Nazare, Sun & Seafood

In the Portugal village of Nazare, food by the sea reaches spectacular new heights. The fresh fish and other seafood delicacies are often combined in some unusual and flavorful local dishes that can only be sampled by visitors who travel to this seaside community.

When you first arrive in Nazare you will notice that the village is located along some steep and rocky cliffs that provide a wonderful contrast to the sandy beach and clear blue waters. There are a number of homes that are built in the style typically found in older villages where fishing has been the traditional and dominant industry for centuries.

Today the old fashioned charm of the Nazare fishing village has made it a popular choice of tourists who want to experience this unique area of Portugal. Many people come to Nazare just to explore this casual and relaxed lifestyle that the residents have learned to take for granted.

There are a number of visitors who want to enjoy a day on a boat where they can try their hand at fishing. You will find there are local residents who will be delighted to rent a small boat to visitors or they will accompany you and show you where the best fishing locations can be discovered.

Restaurants and small cafes are located along the shoreline and this is where you can treat yourself to a delicious variety of freshly caught seafood. The flavors of the food and the savory appeal of native Portuguese dishes are enhanced by the crisp, salty tang that is present in the sea breeze. With a backdrop that includes a sandy shoreline, tall cliffs and a multitude of sailing vessels it is impossible not to fall in love with the village of Nazare.

You may want to try the fresh mussels at O Santos which is a favorite Nazare restaurant. There is also the Restaurante Sao Miguel where one of the most popular dishes is grilled sardines. No matter where you decide to eat you can count on enjoying perfectly prepared seafood.

The city’s name is said to date back to the 4th century. This is when a monk traveled to the region and brought with him a statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue was reported to have come from the city of Nazareth from which Nazare is derived.

At one time this coastal village was famous for the many traditional outfits that the men and women would wear on a daily basis. The men dressed as fishermen did many years ago and the women would be seen wearing headscarves, 7 skirts made of different colored flannel and large aprons bearing fanciful hand embroidered designs.

There are actually 3 distinct areas of Nazare village. The first is called A Praia which is the area along the beaches; the second is the old town known as O Sitio which is atop a high cliff; and the third is the region known as Pederneira which is another hilltop location. There is a railway system that connects O Sitio and A Praia and makes travel between these two areas easier and more convenient for both residents and visitors.

Fishing and seafaring vessels have always been the mainstay of Nazare. Today you can still see many local boats that are designed with a pointed bow that bears ancient Phoenician symbols. These traditional designs reflect the Phoenician ancestry of the village residents and can be viewed at Nazare’s new harbor.