Fonseca, R.B.; Gonçalves, M., and Guedes Soares, C., 2017. Comparing the performance of spectral wave model for coastal areas.In the present study, the third-generation spectral wave models MIKE 21 BW, SWAN, and STWAVE are compared for the simulation of wave characteristics in shallow waters. The SWAN and STWAVE results were obtained from a previous study that compared their performance. The MIKE 21 BW results are now obtained with the purpose of comparing them with the previous two. Several target areas in the Portuguese coast were considered: Obidos Bay and Figueira da Foz, both located in the central part of the continental Portuguese coast; Leixões Harbor, located in the north coast; and Sines Harbor, located in the west coast, south of Lisbon. The input parameters for the models were obtained from offshore buoys. In situ measurements from buoys and acoustic Doppler current profilers were used to validate the model outputs. The models' results are compared through the wave's parameters, namely the significant wave height (Hs), peak period (Tp), and mean wave direction (Dir). The sensitivity of MIKE 21 SW to some input parameters and physical processes such as wind, tide, and nonlinear interactions is also verified. Information about the model performance for different forcing conditions and area types (bay, port, and straight shoreline) is provided. The results show a similar behavior among the models and they are statistically comparable. Both MIKE 21 SW and SWAN are complex models and have a large set of formulations and parameter choices. On the other hand, despite its simplicity, STWAVE produced good results and is considerably faster than the other two.