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

Seaside resort at shellshaped bay

São Martinho do Porto is a friendly village overlooking a famous shell shaped bay with a very narrow entrance from the sea. Because of this the water in the bay is very calm, which makes it ideal for a day at the beach with young children.

Although the number of fishermen is decreasing, they still catch fish and shellfish on a daily basis, which is often sold directly to the restaurants at the bay.

Every year many tourists from Portugal as well as from abroad visit the bay to swim, surf, sail or canoe, or to enjoy the sun on the beach. At night they go for a stroll on the promenade before they have dinner in one of the many restaurants.

Across the bay is Salir do Porto. It has a beach with a famous sand dune of almost 49 meters high. The beach is located near the river Tornada that flows into the São Martinho bay.

It is very nice to walk along the bay. Starting at the port you can walk either on the street or on the beach. From restaurant O Farol there is a boardwalk that takes you through the dunes, and gives you a good view on the variety of flora in the dunes. The boardwalk takes you across the river into Salir do Porto.

From the viewpoint Miradouro do Cruzeiro you have a great view over the bay, São Martinho do Porto, and the area. On a clear day you can even see Peniche and Nazaré.

The market is open every Tuesday to Sunday, offering you a wide range of vegetables, fruit and fish.

www.visit-sao-martinho-do-porto.com

Peniche is full of history

The town of Peniche is located on a peninsula. In the Roman ages Peniche was still an island, but over the years coast and island grew together. In the 17th century Peniche was developed into one of the strongest Portuguese sea fortresses.

Near the harbour is the Fortaleza, a fort that was built in the 17th century to defend the harbour and the town. Through the ages the Fortaleza had many functions. During Salazar’s dictatorial regime the fort was an important state prison. Political opponents of the regime were locked up and tortured in the Fortaleza. Nowadays the town’s museum and the fishing museum are located in the building.

There is a lighthouse on the Cabo Carvoeiro, the most western point of the peninsula. On clear days you have a beautiful view on the Berlenga islands and the coast south of Peniche.

On the southcoast of the peninsula is the Gruta da Furninha, a cave that was inhabited since prehistory. It is therefore the most important prehistoric archeological site of Peniche. Many objects were found, today they are on display in several museums, like the town museum.

Churches

In Peniche you can visit a number of churches and chapels:
- Igreja de São Pedro, Peniches largest church, dates back to the 16th century
- Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, an early 16th century church
- Capela de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, a pilgrimage church, there is a procession every 3rd Sunday of October
- Igreja da Misericórdia, an early 17th century church
- Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Conceição, a 17th century church

Every year, in the first weekend of August, Peniche celebrates the Festa de Nossa Senhora de Boa Viagem, the feast of our lady of the good voyage.

From the harbour of Peniche you can take the boat to the Berlenga islands.

Surfing/beaches

There are many beaches to the north and south of Peniche. Most of these beaches are very popular with surfers because of the superb waves.

On this website you can see all beaches. Just click on the names for more information.