Is Ericeira, Portugal worth visiting, and what to do in Ericeira? Or are you planning a coastal road trip around Portugal from Lisbon? Look no further. In this travel guide, we’ll dive into the Ericeira surf, the restaurants, the beaches, and the best hotels, helping you navigate your way through the vibrant coastal town of Ericeira, Portugal, where the spirit of adventure meets the tranquility of the sea.
If you’re planning a one-week road trip through Portugal, Ericeira is a must-include stop on your itinerary. Notably, Ericeira holds the prestigious title of being part of the World Surf Reserve, a testament to its world-class waves and the vibrant surf culture that permeates the town.
Where is Ericeira?
Ericeira is a picturesque seaside town nestled along the western coast of Portugal, approximately 45 kilometers northwest of Lisbon. Renowned for its stunning Atlantic Ocean views, Ericeira has earned its place as a coveted destination for surf enthusiasts, yogis and travelers seeking a blend of coastal charm and cultural richness. The town is situated in the municipality of Mafra, within the Lisbon District. It is easily accessible for those looking to escape the bustling city life and immerse themselves in the laid-back ambiance of this coastal gem.
By the way, the pronunciation of “Ericeira” is typically rendered as “Eh-ree-seh-rah,” with a soft, rolling ‘r’ and emphasis on the first syllable.
Is Ericeira, Portugal Worth Visiting In 2024?
Ericeira is unquestionably worth visiting in 2024!
For those drawn to the sea, Ericeira, Portugal, is a sanctuary like no other. Known for its surf, the town promises exhilarating experiences for wave enthusiasts and a tranquil escape for those looking to unwind by the picturesque shores. Ericeira is not just about the surf; it’s a destination enriched with cultural depth.
This charming fishing village is a culinary hotspot, famed for its fresh seafood and traditional Portuguese dishes. Wander through its historic center, breathe in the Atlantic air, and indulge in the local cuisine for an authentic taste of Portugal.
How do I get from Lisbon to Ericeira?
Once you touch down at Lisbon airport, you’ve got a couple of straightforward options. Opt for the flexibility of a rental car or hop on the bus at Lisbon bus station headed for Ericeira.
Renting a car in Lisbon
Renting a car in Lisbon was an absolute breeze! With the car rental services conveniently located inside the airport, the process was not only seamless but incredibly convenient. I was able to pick up the keys right after landing, eliminating any unnecessary delays.
Just hop onto the A8 highway from Lisbon, and follow it until you reach the A21, your direct route to the charm of Ericeira.
The cons of renting a car to go to Ericeira: limited parking space
While renting a car for my Portugal road trip was a fantastic decision, I must admit that bringing it into Ericeira posed some challenges. This charming coastal town, though stunningly picturesque, is quite compact, leaving very little room for parking. The underground parking lots were consistently full, and navigating through the narrow streets to find a suitable spot in the town center proved nearly impossible.
Street parking, when available, often required some creative maneuvering, and we found ourselves grappling with a less-than-ideal parking situation. Mind you, I opted for the smallest car available, a Fiat 500 and I still struggled.
Getting to Ericeira by Public Transport
To catch the bus, zip over from the airport to Campo Grande bus terminal via the metro, a quick 10-minute ride. There, snag a ticket to Ericeira (€7). The bus journey from Campo Grande to Ericeira takes roughly an hour. For a speedier ride, they’ve got an express service with fewer stops.
How is the weather in Ericeira throughout the year?
- Spring (March to May):
- Spring brings mild temperatures, with daytime highs ranging from 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F).
- This season sees an increase in rainfall, but the landscape becomes lush and green.
- Reason to visit: It’s a quieter season compared to the peak summer months.
- Summer (June to August):
- Summer is the peak tourist season, characterized by warm and dry weather.
- Daytime temperatures typically range from 20 to 30°C (68 to 86°F).
- This is the ideal time for beach activities and outdoor exploration.
- Reason to visit: The sea is at its warmest, inviting travelers to enjoy water activities and relax on the sandy shores.
- Autumn (September to November):
- Autumn in Ericeira features mild temperatures and decreasing rainfall.
- Daytime highs range from 15 to 25°C (59 to 77°F).
- The ocean remains relatively warm, making it suitable for water activities.
- Reason to visit: great time for exploring the region’s cultural sites and enjoying outdoor pursuits with fewer tourists.
- Winter (December to February):
- Winters are mild, but it is the wettest season in Ericeira.
- Daytime temperatures usually range from 10 to 15°C (50 to 59°F).
- While winter is not as cold as in northern Europe, visitors may encounter rain.
- Reason to visit: A quieter time, providing a more authentic experience
Best place to stay in Ericeira
The heart of Ericeira can be dissected into distinct areas – the lively Town Centre, the sun-kissed Praia do Sul (south), and the picturesque Praia de São Sebastião (north). Opting for accommodation in any of these regions offers a perfect blend of convenience and charm. These areas are not only central but also boast some of the most enchanting beaches in Ericeira.
Where to stay in Ericeira for Surfers
For surf enthusiasts seeking the perfect wave, exploring surf + stay packages at one of the town’s many surf schools and guesthouses is a wise move. Laneez House and Salty Pelican stand out as excellent options for an immersive surfing experience. During my stay, I opted for the heart of the town, finding comfort in the clean, simple, yet cozy ambiance of Casa das Aquarelas.
Luxury & Boutique hotels in Ericeira
However, if catching waves isn’t at the top of your agenda, Ericeira offers a diverse range of accommodations. From cozy apartments and charming townhouses to more luxurious boutique hotels like You and the Sea, there’s an ideal stay option for every traveler, ensuring a memorable experience in this coastal gem. Vila Gale Ericeira offers an epic view and provides comfortable rooms, an outdoor pool, a spa, and other upscale amenities.
What to do in Ericeira Portugal?
In this seaside haven, the best things to do in Ericeira unfold in a tapestry of surf, culture, and breathtaking landscapes, creating an itinerary as diverse and captivating as the town itself. Let’s dig into some of the top activities and experiences that make Ericeira worth visiting.
Best surf in Portugal: Surfing in Ericeira
Embarking on the ultimate Ericeira adventure must commence with a ride on its famous waves – a quintessential experience in the surfing capital of Europe. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a wave-wary beginner, Ericeira’s status as the first World Surfing Reserve in Europe promises an unparalleled surfing journey.
What are the top surf schools in Ericeira for Advanced and Beginner surfers?
As the winter months beckon advanced surfers with formidable swells, the summer sun invites tourists to dip their toes in the beginner-friendly waves. The town is dotted with a plethora of surf schools, including renowned ones like Boardriders, La Point, and Rapture, each choosing their teaching grounds based on prime locations like Foz do Lizandro or Matadouro beach.
Surf Schools in Ericeira Portugal
Other fantastic options like Blue Ocean Ericeira, Na Onda Surf School, and West Coast Surf School add to the vibrant surfing scene. Don’t miss the chance to enroll in surf + stay packages offered by boutique surf lodges, creating an immersive experience for wave riders.
With Ericeira being a surfing haven, surf gear is easily acquired at the numerous surf shops scattered across its charming streets. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro seeking a thrill or a first-time surfer eager to catch the perfect wave, Ericeira welcomes all with its surf-filled embrace.
Explore the many beaches in Ericeira
Dive into the sun-soaked coastline of Ericeira, where each beach is a canvas painted with unique strokes of charm and excitement. While walking is a pleasant way to explore Ericeira and its beaches, keep in mind that the town has some hills and slopes. The distance between the northern and southern beaches may be more comfortable with transportation if you have time constraints.
General overview of (the Praias) beaches in Ericeira per location:
- Central Beaches (Praia do Pescador, Praia dos Pescadores, and Praia do Algodio):
- These central beaches are within walking distance of the town center, and you can explore them on foot.
- Northside Beaches (Praia do Matadouro, Praia do Norte):
- Matadouro beach on the Northside lays close to the central area. It can be reached on foot. Praia do Norte, being a bit further north, may be a longer walk but is still accessible on foot.
- Southside Beaches (Praia da Foz do Lizandro, Praia do Sul):
- Foz do Lizandro on the Southside is a bit farther from the town center, and you might prefer using transportation if you have limited time. Praia do Sul, being closer, is more easily accessible on foot.
The Best Praias (beaches) in Ericeira:
- Praia do Sul: The beach with golden sands and a lively atmosphere. It is my go-to for catching the perfect wave, thanks to the surf-friendly conditions that make every ride an adventure.
- Praia de São Sebastião: Moving north, this beach welcomes its scenic beauty and relaxing vibes. I find it ideal for a leisurely seaside stroll or a peaceful day of sunbathing.
- Foz do Lizandro: Situated on the Southside, captures my heart with its expansive sands and vibrant surf culture. It creates a perfect blend of relaxation and aquatic thrills.
- Matadouro beach: This praia on the Northside offers a more secluded escape. It’s rhythmic waves provide a soothing soundtrack to an idyllic day or yoga sesh by the sea.
Explore the heart of Ericeira’s town center
Wander through the vibrant streets adorned with traditional Portuguese houses, each facade boasting a unique character. Discover an array of quaint boutiques, surf shops, and local markets. You will find a delightful mix of handmade crafts and coastal treasures. Sidle up to cozy cafes and eateries, savoring the flavors of Portuguese cuisine while soaking in the laid-back atmosphere.
Where to get the best coffee in Ericeira?
Ericeira boasts a variety of charming cafes and eateries offering delightful local cuisine. Here are three notable spots:
- Pãozinho das Marias:
- A cherished local gem, Pãozinho das Marias beckons with the aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries. This cozy bakery and café in the heart of Ericeira is perfect for a leisurely breakfast or a light lunch, offering a delightful selection of treats along with aromatic coffee.
- Dear Rose Café:
- Nestled in the heart of Ericeira, Dear Rose Café is a charming establishment known for its inviting atmosphere and delectable offerings. Whether you’re in the mood for a comforting cup of coffee, a sweet treat, or a light lunch, Dear Rose Café’s eclectic menu and warm ambiance make it a must-visit spot.
- Mar à Vista:
- Perched along the coastline, Mar à Vista provides a picturesque setting for a leisurely lunch. This charming restaurant and café offer a diverse menu, featuring seafood delights and Portuguese classics. The added bonus of breathtaking coastal views enhances the overall dining experience.
Embracing Yoga in the Coastal Haven of Ericeira
Ericeira offers a haven for holistic well-being. Several yoga studios and retreats dot the town, inviting practitioners to partake in rejuvenating classes that blend the soothing rhythm of ocean waves with the ancient practice of yoga.
From beachfront sessions to intimate studio atmospheres, Ericeira’s yoga community caters to all levels, providing an opportunity to find balance and inner peace amid the town’s laid-back charm. Immerse yourself in the therapeutic embrace of yoga, allowing the coastal energy of Ericeira to enhance your practice and create a harmonious connection between mind and nature. Here are three well-regarded yoga studios in Ericeira:
- Ericeira Yoga Studio:
- Located in the heart of Ericeira, this studio offers a variety of yoga classes in a welcoming and tranquil environment. From vinyasa to restorative sessions, Ericeira Yoga Studio caters to practitioners of all levels.
- Sandhi House:
- Sandhi House beckons as a distinctive guesthouse, seamlessly blending the village’s maritime traditions with its newfound acclaim as one of the World’s Surfing Reserves and a sought-after Yoga retreat destination.
- Salty Pelican
- Imagine indulging in yoga sessions gracefully set against the backdrop of the ocean, basking in the warm embrace of golden rays either poolside or amidst the breathtaking views of the coastline.
Fun Day trips from Ericeira, Portugal
These day trips offer a diverse range of experiences, from urban exploration in Lisbon to the natural beauty of Praia da Ursa and the fairy-tale allure of Sintra—all within a comfortable driving distance from Ericeira.
Marvel at Big Wave Surfing Spectacle in Nazaré
Embark on an exhilarating day trip from Ericeira to the world-renowned shores of Nazaré, celebrated globally for hosting some of the largest and most awe-inspiring waves on the planet. As you navigate the scenic drive along the Portuguese coastline—approximately 120 kilometers and 1 hour and 30 minutes away—the anticipation builds for the extraordinary spectacle that awaits.
Awe-inspiring 100ft waves
Nazaré’s unique underwater canyon amplifies ocean swells, creating colossal waves that have become legendary in the surfing world. Praia do Norte beach, with its towering waves often exceeding 100 feet, has drawn professional surfers from across the globe. Nazaré’s reputation as a mecca for big wave surfing and its inclusion in the annals of surfing history make it an unmissable destination for thrill-seekers and surf enthusiasts alike.
Nazaré is host to an annual big wave surfing competition known as the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge. This event is part of the World Surf League’s Big Wave Tour and attracts some of the world’s top big wave surfers.
Lisbon Exploration: Approximately 40 minutes of driving
Dive into the vibrant energy of Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon. Explore historical neighborhoods like Alfama, indulge in delectable pastries at Belém, and take in panoramic views from São Jorge Castle. Immerse yourself in Lisbon’s rich culture, diverse architecture, and lively atmosphere.
Here are 5 things you don’t want to miss:
- Explore Belém and Try the Famous Pastel de Nata:
- Visit the historic neighborhood of Belém and savor the iconic Portuguese custard tart known as Pastel de Nata. Explore landmarks like the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery, and take a stroll along the scenic riverfront.
- Visit São Jorge Castle and Alfama:
- Immerse yourself in Lisbon’s history by exploring São Jorge Castle, perched on a hill with panoramic views of the city. Wander through the narrow streets of the Alfama district, known for its historic charm, Fado music, and vibrant atmosphere.
- Indulge in Lisbon’s Culinary Scene:
- Lisbon is a paradise for food enthusiasts. Try traditional Portuguese dishes at local eateries, explore the vibrant Mercado da Ribeira, and indulge in seafood delicacies at Cervejaria Ramiro. For a unique experience, enjoy Lisbon’s eclectic food scene at LX Factory.
- Discover the LX Factory:
- Venture to the LX Factory, a dynamic cultural and creative hub located in a former industrial complex. This trendy district offers a mix of art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Explore the unique atmosphere and artistic flair of this revitalized urban space.
- Experience Award-Winning Pizza at Forno D’Oro:
- Delight your taste buds with a visit to Forno D’Oro, a renowned pizzeria in Lisbon that has received the highest award in the pizza universe, often referred to as the “Michelin Star of Pizzas” – Verace Pizza Napoletana. Experience the artistry of Neapolitan-style pizzas crafted by skilled chefs, making Forno D’Oro a must-visit for pizza enthusiasts seeking an authentic taste of Italy in the heart of Lisbon. It was hands down the best pizza I ever tasted!
If you are considering staying a night in Lisbon, I strongly suggest the Ritz Carlton Four Seasons.
Praia da Ursa in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park: Approximately 1 hour of driving
Unlike the easily reached beaches, Praia da Ursa demands a bit more effort, but oh, the journey is a breathtaking reward in itself! A scenic 50-minute drive from Ericeira guides you along a coastal road weaving through charming villages and past Sintra’s protected beaches, such as Azenhas do Mar, Praia das Maças, and Praia da Adraga—each a destination in its own right.
Nestled at the tip of the Sintra coast, Praia da Ursa unveils its beauty, marked by a lighthouse visible from Ericeira on clear evenings. Upon arrival, park at the first little car lot on the right before the lighthouse. While it may be no more than a patch of land, it serves as the trailhead to the beach, the favored starting point for intrepid explorers. A word of caution: break-ins have been reported, so be mindful not to leave valuables behind.
Mesmerizing vistas of Praia da Ursa
A 15-minute stroll from the car park reveals the majestic Praia da Ursa and its iconic rocky needle—the photographer’s paradise. The panoramic views here are just as mesmerizing as those on the beach, but on warmer days, you might find yourself captivated, spending an entire day lounging, swimming, and capturing the magic, especially during the enchanting sunset. Set within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Praia da Ursa not only captivates with its beauty but also immerses you in the protected coastal wonders of this pristine natural area.
Sintra Magical Escape: Approximately 30 minutes of driving
Just a short drive away, Sintra unveils a tapestry of palaces, castles, and gardens that transport visitors to a fairy-tale realm. Explore the colorful and whimsical Pena Palace, perched atop a hill with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Wander through the mystical gardens of Quinta da Regaleira, where hidden tunnels and symbolic structures invite discovery.
The historic town center, adorned with charming cobblestone streets, offers delightful shops and cafes. Sintra’s cultural richness, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the romantic allure of its architectural wonders make it a perfect excursion from Ericeira, promising a day filled with wonder and awe-inspiring beauty.
Is Ericeira a safe destination for tourists?
Portugal, in general, is known for its safety and hospitality. However, like any travel destination, tourists should take common safety precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, be aware of your surroundings, and follow local guidelines.
Is Ericeira, Portugal worth visiting for non-surfers?
In the gentle embrace of Ericeira’s coastal allure, this guide has unveiled the 20 Best Things to Do, promising a journey through the heart of Portugal’s surf capital. In conclusion, the question lingers: Is Ericeira in Portugal worth visiting? From my personal experience, the answer is a resounding yes. The charm of this little coastal town, steeped in surf culture and rich with the spirit of Portugal, is undeniable.
How much time do you need in Ericeira?
However, with popularity comes a bustling energy, and while I relished every moment in Ericeira, it’s worth noting that the town has become busier. Would I linger for an entire week as a beginner surfer? Perhaps not, for there are other hidden coastal gems scattered around Portugal, waiting to be discovered.
Yet, for at least three days, Ericeira beckons with its world-famous surf culture, quaint streets, and the soothing rhythm of the Atlantic.
So, if you’re seeking a taste of Portugal’s surf paradise, a short stay in Ericeira promises an experience that resonates long after the Atlantic breeze has whispered its farewell.
FAQ’s about Ericeira, Portugal
Yes, Ericeira is an excellent destination for surfing beginners. The town is popular for its variety of surf breaks catering to all skill levels. There are numerous surf schools that offer lessons for beginners.
The best time to visit Ericeira for surfing is during the spring and autumn months (April to June and September to October). The weather is pleasant, and the waves are consistent. However, Ericeira is a year-round destination with a lively atmosphere.
Yes, many locals in Ericeira, especially those working in the tourism industry, speak English. It’s a tourist-friendly destination, and you should generally not have trouble communicating in English.
Some must-try local dishes in Ericeira include fresh seafood, especially grilled sardines and seafood rice. Pastries like “Pastel de Nata” are also popular in Portugal.
Ericeira is approximately a 40-minute drive from Sintra. The distance may vary depending on the specific locations within each town.
Portugal uses the Euro (EUR) as its official currency, and this is also used in Ericeira.
Yes, there are guided tours available for exploring Ericeira, covering its historical sites, beaches, and cultural attractions. You can find local tour operators offering various guided experiences.
Conclusion: Is Ericeira, Portugal Worth Visiting?
Ericeira, Portugal, is undoubtedly worth visiting for its unique blend of traditional charm and surfing dynamism. Whether you’re drawn by the allure of its world-class waves, the quaint cobbled streets, or the delectable seafood, Ericeira offers a slice of Portuguese paradise that appeals to all.
From the stunning cliffs of Ribeira d’Ilhas to the sun-kissed sands of Praia dos Pescadores, Ericeira invites you to immerse yourself in a coastal experience that is both relaxing and invigorating. This seaside village isn’t just a surfers’ haven; it’s a cultural treasure trove, rich in history and brimming with picturesque vistas.
While Ericeira is less heralded than some of Portugal’s more famous tourist spots, its understated beauty and authentic atmosphere provide a getaway that feels both exclusive and welcoming. So, why not journey to Ericeira and discover the enchanting mix of seaside serenity and adventurous spirit? It’s a decision that promises memories to last a lifetime.
Are you in for an Adventure?
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