In Search of Big Waves in Nazaré, Portugal

The coast of Portugal is lined with numerous onetime fishing villages which now make much of their living from tourism as summer beach resorts. One excellent example is Nazaré, up north halfway between Lisbon and Porto, with its main beach, Praia da Nazaré, offering more than 1.5 kilometres (just under a mile) of fine sand and considered one of this country’s best. In recent years it’s become a mecca for surfers thanks to some of the world’s biggest waves – rising up to 30 metres (98 feet) due to a massive underwater canyon off the coast some 5km (three mi.) deep.

A perfect day in Nazaré would be to enjoy its beaches in the morning, then have a walk to one of the seafront restaurants for some delicious seafood and other Portuguese delicacies. In the afternoon, take another stroll along the soaring cliffs nearby as well as the 16th-century Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo, which in addition to providing spectacular vistas of those spectacular waves is also home to a museum which includes information about surfing and the offshore Nazaré Canyon which are the cause of those waves.

And by the way, if you can make it here in early September, consider popping another two hours up the coast to Matosinhos, where the two-day Nova Era Beach Party is a two-day EDM festival that caps off the summer, drawing world-class acts and considered one of Europe’s biggest beach parties.

So if you’re looking for a cool beach getaway next summer – whether you’re a surfer or not – use your Iberia Joven discount to book a ticket to Lisbona, then hop an hour and a half up to Nazaré. Sun, sand, surf and fun await!

Photo: Margietje75