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Charming Nazare the 'Portuguese Coney Island'

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Photographs by Rick Steves’ Europe/DOMINIC ARIZONA BONUCCELLI

The hillside funicular climbs to Nazare’s Sitio neighborhood, where locals farm instead of fish.

Tucked into a far corner of Europe, just two hours north of Lisbon, is one of my favorite beach towns: Nazare, a Portuguese fishing town turned tourist retreat. Visitors are greeted by the energetic applause of the surf, widows with rooms to rent, and fishermen mending nets. This is a place to relax in the sun among cork groves, eucalyptus trees, ladies in petticoats, and men who stow cigarettes and fishhooks in their stocking caps.

SLEEPING: Hotel Praia has 80 spacious, renovated rooms and is an easy walk to the beach (splurge, hotelpraia.com). Hotel Ribamar has a rare old-world atmosphere and 25 small rooms (moderate, ribamar.pai.pt).

EATING: Taberna d’Adelia is popular for fresh fish and unpretentious cheerful ambience (splurge, Rua das Traineiras 12). Restaurante A Tasquinha dishes authentic Portuguese cuisine (moderate, Rua Adriao Batalha 54).

GETTING AROUND: Everything in Nazare is within walking distance of the main square, Praca Sousa Oliveira. To get to the old town (Sitio), take the funicular.

TOURIST INFORMATION: centerofportugal.com.

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Jovial folk bands in festive costumes bring life to the sandy sidewalks of Nazare, Portugal. + Enlarge

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