Circuit 8/B Torres Vedras, Óbidos, Nazaré, Marinha Grande, Batalha


Nazaré is a very popular city all year round and despite the mass tourism, it still has a lot of character. The fishermen's town where boats were pulled out of the water by oxen, women wore seven underskirts and men a black hat has disappeared and is now a town with a modern fishing port where tourism is an essential activity. The name of the city comes from Nazareth, city in Palestine from where, according to the legend, a statue was brought back by a monk in the 4th century.

Nazaré is divided into three main districts - Praia (beach), Pederneira and Sitio.

Located on a rocky promontory 110 m above the main part of the town, Sitio provides wonderful views over the bay and beach of Nazaré, and from here the walker can continue northward along the stretches of beach. Although this mainly residential part of Nazaré is accessible by car, it is far more interesting to ride the funicular carriage which takes passengers up the sharp slope for a small fee. A winding path also exists but is perhaps more appealing on the way down! Once at the top, besides the views one finds a large church and also a small chapel clinging to the edge of the sheer drop, the Ermida da Memória, whose origins are closely connected to the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary. In the 12th century she saved a knight who while he was hunting deer one really foggy day nearly fell over a cliff. The knight later had a chapel built to thank the Virgin Mary. Sítio means the "exact" place of the miracle. Legend says that in the crypt there are still his horses' prints left on the cliff.

In the Sítio district you will find Nossa Senhora da Nazaré church. On the square, in September the "Our Lady" festival takes place (08 sep). This church dates back to the 17th century. And its inside is covered with azulejos.

Sitio e Praia
Nossa Senhora da Nazaré

Along the seafront of Nazaré, people still dry their catch of fish in the sun and mend their boats alongside sunbathing holidaymakers and playful children enjoying the many attributes of the beach. A throng of craftshops and cafes stretches the length of the Avenida Marginal, as well as fish restaurants.

For those who like fish and seafood, Nazaré is quite a gastronomical paradise: fresh fish cooked in many different ways, from caldeirada à Nazarena (a rich stew with several types of fish) to grilled sardines, rock-bass and turbot and delicious lobsters, prawns and spider-crabs.

After Nazaré, you can continue towards Marinha Grande on N 242.

The town is set amongst 100 square kilometres of 700 year old pine forest, Pinhal de Leiria. The forest was first planted in the 13th century under the instruction of Dom Alfonso III and expanded by Dom Dinis to act as a barrier against the advancing sands and as a timber supply to the maritime industry of the time. It is an aromatic forest and you can walk through along the waymarked paths. It is popular with picnickers and there are several campsites within it. There is now also a cycle route from Marinha Grande all the way to S Pedro de Moel on the coast.

Real Fabrica

Marinha Grande is most famous for its glass manufacturing industry which was first established in the middle of the 18th century by Englishman William Stephens. The wood from the pine forest was used to fuel the factories. The Royal Glass Factory (Real Fabrica de Vidros) was bought by William Stephens who developed the factory and the business under the protection of the Marques de Pombal. In 1826, the factory was given to the state and became one of the country's main producers of traditionally made fine crystal.

Palacio Stephens

The whole area around Marinha Grande is famed for its intricate glassware using traditional methods. There are various museums and factories that can be visited as part of the "Glass Route" including Museu do Vidro da Marinha Grande which houses glassware from the 17th-20th centuries in the former palacial home of William Stephens. Here you will learn all about the history of the Portuguese glass industry and you will see glassmaking the old-fashioned way.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, October-May: 10:00 to 18:00, June-September 10:00 to 19:00. Closed Mondays.

 
 
 

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