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Nazaré North Beach Portugal

Praia do Norte became famous for its gigantic waves, particularly after the month of November 2011. That was when Garrett McNamara surfed what was to be called the biggest wave of the year by the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, and gave the tempestuous, stormy sea of Nazaré an even broader international notoriety.

Praia do Norte is among the most westerly points in all of Europe, meaning that the wind, and so ocean swell, sweeps across the Atlantic unhindered.

Most of the west coast of Portugal is in a similar position and there are numerous beaches that have become favourite surfing sports.
However, off the Praia do Norte coastline is another special feature – the Nazaré Canyon. This is the biggest underwater ravine in Europe.

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The prevailing winds blow from the east and south, meaning most days see offshore conditions. All of this combined means there are almost always clean waves breaking along the Portugese coast.


The site of many world-record big wave surfing feats, Praia do Norte’s massive swell, which culminates at its reef, is the result of the Nazaré Canyon, an underwater continental fault that stretches 230km / 143mi long and 5km / 3mi deep. Though internationally famous for killer, monster waves that are only suitable for extreme daredevils, these only happen once a year. When the swell at Praia do Norte is “small” it becomes a perfect beach break, offering nice lefts and rights, but is still only suitable for experts and pros.


“Most of the time I stay at Hotel Miramar Sul (doubles from £43 B&B). I can look at the beach and the waves from it while I’m eating breakfast, and it’s an amazing place to watch the sunset. As a special treat, we sometimes have dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, the Atlântico View (mains from £12). It’s great for traditional dishes with a contemporary twist, such as wild sea bass with acorda (traditional bread soup; veal in puff pastry). I eat mainly fish and vegetables there but the desserts are also fantastic, particularly the chocolate fondant on red berries with tangerine ice-cream.”

Getting Here

It’s better to go to Nazaré by car. once there, try the elevator to go from the hight part, the Sítio, to the lower part, the beach.

GPS Coordinates

Latitude: 39º36’04.40 N
Longitude: 9º04’25.59 W

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Other Activities

O Sitio, Miradouro do Suberco, Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Nazare

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