Tuesday 22 October 2013

Women of Nazaré

Two hours north of Lisbon, on the vast expanse of the Atlantic coast, is the city of Nazaré (Nazareth).

My stay here has been short.  Two nights to be exact, but I have fallen in love with this small coastal community.  I have specifically fallen in love with women of Nazaré.  They are mighty. They are fierce. So much so, that there is a monument in the city celebrating the hardiness of these women. 

Monument to the Women of Nazaré
Many still dress in traditional wear, consisting of a short skirt with several petticoats.  Overlaying the skirt is an embroidered apron tied with a large bow in the back.  A blouse and slippers finishes the outfit. The older women can be seen wearing a scarf wrapped around their head, not unlike a turban.  

Large striking gold earrings are worn, which seems absurd to the tourist in me.  But there they are.  Nazaré women, married to fishermen, barefoot in the sand, with bloodied hands from gutting fish, wearing beautiful chunky gold earrings that glisten and sparkle in the bright daylight.


It’s not an easy life for the fisherman’s wife.  Each day she waits for her man to come in from the sea.  When he does, she is thankful, then begins the arduous task of processing the catch.  She is fearless with an octopus.  She guts countless sardines and mackerel. With surgical precision, she slices each fish down the backbone, unwrapping it open, revealing its meaty, pink flesh. She lays each silver headed fish in wooden framed nets and lets nature take over. Then, there is the art of selling. She brashly hawks her bounty and cuts the deal.

Nazaré women, man (ha!) kiosks on the seafront, selling pickled lupini beans from large clear plastic bags, dried figs dusted in powdered sugar and a variety of sweet local treats.  Holding signs in various languages, they greet tourists at bus stops and major intersections.  Quartos, Rooms, Zimmer, reads her sign.  If you need a room for the night, she offers, “Bom preço,” (good price) and, “Casa de banho privativa,” (private bathroom). Follow her as she briskly leads you through her familiar maze of streets, to your room in the family’s home. She walks quickly. Be sure to keep up.

For the tourist, it’s colourful and charming. It’s a place where photo opportunities abound. But this is not a tourist attraction. This is the way of life for the women of Nazaré. This in turn, makes this city one of the most authentic and delightful places in Portugal.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I very much enjoyed my time here! :)

  2. Greetings; just discovered your blog; I live in Toronto/Canada, but Nazare is my hometown; Great description.When are you going back to Nazare?

  3. Perusing design magazines and perusing through online womens clothing sites will give you a thought of the most recent embellishment patterns and styles to coordinate.Check this fashion blog

  4. Out of a plethora of designer bags available in the market, you need to be a little cautious about the authenticity of these as many cheap and duplicate ones too are available.

  5. And retailers are stepping up to meet the rising demand for chic clothes that are comfortable and easy to care for, but look fashionable and trendy too.

  6. Whenever a couple decides to experience a child, there are several points that they will have to do when preparing (not just actively having unprotected sex). couple looking for girls

  7. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! swingers sites

  8. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting. To fidn top account on instagram, please visit webstagram