Nazaré

Where the beauty of Nature shows her power

Phenomenon, «observable fact or event […], often refers to an extraordinary event» (Wikipedia).

A quick recall to that time we were Escaping curfews to go seeing, among other things, the Big Waves in Nazaré having no luck at all: that time I promised myself I would go back one day after checking the sea forecast and so I did.

December 8th, 2021: public holiday and waves of 20 meters expected; after almost one exact year, we rented a car and drove about one and half hour from Lisbon to Nazaré.
There were a lot of people, huge wind, surfers and this time them too, the waves!
I don’t think those were really 20 meters but I was explained that usually it’s during the night that the biggest waves take the scene, so I am still quite happy for the show I had the chance to attend.

But why is Nazaré THE place? Why the biggest waves in the world happen there?

You might think that the cause of this phenomenon is the fact that Portugal overlooks the Atlantic Ocean… nope; maybe the real reason is the strong wind that messes everybody’s hair up… well, not exactly.

Down there, under that red little lighthouse, there is the biggest submarine canyon of Europe (5000 meters deep and 230 km long), the Nazaré Canyon; the waves travelling over this canyon gain strength when they meet those on the continental shelf and they suddenly raise when they reach the end of the chasm.
Secondary actor, but fundamental for the success of the show, is actually the above-mentioned Mr. Wind: “he” whips up the ocean’s surface, generating powerful swells that amplify their kinetic energy channeling it towards the shore.

So canyon on a side, swells on the other and last but not least a current flowing south along the Praia Norte; all together they create an amazing performance of Mother Nature giving birth to the so-called Big Waves that challenge, every year, the most daring surfers.

October to March is usually the right time to see the waves so if you are planning a trip to Portugal, consider the idea to schedule it during this period.
Organize it as a road trip so that you can include not only Nazaré, but many other destinations; Portugal is not a huge country, distances by car are more than acceptable and every region has something to offer: you’ll not get bored.

I bet you’re a bit more curious to visit this town after reading this post but if you’re still not, then check some videos on the internet and while you do and plan your trip here, I leave you with a romantic sunset picture of the panoramic swing of Nazaré.


Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page…
I’ll read ya!


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