Why Nazaré is Now a Year-Round Hot Spot
There is a mysticism that is palpable even when just visiting Nazaré for the day. There are many layers to the story, so the more time you spend there, the more enchanted you become. The ferocity of the ocean is central to the legends in this town. For generations fishermen have been going out to sea in their beautiful wooden boats, while the town prayed around the clock for their safe return. It wasn't until the late 1960's that anyone thought to venture into the jaws of the great waves at Praia do Norte beach for fun!
Although tourists flock to Nazaré during the summer holidays, only recently have the winter waves gained enough momentum on the global scene to create a magnetism year-round. The Nazaré canyon break was relatively unknown outside of Europe until November of 2011 when Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara surfed a record breaking giant wave measuring 78 feet from trough to crest.
Nazaré has similar underwater geography to the North Shore of Oahu's Bonzai Pipeline and Mavericks in Northern California. The Nazaré Canyon is the biggest underwater ravine in Europe. The canyon floor, at its deepest, is more than 3 miles under the surface and it rises rapidly to the "headwall" that is between 100 and 150 feet high just off the coast of Praia do Norte beach. Even when the North Atlantic is quiet, there is volume and vibration in the water that lets all visitors know something big is building.
Today, Nazaré is on the World Surf League's Big Wave Tour. Even if you happen to visit on a non-event day, Mother Nature will give you show. Walking out on the cliff, bundled up with the Atlantic spray cooling your skin while awaiting the next big wave, is something you will never forget. If you are feeling like taking the plunge yourself, Surf4You is a respected member of our VIP program and will customize instruction to meet your individual needs, at a great price, year-round.
Nazaré is a historic place that has not just maintained its authentic feel, but gained momentum over the years by holding true to its roots while adapting to change. It is a fine balance as many towns get swallowed by the future or stuck in the past. Nazaré is not one of those towns.
The town has embraced the surf culture vibe, that may at first glance, appear to be in great contrast to the traditional norms of the village. Upon closer inspection one realizes it is, in fact, a perfect marriage, unified by unyielding loyalty to the seven seas. There is a shared reverence that washes away cultural differences bringing many diverse people together in a way that is rare in the world.