Promontório do Sítio

Promontório do Sítio information

Lonely Planet review

Until the 18th century the sea covered the present-day site of Nazaré; locals lived at this clifftop area 110m above the beach. Today this tourist-filled promontory is popular for its tremendous views and its religious associations. From Rua do Elevador, north of the turismo, an ascensor climbs up the hill to Promontório do Sítio; it's nice to walk back down, escaping the crowds of trinket-sellers. There are plenty of places to stay and eat up on the clifftop too.

On a foggy day in 1182, local nobleman Dom Fuas Roupinho was in pursuit of a deer when the animal disappeared off the edge of the Sítio precipice. Dom Fuas cried out to the Virgin, whose sculpture was venerated in a nearby cave, for help, and his horse miraculously stopped right at cliff's edge; the mark of one of its horseshoes is still visible. In what is a much-repeated story in the Iberian peninsula, Dom Fuas built the small Hermida da Memória chapel on the edge of the drop-off to commemorate the event and house the sculpture. It was later visited by a number of VIP pilgrims, including Vasco da Gama. The statue is now housed in the grander church across the square.