Best time to travel to Portugal

Nazare Waves in Portugal

A performance your eyes will refuse to believe

Best time: October–March

Nazare Waves
Nazare Waves

Photographers, surfers, and tourists from around the world come to Nazaré hoping to shoot, surf, or watch the Atlantic Ocean's incredible strength. These waves are formed by a mix of underwater topography and weather conditions, particularly during the winter months, when powerful storms in the North Atlantic generate massive swells.

When are he biggest waves in Nazare

Giant wave-watching is both unique and uncertain, as the big waves are not always there. Frequently appearing between October and March, they are presignified by the big swells that only storms on the high seas can bring. There are usually between one and six large swells in the months mentioned above. 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 to witness this natural performance, you should book a stay of at least two weeks in the area, but a three-week stay increases your chances of catching giant waves.

A good option is to travel to Nazaré when 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 of north and offshore wind. The longer the forecast range, the less precise it is.

The best spots to see the waves

Huge waves occur at Praia do Norte in Nazaré. 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 for another perspective. Just remember that the sea can be perilous and unpredictable. The other spot with a fantastic view is North Beach. Observers likewise visit Nazaré Lighthouse and the Sitio viewpoint to see a great panorama.

Numerous online platforms offer live streams, so you can stay at home and virtually participate in this breathtaking experience.

As long as there are waves, you are likely to see many surfers from all over the world trying to catch them.

Nazare Waves Tours

Nazaré Big Waves half-day and full-day tours depart from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, which is an hour and a half away 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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Authors: Olena Basarab