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Nazaré is possibly the most famous fishing town in Portugal with an atmosphere of times gone by. Contentment and traditions that continue to thrive make I a special place to visit. It was once a seaside village that has today grown into a busy seaside resort, the little town itself was first established up on the cliffs at Sitio.

Traditions Abound

Despite its popular seaside status there are still elements of traditional ways with the brightly painted fishing boats moored at the beach and women in traditional dress under the name of “ seven skirts of Nazaré”, seven layers of brightly coloured petticoats. They are said to represent the days of week or colours of the rainbow but seems to have arisen from fishermen’s wives trying to keep themselves warm in winter.

These days the women are often busy mending nets or selling fruit and nuts on the beach to the visitors. The wooden fishing boats still used today are colorful and narrow with curved prows and decoration evocative of the first fishermen of the area; the Phoenicians, who settled here in pre-Christian times and on some prows you will see a watchful eye painted in theory o detect the two most important things to a fisherman, shoals and storms and many dangle lamps for fishing after sunset.


Located on a rocky promontory over 100m above the main part of the town, Sitio provides wonderful views over the bay and beach of Nazaré, and from here the walker can continue northward along the stretches of beach where the Atlantic regularity pounds creating ideal conditions for many a shore fisher to cast a line.

Although this mainly residential part of Nazaré is accessible by car, by far more interesting I the funicular carriage that takes passengers up the sharp lope for a small fee. You can take the funicular up the 110-metre rock face (7.15am – 2am daily) for the viewpoint ate the top. A winding path also exists but is perhaps more appealing on way down


Once at the top, besides the views you’ll find a large church and also a small chapel clinging to the edge of the sheer drop, the Ermida da Memória, whose origins are closely connected to the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary.

The legend goes that one misty morning in 1182, local nobleman Dom Fuas Roupinho was hunting and realised at the last moment that he had in fact chased his deer to the very edge of the cliff, just as he too was about to fall to his death, he, he cried out to Our lady of Nazaré who appeared before him and halted his horse.

In honour of this life-saving miracle, Roupinho ordered a chapel to be built. Over the years it attracted many pilgrims and today visitors can still see the tale depicted in hand painted azulejos and even supposed footprint of Roupinhos horse engraved in a stone found in the crypt below the chapel.

The 17th century church, Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Nazaré is decorated with attractive Dutch azulejos and is central to the romaria on 8 September and the following weekend that includes processions, bullfights and folk dances. There is also Sitio that stages bullfights on Saturday night during high season.


The gastronomy typical of Nazaré is characterized by fish and shellfish dishes of several species and preparation manners. The “Caldeirada” (fish stew), the grilled fresh fish (sardines, horse-mackerels, golden-breams and rock-basses, etc), the “Massa de Peixe” (sort of fish soup with small noodles) with rock-bass or sea-bream, are the most emblematic specialities. The gastronomic offer also includes dishes like “Arroz de Marisco” (shellfish rice), “Açorda de Marisco” (shellfish bread panada), “Arroz de Tamboril” (monk-fish rice) and Cataplanas (with fish or/and shellfish), among others; shellfish like cockles, clams, shrimps and spider-crabs are part of the specialities, which can be tasted in the many restaurants of the town.
Almost impossible to find in the restaurants, but well known and appreciated by all is the sun-dried fish: dried or half-dried (enjoados) horse-mackerel and sardines, among others; can be bought in the Marginal Avenue , in front of the Cultural Centre of Nazaré in the “Estendal” (drying ground).
Támares, sardines (sweets) and Nazarenos are the most important sweet pastries that can be tasted in the many confectioners and pastry-shops of Nazaré.


The local handicrafts express the relation between the town and the ocean, being the typical dolls and the miniature boats the most relevant pieces of manual work.
Small boats, in wood or ceramic, reproduce, sometimes to the scale, the boats that once were this town’s life. Little dolls traditionally dressed with the working or festive costume and mini fishermen with stocking-cap and tartan trousers are a delight to everyone.
Fishing nets of several sizes, shapes and uses – ornamental and/or utilitarian – are part of the crafts of the fishermen.
Being a town of artists and skilful artisans, here is possible to find oil canvas painting and watercolors depicting coastal life and seascapes, as well as sailor’s arts (mariner’s knots).

Places to Visit

Capela da Memória (Memory Chapel)

Address: Estrada Nacional 242, 2450 NAZARÉ

It is a small quadrangular temple, whose walls are lined with 17th and 18th century blue and white tile panels. From the entrance door it’s possible to see, on each side, two marble panels with the legend of the miracle according to the version of the Cistercian friar Bernardo de Brito. A small flight of stairs leads to the original grotto where the statue of the Virgin was once hidden. 
Outside, on the façade turned to the sea, a tile panel represents the miracle of the lifesaving of D. Fuas Roupinho by Our Lady of Nazaré.

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré)
Address:  Largo Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, 2450 Nazaré

Due to the growing afflux of pilgrims to the Memory Chapel, King Ferdinand, in 1377, ordered the primitive church to be built to guard the sacred statue of the Virgin.
Quite changed and enlarged on the following reigns, the present building, of baroque outline and high bell towers, shows the great changes it underwent in the end of the 17th century.
The interior has a single nave and a high altar in gilded woodcarving with twisted columns, from where stands out a canvas depicting the miracle of Our Lady of Nazaré to D. Fuas Roupinho. On the throne, at the centre, the worshipped statue of the Virgin of Nazaré can be admired. The walls of the tops of the transept are lined with beautiful 18th century blue and white tile panels from the Dutch master W. Van Kloet, representing scenes from the Old Testament.

Forte de S. Miguel Arcanjo (St. Michael Archangel Fort)

Address: Estrada do Farol, 2450 Sítio, Nazaré

Situated at the far end of the promontory of Sítio, the Fort was built in 1577 by the orders of King Sebastian to protect the beach from the attacks of Algerian, Moroccan and Norman pirates. 
After the restoration of the Portuguese monarchy, King John V ordered the renewal and enlargement of the original fort, giving it the outline it still keeps. 
It is a remarkable military monument of coastline defence with mannerist characteristics, with an irregular plan adapted to the base of the promontory where it stands on. Above the entrance door is a low-relief statue of St. Michael Archangel and the inscription “El-Rey Dom Joam o Quarto – 1644”.
During the first French invasion (1807/1808), the fort was occupied by the soldiers of Napoleon I, that the population of Sítio and Pederneira helped to expel, thus becoming a symbol of popular resistance. Since 1903 a lighthouse to help navigation, reaching 15 miles, is installed here. 

Capela de Sto. António (St. Anthony Chapel)
Address: Avenida da República, 2450 Nazaré

Overlooking the beach, St. Anthony Chapel was built in 1861 at the fishermen’s expenses, who deducted 1% of their profits as “the saint’s money”.
Its façade is completely lined with blue and white tiles and, on the middle, a little tile panel depicts St. Anthony. The interior has a single nave covered by a wooden ceiling and the walls are lined with a blue and white tile ashlar. The main chapel presents a statue of the saint.

Capela de Nª Sra. dos Aflitos (Our Lady of the Desperates Chapel)
Address: Avenida da República, 2450 Nazaré

It is a small rectangular temple with a large and single space. It was built in 1760 by the orders of the Cistercians monks of Alcobaça and devoted to the cult of Our Lady of the Desperates.
The façade is lined with blue and white pattern tiles. Inside, a blue and yellow and white flower pattern tile ashlar lines the walls. The sidewalls of the high altar have two figurative panels, representing, on the Epistle Side “the Stigmatization of St. Francis” and, on the Gospel side “St. Anthony and Baby Jesus”. The high altar has pseudo-twisted columns with cubic capitals and, at the centre, the statue of the Saint.

Monumento à Mulher da Nazaré (Nazarene Woman Monument)
Address: Largo dos Cedros, 2450 Nazaré

Located at Cedros Square, this monument in honour of the women of Nazaré was planned by Fernando Pedro and was inaugurated in 1998, May 9th. Made in concrete, it alternates three boat prows with three statues of women in working costumes. The prows are partially lined with tile panels allusive to the women’s past daily life. The presence of water and the illumination remember the former occupation of this square – a public fountain. 

Capela de Nossa Sra. dos Anjos (Our Lady of the Angels Chapel) 

Situated near the entrance of Pederneira, this is a small temple with 16th century appearance, quite changed by successive improvements in the following centuries. The entrance porch is the only remain of its old architectonic style. The chapel is sided by a small oratory. 
The interior has a single nave partially lined with 17th century tiles. The two collateral altars present two 16th century paintings representing “St. Gabriel Angel” and “The Annunciation Virgin”.

Igreja Paroquial de Nª Sra das Areias - Matriz (ParishChurch of Our Lady of the Sands - Mother Church)

Address: Largo Bastião Fernandes Pederneira, 2450 Nazaré

The Mother-Church of the previous municipality of Pederneira is a large temple built in the end of the 16th century, with a single nave covered by a whitewashed vault. The main chapel has a 17th century gilded woodcarving altar, as well as beautiful canvas of the same period allusive to St. Anthony. The nave walls and the main chapel are lined with a 17th century green, blueand yellow pattern tile ashlar, finished by “carpet” like tiles. In the main chapel, over two doors, ceramic picture-frames with the Bulhões cross have the following inscription: “St. Anthony devotees ordered the building of this chapel. Year 1637”. 

Antiga Casa da Câmara (Old Town Hall)

Address: Largo Bastião Fernandes, Pederneira

Horário: De 2ª feira a Domingo, das 14.00 às 18.00 horas
In Pederneira, in Bastião Fernandes Square, near the ParishChurch, is located the old Town Hall. It is a good example of a civil building with a large and rectilinear façade, decorated with 17th century elements. In the past, here was installed the Town Hall, the Court House and other offices, at the same time the Prison and the Butchery occupied the lower floor. 
In 2005, the whole building underwent re-qualification works in order to transform and adapt it into a polyvalent space with capacity to house leisure and cultural activities. In the lower floor there is a room destined to temporary exhibitions and the upper floor is occupied by a spacious multivalent room. 

Pelourinho (Pillory)

Address: Largo Bastião Fernandes, Pederneira

In front of the Town Hall is the Justice symbol of the ancient Municipality. It is interesting silica monolithic, placed in an octagonal base and generally known as Pederneira. It was placed here in 1886 to replace the vanished Manueline pillory. It is a respectable exemplar from the late-Jurassic period, with almost 150 million years, being one of the oldest classified natural monuments of Portugal. 

Igreja da Misericódia (Mercy Church)
Morada: Largo da Misericórdia, 2450 Nazaré

Located at Misericórdia Square, in Pederneira, this is a mannerist appearance temple dated from the end of the 17th century, with a big façade of the late classic baroque period. The interior has a single nave, without main chapel, covered by a modern ceiling. On the walls, some 17th and 18th centuries canvas can be admired, being the “Miracle of the Roses” the most expressive one. Over the top of the doorway there is a polychrome tile panel depicting Our Lady of Mercy, dated from the 17th century.
In the baroque gilded woodcarving high altar of this church, is guarded a beautiful statue of Our Lord of the Stations of the Cross of great popular devotion, celebrated in procession three weeks after Carnival. Bellow this, a glass box altar exhibits a statue of the Deceased Christ.

Monument to the Nazarene Mother
Located in the Marginal Avenue of Nazaré, near the OldFishAuctionBuilding, this monument aims to pay tribute to the women that saw their children and husbands go to the sea, to earn the family’s subsistence, many times without returning. Pedestrian feminine figure, sided by two children, that has upon its head an allegory related to the physical aspect of Nazaré, with some anthropological and ethnographical motifs of the Portuguese fishing coast. This bronze monument, measuring 4 meters, is the work of Celestino Alves André and was inaugurated in 2005. 



O Búzio
Address: Rua Teófilo Braga 4 A, Sítio da Nazaré, 2450-065 Nazaré
Tel.: +351 262 561 621
Closing days: Tuesday


Appetizers: Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato; Queijo fresco e Enchidos.
Fish: Arroz de marisco; Arroz de tamboril; Massa de robalo; Arroz de camarão.

Nazaré is a humble fishing village and famous for its tradition. It is not difficult to find somewhere to eat fish. It is even true that there are numerous options, but the Búzio, typical seafood restaurant in Nazaré, will undoubtedly be a good choice among the many possibilities of choice.

O Meu Jardim
Address: Ponte da Barca, Barca, 2450-072 NAZARÉ
Tel.: +351 262 551 667
Closing time: 23:00
Closing days: Tuesday

Specialties: Saladas de queijo de cabra, Salada de Niçoise, Salada de queijo feta; queijo fresco com umas ervas aromáticas israelitas; Crepes; Magret de pato fumado com pão torrado; Foie gras, fresco com maçã e redução de vinho do Porto;Pizzas em forno de lenha; Massas e lasanha; Rosbife; Confit de pato; moussaka. Pescada a vapor e caril de camarão com vegetais. Sobremesas: Crepes belgas com gelado.
This is a large dining room in shades of orange, with a pleasant courtyard. The decor is rustic, dominated by wood. The menu has Belgian influences and features uncommon suggestions in international cuisine.

Taberna D’Adélia
Address: Rua das Traineiras 12, 2450-196 Nazaré
Tel.: +351 262 552 134
Closing time: 21:00

Specialties: Caldeirada à Pescador
It is a restaurant with typical decoration characteristic of the fishing village of Nazaré.