The beach at Nazare is amazing.  This small fishing village sits on the Atlantic Ocean, about an hour’s drive north of Lisbon.

Fishermen still haul their catch up onto the beach and spread it out on drying racks. The catch will later be sold to local fishmongers for sale to the public.

The beach also has modern restaurants serving traditional Portuguese cooking, but there is another lesser known fact about the beach. It is one of the stops on the world big wave surfing scene. The Nazaré Canyon lies just off shore and it is said to be the largest in Europe, 5000 metres deep and 230 kilometres long. This canyon produces waves that are more than 75 feet in height. (Photo courtesy Wikipedia – Can you spot the surfer?)

We spent our second day in Nazaré wondering around the beach and exploring the small streets and back alleys. We soon learned that some of the best local restaurants are found off the main drag and up the hill in these lesser traveled spots. A tip, leave the tour buses and funny hats behind and look for the real people and food in the back alleys.

We ate lunch at this sidewalk bistro

with a griller on the outside and fresh seafood and fish in the refrigerated cooler at his side.

We also drank some Vinho Verde.

Later that night we came back to the same area for dinner. Our hosts at Quintas Das Rosas recommended a friend’s restaurant and we happily took their advice. As we were staying up the hill at the Quinta we chose to take the funicular from Sitio down to the beach. It runs every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to midnight and is the easiest way to get around if you are not staying down by the beach.

We walked to a wonderful, small (14 people) restaurant for a delicious meal of boiled white clams cooked in garlic, butter and olive oil. We also had grilled sardines (honestly, they were the size of trout). A tasty white wine from the Douro River Valley complimented the meal.

After dinner we had a slow walk back to the base of the funicular for the ride back to our car,

And this is what we saw on the ride up the hill.

It was a short and bitter sweet drive back to our B&B as we both knew this would be our last night in Portugal.

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