The Portuguese are certainly one of the most religious peoples in the world and the town of Nazaré is no exception. In fact, one of its most visited sites is the chapel built in honor of Our Lady of Nazaré by the local nobleman Dom Fuas Roupinho when he was supposedly saved from certain death down a cliff by the apparition of the Virgin Mary. Built in 1182, it is known Ermida da Memória and still features the legend in hand-painted azulejos.
Amazingly, the town has preserved its way of life since then although there are architectural evidences of the changes that the passage of time and people has wrought on Nazaré. This is to be expected as a place and people that do not move with the times in one way or another is doomed to extinction and Nazaré is still standing as strong as ever.
The seaside town is divided into three main districts. First, the Praia is the beach area filled with tiled walkways and palm trees on one side and the Atlantic Ocean pounding on the sand on the other side. It is an ideal site to cast a line, cast a shadow on the ground as the sun sets and cast a spell over a loved one.
Second, the Pederneira is an equally delightful place for residents and visitors alike. Third, and arguably the most popular area in town, the Sitio is a rocky promontory perched a hundred meters above Nazaré's main part. Its charms like in the fantastic views of the bay and the beach of the town as well as the opportunity to engage in a leisurely walk down to the stretches of sandy beach of the Atlantic Ocean.
You can also take the funicular carriage up the sharp slope although going by car is also possible. At the top, the Ermida da Memória and the large church coupled with the great vista makes the dizzying ride up all worth it.
Nazaré being a seaside town, people can still be seen drying their fish catch and mending their boats with their curved prows in the sun, all by good old-fashioned manual labor. Adding to the rustic atmosphere are the holidaymakers, playful children and their happy parents frolicking in the sand and ocean with seemingly no cares in the world.