Nazare, Portugal

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Nazare, Portugal: Everything You Need To Know

Reviewed by Lief Simon

Lief Simon is the managing editor of Global Property Advisor, Simon Letter, and Offshore Living Letter. He has purchased more than 45 properties, investing in 23 different countries around the world.

Street view of Nazare, Portugal
AdobeStock/Kinga

Nazare, Portugal, is an interesting destination for travelers seeking good sunny weather, beautiful views, a laid-back yet inviting culture, and plenty of ways to entertain yourself.

Portugal is known for being the coastal neighbor to Spain. Both countries boast of having terrific scenery, food, and culture landmarks, but Portugal has been particularly popular as of late because of its welcoming attitude towards foreigners.

One of Portugal’s up-and-coming towns is Nazare, a beach community off the Silver Coast (Costa de Prata) in the Oeste region of western Portugal.

The town itself is small– around 10,000 inhabitants– but there is plenty to do in this picturesque seaside community.

Nazare itself was derived from legend, and still today it is known for its incredible feats of nature.

This place awas originally named after a small wooden statue of the Virgin Mary brought from Nazareth, and the history of the city was allegedly marked by interventions from the Virgin Mary since the 12th century, perhaps saving Nazare from ruin despite countless pirate raids.

Although some of these ancient churches are still standing, Nazare has evolved from being a religious fishing community into an international travel destination for those who want to battle the tallest waves in the world.

For example, Nazare is perched above the largest submarine canyon in Europe, which conjoins with the local water current to produce record-high waves from 50-100ft.

While tourists enjoy the Portuguese weather, surfers flock to Nazare in the winter to test their luck against Mother Nature, and they often stay to enjoy the local sights, culture, and cuisine.

The town has thus become an increasingly popular tourist destination while maintaining its local heritage– and luckily for all these foreigners who want to enjoy Nazare’s seaside life year-round, the Portuguese government has made it easier to reside in this slice of heaven.

Here’s all you need to know about living in Nazare, Portugal:

Cost Of Living In Nazare, Portugal

Miradouro do Suberco viewpoint in Nazare, Portugal
AdobeStock/bennymarty

Nazare, Portugal, has three neighborhoods:

· Praia, the beach, and its promenade.

· Sítio, a historic town perched on top of a cliff.

· Pederneira, a quiet hilltop village.

Praia is a great beach on the Silver Coast. It is protected from strong winds and currents by the Sítio headland. It’s a peaceful spot to relax in the sun or take a walk to the fishing harbor.

On the other hand, Sitio is more of a cultural capital, which used to be a popular pilgrimage destination and now is home to several churches and a 17th century fort.

Pederneira is another small village full of historic artifacts, quaint cobblestone streets, and uninterrupted views of the Atlantic.

The cost of living in Nazare is 26% less than what it would be in Lisbon, and for those considering relocating (semi) permanently, there are properties available at a great value.

A furnished three-bedroom, two-bath near the beach can be rented for about US$575 per month. A furnished one-bedroom in the center of Sitio should cost around US$850 per month.

Life in Nazare means that utilities should fall around US$100 a month maximum, and internet should cost less than US$20 a month.

The city is for the most part very safe, and visitors should not fear the risk of any violent crime, but car burglaries do happen around Nazare Beach—an easy threat to avoid simply by walking or biking around the city.

Because it is a seaside city, Nazare is also known for its delicious seafood, the prices of which are inexpensive compared to most mid-to-upscale American restaurants.

A regular lunch should only cost about US$10, while a nicer three-course meal for two people should cost around US$45.

Groceries, and market-fresh produce, are also cheaper in Portugal— a loaf of bread costs around US$1.22 compared to America’s US$3.43, and a dozen eggs will set you back US$2.60 in Portugal compared to US$4.42 in the United States.

Most importantly, Portugal also has a low-cost public healthcare system, so many general appointments will only cost a few euros (or they might even be free).

A hospital visit from a general practitioner will cost around US$75, and a specialist will run around US$90. There is a health center, a couple clinics, and a hospital in the city center.

There is private and public healthcare in Portugal, and the general rule (even for expats) is that public healthcare is reserved for the elderly, who usually cannot afford private healthcare. Even so, the costs are much less in Portugal than in the US, and most medication usually doesn’t require a prescription and only costs a few euros.

Most doctors in the private healthcare system are excellent, especially dentists, and many of them are also fluent in English.

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Things To Do In Nazare, Portugal

Porch of Nossa Senhora da Nazare sanctuary in Portugal
AdobeStock/Vector

Because Nazare is a beach town, how crowded the city is usually depends on the weather and the season.

Tourists usually flock to the beach during the summer months, while surfers clamber for a chance to catch the waves between October to January.

For those who love a vacation on the water, Nazare offers surfing lessons (of course), as well as boat tours and dolphin-watching trips.

There are three main beaches in Nazare: the Praia da Nazare, the main beach for families, the Praia do Norte, where the surfers play, and the quiet, more remote Praia do Sol.

You can also venture out to the beautiful limestone arches of the Grotto do Forno de Orca cave or lie out by the calm waters of the Foz do Arelho lagoon surrounded by Portuguese pine trees.

Also, don’t forget to try one of the beachside stalls selling Bola de Berlim, a Portuguese custard donut covered in sugar.

For those who like to hike, there are many options in the region, including paths that take you past several historical chapels like the Ermida de São Bartolomeu, or monasteries in Fatima, Batalha, or Alcobaça.

Other day trips in the area are to the beautiful walled city of Obidos or the seaside town of Peniche located on some stony cliffs above the sea.

And, Lisbon is about a 90-minute drive south.

Nazare is very walkable, and many people enjoy just strolling along its cobblestone paths and taking in the scenery of the well-preserved, historic towns.

Some locals even still wear their traditional clothing, the men in their fisherman’s garb and the women in headscarves and flannel skirts embroidered with seven colors.

Consider stopping by the Mercado Municipal to pick up some food or souvenirs, or you can purchase some dried fish to eat over by the beach.

But for those who prefer to keep their days busier or want something to do other than the beach, there are still many activities in Nazare.

You can walk past the fisherman’s district and take the funicular from the center of Nazare up to Sitio, which offers beautiful views on the smooth ride up.

At the headlands in Sitio lies the Forte de São Miguel Arcanjo, a 17th century fort that is now a museum dedicated to extreme surfing.

And while in Sitio, you should also walk around the historic part of the town, even if it’s just to enjoy the whitewashed buildings and their charming red-brick roofs.

Because the town used to be an important pilgrimage site, there are many preserved churches, the most famous of which is the Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Nazare.

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Moving And Visa For Nazare, Portugal

Luckily for those foreigners who may be enticed by the thought of living in Nazare, obtaining the right to live in Portugal is much easier than in many other European countries.

You can simply visit without a visa for 90 days, but you will need a valid visa/passport to reside in the country.

One of the most popular visa options in Portugal is the Golden Visa, which was created to bolster foreign investment and boost the economy by giving a residency permit to non-EU citizens who invest at least €250,000 euros in Portuguese real estate.

Another popular option is the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Program, which allows reduced taxes on income (20% if earned within Portugal, 10% if earned via pension from abroad, and 0% on almost all other income sources if earned internationally) for 10 years.

But for those without that class of capital, there are still many other visa options available.

The D7 visa is the most popular for families or retirees, as it is easy to obtain and requires significantly less savings/income/investments than the Golden Visa (US$812/monthly).

The D2 visa is also popular for entrepreneurs who have passive income, and the D8 is if you are a digital nomad looking to reside in Portugal while working abroad. These residency permits can all lead to citizenship, and there are also other options to obtain citizenship through your immediate family line.

Once you arrive in Portugal, getting to Nazare is the next step. Most travelers will fly in from Lisbon, which is only a 90-minute drive away.

On the other hand, there are no direct trains from Lisbon to Nazare, but you can take a train from Lisbon’s Santa Apolonia station to Caldas da Rainha and then take a bus or a taxi from there to Nazare.

The train/bus option should only cost you around US$19 per person, while a taxi would cost around US$75 to US$96.

Transportation in Nazare is relatively easy. It’s an old, walkable city with many cobblestone streets, so most people prefer to just walk/scooter/bike around.

You will find taxis or rental cars available, but just make sure to keep the doors locked when the vehicle is parked to prevent theft. You can also take the funicular from the city center to Sitio.

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Weather In Nazare, Portugal

The weather in Nazare is usually very nice.

The summer months in Nazare can be hot, while spring and fall are pleasant, and the winters are mild and wet.

Because of the ocean breezes, there is always a chance of fog, rain, or strong winds, but those concerns usually only impact the waves between October and March.

The ideal beach weather is between June and September, where the waves are milder, and the weather is hot, usually sunny and around 70°F during the day.

Nazare, Portugal - FAQs

Is Nazare, Portugal, Worth Visiting?

Yes! Nazare is a beautiful coastal town located only 90 minutes from Lisbon, and the city is amazing for exploring traditional Portuguese culture while surrounded by gorgeous nature.

The city itself is full of quaint cobblestone streets and old fisherman’s homes, and it is easy to walk around and explore the ancient churches and sights.

The food is delicious, the city is relatively inexpensive, the people are nice, and the location is perfect for a casual day trip or months spent in paradise.

The Nazare beaches are calm and spacious, and the mountains and hiking paths that encircle the city are beautiful and inviting, and the welcoming attitude towards foreigners is appreciated.

What is Nazare, Portugal, Known For?

Nazare is a coastal city known for its proximity to the tallest waves in the world.

Located near an underground canyon, the waves from the Atlantic Ocean can reach past 80 feet, making the city very popular with surfers. But in the summer months, life in Nazare becomes really popular with tourists looking to lounge around on the spacious beaches, or who want to wander around the historic town eating seafood and exploring old churches.

Is Nazare, Portugal, A Good Place To Retire?

Nazare, Portugal, is an excellent place for Americans to retire. Portugal has many visa options– particularly the Golden Visa, the D7 (“Retirement”) Visa, and the Non-Habitual Resident Program– which are attainable and promise tax benefits for those living and/or investing in the country. While there, the cost of living is much more affordable than in the US, especially their healthcare system. Nazare is particularly popular with tourists because of its beauty, historical value, and laid-back attitude, and because of its proximity to a stunning beachfront.

Why Should Americans Move To Nazare, Portugal?

Americans should move to Nazare, Portugal, because of its natural beauty, comparatively low cost of living, and its attainable visa requirements.

Nazare is located right on the Atlantic Ocean and provides stunning views of the water despite its proximity to ancient castles, beautiful forests, and bustling cities.

The cost of living in Nazare is much cheaper than most American cities, particularly the cost of healthcare and food.

Portuguese visas and citizenships are also much more attainable than in other European countries, meaning you can enjoy these beautiful sights and culture with relative ease.

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