The Big Wave Pilgramage

When planning our trip I looked at a variety of accommodations, including those on AirBnB. Little did I realize at the time of booking that our accommodations in Nazare that overlook the beach would introduce us to a famous Big Wave professional. Garrett McNamara is famous for introducing Nazare to the Big Wave surfer world.

Nazare beach outside our window
Famous photo of Garrett surfing the 90 foot wave on left

Nazare was a traditional fishing village and popular beach destination. Staying in the apartment of the Big Wave surfer legend, we joined the other surfer enthusiasts and made the pilgrimage up to Sitio on the handy funicular.

The funicular joins the beach of Nazare with its neighbour Sitio above the cliffs.

Looking down on Nazare and its golden beaches

Surfer paraphernalia was everywhere around the square but what caught our attention were the ‘seven petticoat’ fisherwomen wearing traditional fashions selling snacks including barnacles. According to our guide book, barnacles are delicious, I will take the authors word on that!

Seven petticoat fisherwoman selling snacks

Our pilgrimage continued past the square and the burger and beer joints, past the deer headed surfer statue to the bluff above the Farol lighthouse and viewing area for the big waves during the winter months. Check out the Nazare big wave surfing videos on YouTube.

A final word on Veado , the statue of a man with a deer’s head. Local legend tells a story from the 12th century when a Knight was out hunting deer in the fog and almost fell off the cliff. He cried out to Our Lady of Nazare and was saved from falling when the rear legs of his horse became stuck to the ground. The statue, put in place in 2016, commemorates the legend and the monster wave.

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