Our intent when we stopped in Nazaré on our way from Porto to Lisbon was to get a few quick shots of the "big waves" from the lighthouse overlook and then spend some time exploring the town and have some lunch. Well... we spent so much time mesmerized by the view pictured above (taking a ton of photos) that we barely had time to eat lunch before we had to continue on to Lisbon. Had we stuck with our original plan to stay one night in Nazaré, I'd definitely have more to show & tell you about that beautiful city. As it is, we'll concentrate on the Nazaré Lighthouse and the views of Praia do Norte this time, and hopefully next time we'll spend a night or two exploring the city.
We had hoped to be there around the time when the really big surfing waves were rolling in, but that wasn't the case. Had it been, I doubt we would have even been able to find a place to park, much less a place to stand with a view. That being said, the waves that were breaking were quite big to us, and we had a blast photographing them, and just taking it all in. I'm one of those people who craves being near bodies of water, in particular the ocean. I could spend all day listening to the waves crash, with my toes in the sand. So, it wasn't difficult for me to lose track of time in this place; in my element.
Once we made our way to the top, we took a few photos and then we started hiking down the side of the cliffs, on a trail. In some spots there are carved out steps to help with this hike, which was nice. There are also caves (or maybe caverns?) carved out by the water that are very cool. Just know that if you choose to hike down to the lower end of the cliffs, you should be mindful that the tide can move in fast and the waves are powerful. Keep on eye on where the water level is and make sure you adjust your position accordingly. If you choose to take your kids or pets down there (I don't think I would), make sure you are holding their hand or leash at all times. It may be beautiful, but it can be dangerous.
A few tips... Parking is strange and limited. If you have a 4x4 you can get to some of the alternate parking areas, but I wouldn't attempt them in a car, especially a rental. If you try driving through town to the parking area at the top, you'll likely be disappointed as it's packed, even in the winter. We drove a back road (after attempting other options), parked by a set of condos, and walked up the side of the hill. Not ideal, but easier than finding parking any closer. Also, it's crazy windy up there so be prepared for that. Like blow your hat and gear away kind of windy.
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