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Nazare Waves in Portugal

A performance your eyes will refuse to believe

Nazare Waves
Nazare Waves

Photographers, surfers and tourists from around the world come to Nazaré in hope to shoot, surf or watch the incredible strength of the Atlantic ocean.

Giant wave-watching is both unique and uncertain as the big waves are not always there. Frequently appearing between October to March, they are presignified by the big swells which only storms on the high seas can bring. In the months mentioned above, there’s usually between one and six large big swells. September and April are also possible months to experience big waves, but December's severe sea storms are more likely to generate more massive swells.

If you long for witnessing this natural performance, you'd better book a stay of at least two weeks in the area, but a three-week stay increases the chances of catching giant waves days.

A good option is to travel to Nazaré as soon as there is a reasonable forecast. It should indicate a wave size higher than 3 m, a wave period greater than 13 sec and a bit north and offshore wind. The longer the forecast range is, the less precise it is.

Praia do Norte in Nazaré is the place where huge waves happen. The best place for observation is on the north side next to the red lighthouse on sítio da Nazaré. You can also go down to the sandy beach from another perspective. Just mind that the sea can be perilous and unpredictable.

As long as there are waves, the more likely you will see a lot of surfers from all over the world trying to catch them. Tourists are on velvet to as it is a better idea to realize size the waves.

Nazaré Big Waves half-day and full-day tours run from the capital city of Lisbon, which is an hour and a half drive by car.

Practical info

What is the ideal time to observe the Nazare waves?

The Nazare waves occur between October to March, although December and January are the optimum months. These months produce larger swells. However, September and April also produce decent waves, but the chances of witnessing significant waves are low. To experience great waves, it is essential to wait for storms that create important swells during these times. Show more

Where is the best spot to view the gigantic waves in Nazare?

Praia do Norte in Nazare is the perfect location to witness big waves. It is on the north side, beside the red lighthouse on sitio da Nazare. Tourists can also go down to the sandy beach for a different view. However, the sea can be volatile and unpredictable, so tourist safety should be considered, and visitors need to obey warning flags. Show more

Is it predictable to detect big swells between October to March in Nazare?

Even though big swells are more frequent between October to March, their occurrence is unpredictable. They are formed by storms on the high seas, so providing accurate forecasts in the short term is impossible. To make an informed estimate, you need to consider the wave size, period, and wind direction. At any given month during these periods, there can be between one and six big swells. Show more

What is the recommended stay duration in Nazare to increase the chances of catching giant waves?

Tourists wishing to catch significant waves in Nazare should consider staying for at least two weeks in the area, though staying for around three weeks may increase one's chances of catching big swells. Visitors are advised to travel to Nazare once the forecast shows optimal conditions for big waves. Extended forecasts are less accurate. Show more

Can tourists surf at Praia do Norte in Nazare?

It's possible for tourists to surf at Praia do Norte in Nazare, but it's recommended that only experienced surfers attempt. This is because the sea can be unpredictable and treacherous. It is important to follow safety measures and warning flags when attempting to surf there, considering it may be busy with surfers from all over the world trying to ride the waves. For tourists who are not experienced surfers, they can observe the big waves and enjoy their performance. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin