Position: 39°36’17.0 N 09°05′ 07 W
Portugal’s west coast isn’t the most welcoming geographically. Much like the west coast of the United States, Portugal has few natural havens for sailors. However, roughly half way between Porto and Lisbon lies Nazaré (pronounced Na-ZAH-ray) with its terrific man-made harbour.
Thanks to a combination of natural features, including an offshore canyon laying just south of the cape, 3,000 miles of Atlantic Ocean swell funnels up into and around the headland here generating huge waves on a daily basis. A couple of years ago a 30 metre (100′) wave formed and the record for the biggest wave ever surfed was set.
The old town, with its splendid church, sits high on the headland and is served by a funicular railway rising up from the lower, beach-level section of town. One of the highlights of our stop was the harbour. Purpose built, it is easily navigated in all weathers. Plus, the harbour stays calm even when the waves just a little bit to the north are going bonkers. The marina is very reasonably priced and its staff welcoming and competent with dock lines. If we’d had a little more time, we would have explored further and even taken a surfing lesson…maybe…possibly…
As you’ll see in the video, the weather while we were there was nigh on perfect. Marlon endured the terrors of the funicular and the horror of watching Carol and Tai watching the waves. Such a brave doggy!