All’s swell by the sea­side

Gi­ant waves and strong tra­di­tions in a fish­ing vil­lage

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION EUROPE - EMILY McAULIFFE

waves. En­try to the fort and light­house is just €1 ($1.45) and there’s an in­cred­i­ble view across the town’s ter­ra­cotta rooftops to the left and of the eco­log­i­cally pro­tected Praia do Norte to the right. For fur­ther in­sight into the town’s his­tory, stop by the Dr Joaquim Manso Museum (also in Si­tio), which show­cases an ethno­graphic dis­play of Nazarene cul­ture. All ex­hibit de­scrip­tions are in Por­tuguese, but given that en­try is free, it’s none­the­less in­ter­est­ing to pe­ruse the vi­su­als.

A ARTS AND EATS: Street ven­dors sell­ing sou­venirs such as carved wooden boats, hand­wo­ven fishi ing nets, cos­tumed dolls and woollen ap­parel en­cir­cle Si­tio’s main square. Then, in the cen­tre, jolly lo­cals in aprons and tar­tan trousers of­fer nib­bles by the buck­et­load, so grab a bag of nuts, lol­lies or tra­di­tional Por­tuguese but­tery beans, tremo­cos, to munch while peer­ing over the cliff at the crowds be­low. Even if you don’t want to buy, you’ll have free sam­ples cheer­ily waved un­der your nose. If the up­per town mar­ket feels a lit­tle touristy, head back down the hill to Casa Al­coa Arte­sanato for a beau­ti­fully cu­rated col­lec­tion of sou­venir and de­signer pieces crafted by lo­cal ar­ti­sans.

W WAN­DER AND WON­DER: One of the best things to do in Nazare is to wan­der. The neat nar­row l laneways of the lower town, pat­terned with Por­tu­gal’s tra­di­tional cob­bled pave­ment, cal­cada por­tuguesa, lead past lively restau­rants, shops and bars and are where you’ll spot women in Nazare’s tra­di­tional dress. While the cos­tume is typ­i­cally re­ferred to as the “seven skirts of Nazare”, women nor­mally wear three or four lay­ered skirts day-to-day, with the full gamut re­served for spe­cial oc­ca­sions. The out­fit is com­pleted with a hand-stitched apron, woollen shawl, clogs and head­scarf. Ven­ture deeper into the streets of the lower town to find res­i­dents perched on crates peel­ing pota­toes and hang­ing laun­dry to dry from lines sus­pended over the al­ley­ways. Don’t for­get to look up at tiled mu­rals above door­ways de­pict­ing sto­ries of the sea and the Leg­end of Nazare. More: vis­it­cen­trode­por­tu­gal.com.pt/ tourism-of­fice-in-nazare. TOT MAR­KET: Visit the vi­brant in­door food mar­ket, the Mer­cado Mu­nic­i­pal da Nazare, to see women in tra­di­tional dress col­lect­ing their daily pro­duce and to pick up a few sup­plies of your own. The mar­ket­place is packed with fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles, lo­cal meats and cheeses, and, of course, trawler-fresh seafood. Sam­ple Por­tuguese favourites such as morcela blood sausage, soft Serra da Estrela cheese and the dense corn­bread broa. The mar­ket is open ev­ery day ex­cept Mon­day and a flea mar­ket is held on Fri­day morn­ings.

FINE DROPS: Pick your poi­son from a se­lec­tion of more than 600 wines at the bou­tique wine bar T Tav­erna do 8 o 80. This trendy bar was awarded Por­tu­gal’s best wine list by the glass in 2015 and show­cases some of the na­tion’s finest tip­ples. The bar also serves art­fully pre­sented ta­pas such as sar­dine br­uschetta and cured hams, which can be matched with wines sug­gested by the knowl­edge­able staff. They can also whip up a mean gin and tonic and a range of cock­tails. Lo­cated on the es­planade, it’s the per­fect spot to watch the sun drop into the At­lantic Ocean. More: tav­er­na­do8o80.pt.

CATCH OF THE DAY: Eat­ing seafood in Nazare is a given. Must-try dishes in­clude the toma­tob based caldeirada fish stew and Bul­hao Pato, clams cooked in gar­lic, co­rian­der and Por­tu­gal’s fa­mous green wine, vinho verde. Res­tau­rante Ala-Riba in the lower town has this dish nailed. Also hunt down a serve of the Iberian del­i­cacy percebes, which are plump and salty tube-shaped bar­na­cles plucked from rocks in of­ten­dan­ger­ous surf. Percebes aren’t gen­er­ally printed on menus as their avail­abil­ity de­pends on the weather, so check with staff at any of the nu­mer­ous seafood restau­rants. For a mod­ern spin on tra­di­tional cui­sine, such as Por­tuguese sausage with caramelised onion or creamed fish soup, head to Tosca Gas­tro Bar Res­tau­rante off the main av­enue Praca Sousa Oliveira, but be sure to make a book­ing. More: por­tu­gal­travel.org. SLEEP WELL: Upon ar­rival in Nazare it’s not un­usual to see old women lin­ing the streets of­fer­ing quar­tos (rooms) for rent, but for a more lux­u­ri­ous stay, the Ho­tel Mi­ra­mar Sul (pic­tured) of­fers two pools, mini golf and sweep­ing sea views. The down­side of this prime view­point, how­ever, is the ho­tel’s lo­ca­tion away from the town cen­tre, so those with­out a car might pre­fer the Ho­tel Mare, con­ve­niently sit­u­ated in one of the main av­enues of the lower town, or the re­cently ren­o­vated Adega Oceano on the es­planade. More: mi­ra­mar­nazare ho­tels.com/en; hotel­mare.pt; ade­gao­ceano.com.

The beach at Nazare, top; the town’s red light­house at the Forte of Sao Miguel Ar­canjo, above; a woman ar­ranges cara­pau (horse mack­erel) to dry on wire boards, above right; Praia de Nazare prom­e­nade, be­low

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