction the castle became Portugal’s first poussada in a historic building. Unfortunately it is not open for the public, only for hotel guests.