What should you do when you’re in Lisboa with a rather odd itinerary (due to lack of planning – more on this soon) and you need to fill in a few days?
You should go to Nazaré – the town we’ve dubbed the Noosa of Portugal.
Nazaré is a painless two hour bus ride from Lisboa (around €10 per person using the Rede Expressos bus) and it’s the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of European cities in the summer.
The jewel in Nazaré’s crown is the incredible lookout over the entire township accessed from it’s old town (Sitio); then of course, there’s the added bonus of it being a magnet for big wave surfers chasing world records in winter.
Boasting an ridiculously picturesque coastline with two beaches – one swarming with Europeans on holiday, one practically empty – there is no shortage of space to dunk yourself into the icy Atlantic ocean.
We don’t know what it is, but there is something about Nazaré that’s making us happy. Perhaps it’s the sight of vast open beaches; or the way the water sparkles; maybe it’s the breeze whipping through the old town (Sîtio); it could be even be the sand caught up in our bathers or the salt curling our hair. For all one knows, its the loveable stray dogs we seem to run into around every corner and the old women lounging in doorways in traditional garb of headscarf and layered skirts. We aren’t sure.
We’re just bloody happy here, thank you very much.
Some consider Nazaré to have been ruined by tourism, and whilst there’s no denying its popularity – its literally heaving with people – the crowds aren’t annoying us like they’ve done in cities we’ve just visited.
And we’re quite certain that if you needed a stopover on a roadtrip driving between Portuguese cities – for example, Lisboa and Oporto – then somewhere around Nazaré might just the place for you.
Take a peek below and mull it over. It might just whet your appetite.