Marvel at Some of the Biggest Surf in the World
Nazaré’s biggest claim to fame in recent years is the size of its waves. The presence of the nearby Nazaré underwater canyon—the largest such canyon in Europe—creates huge breakers at certain times of the year. Particularly during stormy weather or king tides in winter, waves 100 feet high can form just offshore, attracting big-name surfers from all over the world.
Back in 2011, Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara set a world record in Nazaré, successfully riding a giant 78-foot wave. Two years later, both he and Carlos Burle claimed to have conquered 100+ foot high monsters in the same place, but neither has been officially credited with the record.
When conditions are perfect, Nazaré turns into a busy surf town for a few days—if you happen to be in Portugal at the right time, it’s worth keeping an eye on the surf report and planning a visit yourself. The best places to check out the action are from Praia do Norte, or on the edge of the headland near the lighthouse if you can find a spot!