Where to Watch the Big Waves in Nazaré?

Bell   |   10 November 23

Nazaré in the winter is THE place to be for giant waves and big wave surfing. That means however, it can get pretty crowded. Find out the best places to watch the big waves and how to catch a glimpse of the incredible surfers through the crowds!

Solo, female travel somehow has a reputation for being unsafe, however I have now been to 4 continents solo and found this to be untrue. As long as you apply common sense and don’t overshare with strangers, you will be fine.

That being said, there are cities that are easier and safer to travel than others. Europe is generally pretty safe but over the years of travelling here, I have definitely had some very different experiences.

So, here is my ultimate list of the best cities in Europe for solo female travellers:

Where is the best place to watch the waves at Nazaré?

Where to watch the giant waves in nazare pinterest 2

Cliffs above Farol da Nazaré

To get to the big wave, you need to climb the Ladeira do Sitio walkway from the city center up to the cliffs that hide Praia do Norte from view (or take the funicular). From there, you just turn left and walk towards the Farol da Nazaré lighthouse. 

You will walk past cliffs from which you get the famous view of the big waves and the lighthouse, showcasing the sheer size of the waves in comparison to the people standing below.

I would recommend looking for someone with a huge camera to get the best viewpoint, as the professional photographers that catch the big waves will know best where to go. 

The rough location is in the center here, just off the Estr. do Farol:

Next to the lighthouse

BIg wave next to lighthouse nazare - TOS

To get a little more up close and personal to the big waves, head down all the way to the lighthouse. Just to the right of it, there is a viewing platform where you can see the waves for free. 

Be there early if big waves are predicted as it gets super busy. You may be able to see surfers here easier as it is much closer than the cliffs.

Farol da Nazaré and Forte de São Miguel Arcanjo

Lighthouse nazare and fort

Originally a fort, the Forte do São Miguel Arcanjo is now a lighthouse and museum, paying tribute to the surfing history of Nazare. 

The views from its roof are incredible, especially if there are surfers on the waves. It costs 2€ to enter and can get very busy at peak times, so come early and be prepared to queue. 

That being said, don’t be too stressed if you can’t make your way up there at peak times (or if it isn’t open – opening times are 10am – 6pm). You will still be able to see the surfers and get incredible views from the cliffs – just remember to bring binoculars. 

Praia do Norte

praia do norte nazare
Photo by Colin + Meg on Unsplash

For a totally different view of the waves and the lighthouse, head down to Praia do Norte. You may be able to see the surfers come and go as well as see them get towed into the waves. 

You also get an even better idea of how tall the waves are from here, seeing them “eye to eye”. 

What’s the best time of year to see the giant waves of Nazaré?

Big wave season is from roughly October to March each year in Nazaré. It’s impossible to predict the exact days that you will be able to see giant waves, so you’d need to stay longer to ensure this.

You can subscribe to email alerts for mega waves and possible world record attempts for tallest wave surfed on the Nazaré big wave page here

Nazaré is beautiful, big waves or not, so I wouldn’t stress about whether the visit is worth it. The food is delicious, the locals are friendly and the city is picturesque.

Are the waves always big in Nazaré, Portugal?

No, the waves aren’t always big in Nazaré. Outside peak wave season (October – March), the waves in Nazaré are hardly bigger than normal. This means they are perfect for us “normal” surfers though, should you be looking to be the surfer, not the watcher. 

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Hi, I’m Bell

Bell from Travel Off Script

My blog is here to show you that there isn’t one correct way to travel the world. Together, we can figure out what that means for you. Learn more about me here!

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