Ericeira, a small coastal town located just 50 km north of Lisbon, is a true gem of Portugal. Known for its breathtaking ocean views, stunning beaches, and incredible surf spots, Ericeira has become a beloved destination for travelers seeking a unique and authentic experience in Portugal.
The small beach town is increasingly becoming more popular every year with digital nomads, backpackers and surfers, so get here before it becomes too crowded! In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best things to do in Ericeira, so you can make the most of your trip to this charming seaside town.
Where is Ericeira?
Ericeira is just 50 kilometers north of Lisbon. The town is situated in the district of Lisbon, in the municipality of Mafra. Ericeira is an ideal place to surf, thanks to its inclusion in the World Surf Reserve. The waves and swell at Ericeira make it suitable for surfers of all levels, making it one of the best places in Europe to take on the waves.
One of the best things about Ericeira is its location. The town is nestled between the ocean and the Serra de Sintra mountain range, which means there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, surfing, and boating.
How to get to Ericeira?
For those travelling to Ericeira from outside Portugal, the most convenient route is usually to fly into Lisbon. There are a variety of airlines offering good deals on flights from London, including budget and national airlines such as TAP, EasyJet, and RyanAir.
From Lisbon airport, the cheapest option is to rent a car from the airport itself (or online) or take a bus from the Lisbon bus station to Ericeira. Both are easy to do.
To get to Ericeira by bus, take the metro from the airport to Campo Grande bus terminal. This trip takes no more than 10 minutes, and once you arrive at the terminal, you can purchase a ticket to Ericeira for €7.
The journey from Campo Grande to Ericeira usually takes around an hour but there is also an express service with fewer stops that can get you there in under an hour. The town is also well-connected to other destinations in Portugal, including Sintra and Cascais.
If you’re looking to explore Portugal on a road trip, Ericeira is a great destination to visit. Get on the A8 highway out of Lisbon and take the A21 until you reach your destination. You can take the bus, rent a car or campervan to make the journey – however you choose to get there, the scenery is sure to be stunning!
The Best Things to do in Ericeira
Give Surfing a Try
Ericeira is one of the most famous surfing destinations in Europe, and for good reason. With more than 12 different surf spots in the area, it’s the perfect place to catch some waves, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. Surfing is for sure one of the top things to do in Ericeira.
Surf schools and surf camps are abundant in the town, making it easy to find lessons and equipment rentals. If you’re an experienced surfer, you’ll want to head to Ribeira d’Ilhas, a world-class surf spot that has hosted several international surfing competitions.
The most popular surf schools include Boardriders, La Point, and Rapture, all providing quality tuition in a range of different spots. Other smaller schools are also available, each offering their own unique location and teaching style.
La Point and Rapture, two surfing schools located on the Southside of Ericeira, offer lessons at Foz do Lizandro beach. On the other hand, Boardriders is based on the Northside of Ericeira, at Matadouro beach.
There are a number of other surf schools in the area that offer great lessons and experiences. From professional instructors to beginner-friendly classes, these schools can provide the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of surfing. With locations ranging from beaches to lakes, these surf schools provide the ideal environment for learning the sport.
We highly recommended this surf class here.
Explore the Beaches
Ericeira is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. Praia do Norte, located just a few minutes from the town center, is a stunning beach with crystal-clear waters and golden sands.
There are several beaches within walking distance from the town centre, including some smaller coves that are unnamed. Spending time at Praia da Foz do Lizandro is a must. It’s one of the nicest beaches and is situated in a beautiful and tranquil location. The sand is white and soft, and the water is so clear that you can see the various fish and sea life swimming in the depths.
It’s the perfect place to relax, sunbathe, and swim. If you’re looking for a more secluded spot, head to Praia da Empa, a small beach with a natural pool and incredible views.
If you head further up the coastline, you will find even more stunning beaches. To get to these places, it would be best to have your own transportation. Other beaches include Praia dos Coxos and Ribeira d’ Ilhas (popular with beginner surfers).
Just a short drive away from Ericeira is the stunning beach of Praia de São Julião. Not to be outdone by the better-known beaches of the Algarve, this three-kilometer stretch of white sand is one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal and a must-visit for photographers. Enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters before settling in to watch one of the best sunsets on the North coast. Definitely a great way to end the day!
Enjoy the Seafood
Portugal is famous for its seafood, and Ericeira is no exception. The town has a long tradition of fishing, and you’ll find some of the freshest seafood in the country here. Don’t miss the chance to try some of the local specialties, like grilled sardines, clams, and octopus.
Many of the fish and seafood served at Ericeira’s restaurants are freshly caught from its waters and prepared using a variety of techniques. The most outstanding seafood restaurants are located in Ribamar, which is just 3km (less than two miles) north of the town center, facing the Atlantic
Take in the Sunsets
Ericeira is famous for its incredible sunsets, and it’s easy to see why. The town is perched on the cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean, offering panoramic views of the horizon. The best place to watch the sunset is from the Praia dos Pescadores, a small beach located just below the town center. Grab a drink or a snack from one of the beachfront bars, and enjoy the show.
Another great way to enjoy the sunset is a 2 hour bike tour, which you can find here.
Discover the History
Ericeira is a town steeped in history, and there are several historical sites to explore. The town center is home to several historic buildings, including the Church of São Pedro, a beautiful 17th-century church that boasts stunning Baroque architecture.
The town also has a small museum, the Museu Municipal de Ericeira, which tells the story of the town’s fishing tradition and its role in Portuguese history.
Visit the Fish Market
One of the best ways to experience the local culture in Ericeira is to visit the fish market. Located in the heart of the town, the market is a bustling hub of activity, where locals come to buy and sell the freshest catch of the day. It’s a great place to observe the local way of life and sample some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste.
Walk the Coastal Path
The coastal path in Ericeira is a beautiful way to explore the stunning coastline and take in the incredible views. The path stretches for several kilometers, and there are several different routes to choose from, depending on your fitness level and interests. One of the most popular routes is the Ribeira d’Ilhas to São Lourenço route, which takes you along the cliffs and past several surf spots and beautiful beaches.
At Foz do Lizandro beach, a 30-minute journey awaits you over the headland to Praia de São Julião. You’ll be treated to a stunning visual journey of many different landscapes and hues, with the backdrop of the waves crashing against the rocks. This is an experience that you should not miss when visiting Ericeira!
Before starting the trek, it’s important to make sure the tide is low or mid-high, as a shallow pool of water may block the beginning of the trail during higher tides. Nevertheless, if the tide is higher, the most that could happen is that you’ll end up with wet ankles!
Explore the Old Town
One of the best things to do in Ericeira is to simply just walk around the beautiful, historic town. Ericeira embodies the essence of a traditional Portuguese fishing town with its charming white houses accented by blue, giving it a Mediterranean village feel.
Despite being situated on the Atlantic coast, the town’s quaint cobbled streets, lined with narrow houses, lead to picturesque squares that make for postcard or Instagram-worthy shots.
Praia da Ursa Day Trip
Praia da Ursa is an unmissable destination for travellers and photographers alike. Situated near Ericeira, this beach is a hidden gem that requires a bit of effort to reach. It is widely regarded as one of the best places to visit in both Ericeira and Portugal, offering stunning views, a unique atmosphere and plenty of opportunities for exploration.
Getting to Ursa Beach from Ericeira is a beautiful 50-minute drive, and an enjoyable journey in itself. The coastal road winds through picturesque villages and by some of the region’s best-protected beaches, such as Azenhas do Mar, Praia das Maças, and Praia da Adraga, making them ideal for a day trip.
On the beach you’ll spot the famous rocky needle of Ursa. It’s a popular spot for photographers and offers a beautiful view with the beach and ocean complementing the landscape. On warmer days, it’s a great place to relax and take in the scenery.
Visit Mafra National Palace
Mafra National Palace is a stunning baroque palace located just a few kilometers from Ericeira. The palace was built in the 18th century and is one of the largest palaces in Europe. It’s home to a beautiful basilica, a library with more than 40,000 books, and several ornate rooms and halls. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in history and architecture.
King João V’s decision to construct one of the world’s largest palaces outside Lisbon left the nation nearly bankrupt. The solution came in the form of gold discovered in Brazil, which funded the grandiose Baroque building that functioned as both a royal palace and a convent.
Today, it is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace is located just 15 minutes away from Ericeira by car and is also accessible via public transportation by taking the Ericeira-Lisbon bus, which stops just steps from the monument.
If you’re looking to explore Ericeira, Mafra and other sites, we highly recommend this tour.
Drink with the Locals
While Ericeira may be a low-key town, there are still plenty of places to drink, though most cater to the locals, visitors can certainly enjoy the scene! For the craft beer enthusiasts, we recommend 5 e meio Tap Room, one of the best selections of craft beer in town.
Taberna Lebre is a traditional spot with locals serving up excellent steak sandwhiches and brugers. Most spots in town spill out onto the cobbled streets in a relaxed and casual manner, making them kid-friendly and perfect for a little romping around.
They open after 5 pm and generally close before midnight, so be sure to plan accordingly. Neptuno bar and Jukebox Bar stay open later though.
Take a Boat Trip
Ericeira is located on the Atlantic Ocean, and one of the best ways to experience the beauty of the coastline is to take a boat trip. There are several different companies that offer boat tours, including dolphin-watching tours and fishing trips. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with the local wildlife and see the coastline from a different perspective.
Take a Day Trip to Sintra
Sintra is a picturesque town located just 20 km from Ericeira, and it’s a popular day trip destination for visitors to the area. The town is known for its beautiful palaces and castles, including the stunning Palácio da Pena, which is perched on a hilltop overlooking the town.
Sintra is also home to several beautiful parks and gardens, including the Quinta da Regaleira, a romantic garden filled with hidden tunnels and grottoes.
Go Hiking in the Serra de Sintra
The Serra de Sintra is a beautiful mountain range located just a few kilometers from Ericeira. It’s a popular hiking destination, with several different trails to choose from.
The trails range from easy to challenging, so there’s something for hikers of all levels. Along the way, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the coast and the countryside.
Where to Stay in Ericeira?
If you’re visiting Ericeira, it’s important to consider where you stay, as the beaches extend beyond the centre. Depending on your needs, you can stay in the town centre, Praia do Sul (south) or Praia de São Sebastião (north), all of which provide great access to some of the best beaches in the area.
For those planning to do some surfing in Ericeira, why not check out the range of surf and stay packages available from the many surf schools and guesthouses in town. Popular options include Ericeira Surf House and Salty Pelican, although there are many other excellent guesthouses in the area that offer surfing and accommodation packages.
If you’re not interested in surfing, then it’s best to stay in a hotel or Airbnb. There are many great apartments, townhouses, and even boutique hotels like Residencial Fortunato. Ericeira has a lot of great accommodation options for everyone.
As surfing is one of the most popular things to do in Ericeira, staying at a surfing accomodation like the Ericeira surf house makes sense. It’s a vibrant hostel situated atop a hill, providing breathtaking views of the village and the Atlantic Ocean. The property is within walking distance to Futuro Beach, making it an ideal location for surfers and beach enthusiasts alike.
The hostel offers a variety of accommodation options, including colourful private rooms and dorms with shared bathroom facilities. Some rooms feature a mosquito net or a cozy window seat, while others have chairs on the walls for hanging clothes. F
Start your day off with a delicious breakfast buffet served in the bright and colourful dining room from 9:00 to 11:00. The town centre, where you can find an array of bars, shops and restaurants serving fresh seafood and fish dishes, is just a short walk away.
The hostel’s 24-hour reception can help organise surf lessons, massages, yoga, touristic tours and horse riding tours. You can also rent surf equipment on site. In the evenings, guests can enjoy social dinners and bar tours in Ericeira with the property’s staff.
Another budget accommodation and beautiful surf house is the Salty Pelican. It has a pool, a cinema room, a bar serving food and drinks throughout the day, and a communal poolside lounge. The property’s terrace offers stunning sea views and features barbecue facilities, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing evening with friends or family.
All rooms at the retreat come equipped with air conditioning, comfortable custom-designed beds, personal lockers, and ceiling fans for maximum comfort. Some rooms offer beautiful ocean views, while others overlook the pool and feature a balcony. En-suite bathrooms are included in some rooms as well.
Residencial Fortunato offers accommodation with a terrace and private parking, just 300 meters from Baleia Beach. The property is conveniently set only 1.7 km from Matadouro Beach, providing easy access to some of the town’s popular attractions.
Residencial Fortunato provides comfortable guest rooms with convenient amenities such as a wardrobe, flat-screen TV, private bathroom, bed linen, and towels.
Guests can start their day with a delicious buffet or continental breakfast available each morning at the accommodation. The area is popular for cycling, and bike hire is available at Residencial Fortunato for guests to explore the town and its surroundings.
Things to do in Ericeira Summary
In conclusion, Ericeira is a charming coastal town that offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. From its stunning beaches and excellent surf spots to its historic landmarks and picturesque streets, there are so many things to do in Ericeira.
Visitors can indulge in fresh seafood at local restaurants, enjoy a drink and mingle with the friendly locals, take nearby day trips, or simply relax and take in the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Ericeira is a must-visit destination in Portugal that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
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