Even though Nazare doesn’t have the architectural charm of Obidos it still remains one of the most important fishing villages in Portugal. Its 9,000 or so inhabitants have for many years eked out their living from trading in the plentiful supply of fish from the Atlantic, that is still dried in the sun along the seafront. Recent years however have seen a revival of its fortunes with the introduction of tourism that co-exists without taking away its charm.
This has been significantly boosted by a surfing boom, several world records have been set including the highest wave ever surfed and this has drawn surfers and their supporters from all over the world.
The town is said to derive its name from a statue of the Virgin Mary being brought here from Nazareth, Palestine, in the 4th Century, it is the population, however, with their ethnic characteristics and customs, that is one of the main attractions. Their art of fishing, ships, vocabulary, gastronomy and clothes all differ from other parts of Portugal. The women are seen wearing black when their husbands are fishing or skirts of seven layers and seven different colours, denoting their husbands are home and safe.
The town itself is divided into three parts, with the original part, Sitio, built on a rock 110 metres above the new town and reached by a funicular. From Sito, you have wonderful views over the old city centre, Pederneira, and the famous beach, Praya. Well worth a visit is the Casa Museu do Pescador, a museum dedicated to the fishing history of Nazare, and of course the chapel, Ermida da Memoria, that clings to the cliff face, and is where the Virgin Mary appeared to save the local Nobleman Dom Fuas Roupinho in 1182.
Strolling the boulevards bars and restaurants of Nazare it is well worth sampling the delicious local fish dishes and if visiting from the 8th to 15th September the Romaria da Nossa Senhora de Nazaré (Our Lady of Nazaré Festival), one of the most famous pilgrimages in Portugal, that includes folk dancing, singing, and bullfights, is well worth a visit. Nazare Property for sale