During historical times, the coast of central Portugal has undergone deep changes. Whether as a result of natural forcing or due to human activities (deforestations and brush clearing, agriculture, etc.), the fact is that an intense sediment supply reached the coast. It seems that before the starting of our era, the main estuaries became almost filled and began to export to the coast large amounts of sediment.
Praia da Nazaré is a beach-dune system because active aeolian dunes establish its inner boundary. This analysis reveals that between 1958 and 2014 the active aeolian dunes, from the north and the south of the promontory, moved toward the beach.
The western Portuguese coast is well exposed to the North Atlantic wave regime, characterized by a predominant swell from the NW quadrant and a wider directional spread (SW to N) of other waves generally less energetic.
The offshore dominant wave direction and the orientation of the coastline are determinant for the resulting nearshore total available wave energy.
The higher ocean waves along the Portuguese shore occur, more frequently, in the Praia do Norte. The submarine canyon of Nazaré plays a decisive role in the local water and sediments movement that could also generate giant waves.