Nazaré is one of many beautiful coastal towns along Portugal’s Silver Coast. It’s known worldwide for its huge waves, surfing, and beautiful beaches – but there are a ton of other fun things to do in Nazaré than that.
It’s a city with an awesome vibe that gets crazy busy during the summer and the surf competition season. The city is also full of history (which dates back to at least 711) and is surrounded by beautiful nature on all sides.
After travelling to Nazaré we have compiled a list of what we think is the top 11 things to do in Nazaré.
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What to do in Nazaré, Portugal?
#1 Hike down to Forna do Orca Cave
This famous cave can only be entered when the sea is calm. If you’ve seen the waves in Nazaré you know the sea gets pretty wild. Anyhow, you can access Forna do Orca cave either by the stairs from above or by the beach.
It’s a few minutes’ walk from the Nazaré lighthouse down to the stairs where you can enter Forna do Orca. If you’re already relaxing and hanging out at the Praia do Norte then you can just access the cave from the main entrance.
It’s such a great spot to watch the waves and the sunset as the beach is usually quiet and empty and the view from above the cave is unbelievable.
Make sure you watch out for high tide though! The waves get stuck inside the cave when the tide comes in and it can get quite dangerous. You definitely don’t want to be inside the cave when that’s happening.
#2 Catch the BIG waves
If you find yourself in Nazaré while the big waves are around, this will be the main attraction!
Professional surfers from all over the world come to catch the big waves in Nazaré and try to break a new world record. It’s quite spectacular to watch. In case you didn’t know, the largest wave ever surfed was surfed right here in Nazaré.
You might be wondering, why Nazaré of all places is the place with the biggest waves in the world. (We always thought it was somewhere in Hawaii or Brazil). But the reason behind is actually super interesting!
Just off the coast of Nazaré, there is something called the Nazaré Canyon. Imagine the Grand Canyon but under water! This canyon affects the way the waves act and combined with the right wind direction, ocean swell, and the tides these massive waves are created. It’s so cool!
#3 Go to the top of Farol de Nazaré
For €1 you can go inside the Farol de Nazaré. On the main floor, you’ll find some information on the Nazaré Canyon and surfing. As we mentioned above, the biggest wave ever surfed was right here in Nazaré. In 2021, António Laureano surfed a 101.4-foot wave (that’s 30.9 meters)!
Once you’ve read about the history and seen the cool surfboards inside Farol de Nazaré you can climb up the rooftop where you can get an amazing view of all the big waves crashing into the cliffs next to the building.
There are plenty of places to get a good view of the surfers and the waves but up here on the rooftop of Farol de Nazaré is definitely the best spot. You’re basically right above the waves as they come crashing down. It’s the best €1 you can spend in Nazaré.
#4 Ride the funicular in Nazaré
Apart from the surf and the big waves, the Nazaré Funicular is one of the main attractions of Nazaré. The funicular connects two out of three neighbourhoods in Nazaré which are Praia and Sítio.
Praia is, as the name indicates, the neighbourhood by the beach, Praia da Nazaré. Sítio is the neighbourhood up top which is where you’ll find a cute town square with the church, Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré.
If you want to ride the funicular, you can ride it for €1.50 one way or €2.90 return. It runs every 15 minutes from 7.15 am until midnight. Alternatively, you can also “hike” the funicular trail which also takes you by the swing!
#5 Find the Baloico de Ladeira (swing) overlooking Nazaré
On the funicular trail you can find the Baloico de Ladeira. A baloiço is a panoramic swing and you can find them all over Portugal. There are 102 of them and they’re always placed at the most beautiful places. (We also found one in Óbidos overlooking the castle city).
If you decide to hike the Funicular Trail in Nazaré, about halfway up the trail you’ll find this beautiful swing overlooking the city and Praia da Nazaré. The swing is the perfect place to watch one of Nazaré’s famous sunsets.
We had the swing to ourselves but if you do go for sunset you may want to go a little early before other people get the same idea.
The swing is quite easy to find as it’s just on the main trail that starts in the Praia neighbourhood of Nazaré and takes you up towards the neighbourhood of Sítio. Once you’re on the trail the swing is impossible to miss. Enjoy the view! 🙂
#6 Hike to the top of Monte de São Bartolomeu
The hike up to the top of Monte de São Bartolomeu is short and sweet and offers some amazing views overlooking Nazaré. The hike starts just a short drive from the city and the hike up should take you 15-20 minutes up a set of stairs that eventually lead to a viewpoint.
At the top of the viewpoint, you can find a cute little church (Ermida de São Bartolomeu) that has been somewhat preserved and you can even walk inside it. Next to the church, you can see a tall lookout tower that should, hopefully, be open during the more touristy months of the year (in November it was closed).
If you’re lucky and the lookout tower is open then you should be able to walk up the stairs to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking Nazaré and the beautiful countryside around.
#7 Try some street food with a view
Not too far from the famous Nazaré lighthouse, you can find a bunch of street food stands. At these food stands you can find burgers, smoothie bowls, and yummy vegetarian food as well. Usually one of the stands will play music out loud which creates a really good vibe!
You can either enjoy the vibe and hang out or you can take your food to go and find a spot to sit at one of the beautiful viewpoints nearby. This area of Nazaré is awesome because you’re actually above the city of Nazaré and up on the cliffs so wherever you end up eating your street food you’ll be surrounded by beauty.
#8 Take a surfing lesson in Nazaré
What is a trip to one of the most world-famous surf towns if you don’t go surfing!? And no, we don’t mean on the big waves – those are for pros only. You can, however, try out surfing on Praia da Nazaré which is the beach on the south side of the city.
You can take a surf lesson (private or group) with a surf school such as Nazaré Surf School. Their lessons are suited both for beginners and intermediate surfers and start at €25 an hour. Or if you’ve tried surfing a few times already and feel confident in the water, you can also just rent gear from them!
If you’re not into surfing, you can sit on the beach and enjoy the beautiful view while checking out the surfers.
#9 Explore the deer park in Nazaré
You probably wouldn’t know there’s a deer park in Nazaré unless you randomly stumbled upon it. On the outskirts of town, you can find this beautiful park called Pinhal de Casa de Nossa Senhora.
The park is quite big with nice walking trails where you’ll see deer and other animals roaming around. It’s a nice place to have a picnic and relax for a few hours. You can even park your campervan there overnight under the trees and away from the city if you want to camp off-grid for a night.
#10 Try some food at the Mercado Municipal de Nazaré
One thing we love about Portugal is the fact that lots of the fish, fruit, and veggies you eat are quite local. We always try to buy local food whenever we get a chance. The local market in Nazaré has an awesome selection of fresh food, especially if you come early in the morning.
The Mercado Municipal de Nazaré isn’t a huge market but it definitely has everything you need, a wide variety from cheeses to fish and all the fresh fruit and veg you can think of. You can easily be in and out in less than half an hour.
The prices in the market are quite good and the quality of the products is great. It’s nice to check out and stock up on the food you may need.
#11 Go on a day trip to Grutas de Mira de Aire
If you have access to a car or a van, then you NEED to go on a day trip to Grutas de Mira de Aire. Grutas de Mira Aire is the biggest cave in all of Portugal and it is located less than an hour from Nazaré.
We went on a guided tour of the caves and it was so interesting to see and learn more about the cave system and its history. The tour itself is roughly an hour and a half long and costs around 7.50€ and will bring you down deep into the cave system.
The tour is in Portuguese but they have a little pamphlet that has all the information in English. We don’t speak Portuguese but still really enjoyed the tour. It was definitely worth the drive to see this natural wonder!
You may also like…
- 3 of the Best Camping Spots in Nazaré
- 9 Awesome Things to Do in Obidos, Portugal
- The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Portugal
Enjoy these things to do in Nazaré
As you can see, there is a lot more to Nazaré than “just” the big waves. We hope this guide on the different things to do in Nazaré helped you while planning your trip.
We personally enjoyed this little city so much that we went here twice during our road trip on the Silver Coast of Portugal.
If you’re doing a road trip as well and are looking for a place to camp in Nazaré, then check out this guide with 3 of the Best Camping Spots in Nazaré.
And if you have any questions about Nazaré, leave a comment below and we’ll try our best to help you! 🙂