Ericeira, located on the western coast of Portugal, is a fishing village turned surfers' paradise. This quaint town, with its cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings, has become a magnet for surfers from around the world, earning the title of World Surfing Reserve in 2011.
However, surfing is only a small part of what Ericeira has to offer! Its stunning coastline, for example, is perfect for leisurely strolls. The Ribeira d'Ilhas boardwalk offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the cliffs provide an ideal vantage point to witness the crashing waves against the rugged shoreline.
Let's uncover the magic of this Portuguese coastal gem!
Proximity to Lisbon
Escape the busy streets of Lisbon and embark on a captivating day trip to Ericeira - you will be surprised by the coastal gem that awaits you just an hour away! With its diverse offerings, this picturesque town promises an unforgettable day trip that combines natural beauty, cultural exploration and the thrill of the sea.
We believe a rental car or a private driver are the most practical ways to properly navigate this village and all its attractions. Plus, the journey from Lisbon to Ericeira is a seamless transition from cityscape to coastal tranquility.
The beauty of the beaches
Ericeira is renowned for its wondrous coastline and a variety of beautiful beaches. The most popular one is the Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman's Beach), due to its central location near the fishing port. It is a family-friendly spot with golden sands, clear waters and various seaside restaurants serving fresh seafood.
Next on the list is Praia do Sul, sought-after for its long sandy stretch and excellent waves. This beach is great for long walks, backed by cliffs with a stunning setting. Praia da Foz do Lizandro is a family-friendly beach with a river mouth and sand dunes. It is suitable for both swimming and surfing, making it a versatile choice. Praia do Matadouro is popular among surfers due to its consistent waves and it is also slightly less crowded, which is a big pro during summer.
These are just a few examples of the fantastic beaches in and around Ericeira. Each one has its own unique character, catering to a variety of preferences, from surfing and water sports to sunbathing and exploring the scenic coastal landscape.
Picturesque historic centre
The historic centre of Ericeira is a delightful and well-preserved area. At its heart is the port, a busy area where you can observe fishermen at work and their colourful boats. You will see traditional fishermen's houses scattered around the centre, characterized by their white façades and blue or yellow trim, which add to the authentic and charming ambience of Ericeira.
While you meander through the narrow cobblestone streets, you will surely end up in Largo dos Navegantes or Praça da República, both lively squares full of restaurants, cafes and shops that are particularly fun during the evenings. No matter the street you are on, you will always pass by artisan shops that sell locally made crafts and traditional Portuguese souvenirs.
Be sure to notice the São Sebastião Chapel, a significant religious site in Ericeira dating back to the 13th century. Its simple yet elegant architecture and serene surroundings allow you to soak in the true essence of this place.
Conclude your day trip with a mesmerizing sunset over the Atlantic Ocean!
Proximity to several historic landmarks
The most iconic landmark is the Mafra National Palace, 10 minutes away by car. This is a grandiose Baroque construction of utter architectural splendour and historical significance. The palace complex includes a fascinating basilica, a huge convent and a library with more than 36,000 rare books and manuscripts. It stands as one of the most impressive 18th-century monuments in Portugal and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A completely different attraction you must visit is the José Franco Typical Village - an open-air museum created by the Portuguese ceramist and sculptor José Franco, which recreates a traditional Portuguese village. It depicts scenes of everyday rural life in the 1900s, including people engaged in traditional activities such as farming and fishing. It is all about stepping back in time and appreciating the simplicity and authenticity of rural life!
If you are looking for gorgeous panoramic views of the ocean, visit the Forte do Milreu and Forte da Natividade, 17th-century fortresses built in the ideal locations for maritime defense, which are synonymous with ample, jaw-dropping vistas.
Just like any Portuguese coastal town, Ericeira boasts a rich gastronomic scene that mixes traditional Portuguese flavours with the abundance of fresh seafood from the Atlantic Ocean. To make sure you choose a proper traditional restaurant with the best recipes, look for those which have “Marisqueira” in the name, which means they are seafood specialists.
Indulge in the most popular dishes in the Portuguese cuisine, such as grilled sardines, seafood rice, bacalhau à brás (codfish), polvo à lagareiro (octopus), caldeirada (fish stew) and amêijoas à bulhão pato (clams), among many others. And you know what they say, fish dishes go well with wine! Savour unique Portuguese wines, including the Colares Wine, produced close to Ericeira.
Something you must know about this village is that locals never get enough of the sea! And that is why they host the Sea Urchin Festival (Festival do Ouriço) every year. This event includes showcooking sessions in the Municipal Market, tastings and even educational exhibits and lectures about the creation and preservation of sea urchins, considered the Portuguese caviar.
Ericeira's new life
Thanks to its surfing appeal, Ericeira has gained attention and visitors in recent years, which has led to the creation of more events that bring together residents and visitors.
The two oldest religious festivities that take place in this town are the Festa de São Vicente and Festa de São Sebastião, that aim to honour these two saints. During these celebrations at the end of January, you can expect lively street festivities, colourful decorations, religious processions and most importantly, an abundance of food and a joyful atmosphere! In August, history repeats itself during the Fisherman's Feast (Festa de Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem), an homage to Ericeira’s maritime heritage.
Ericeira's unique blend of surf culture, buzzing ambiance and coastal beauty makes it a destination that caters to a wide range of interests. Whether you are chasing waves, exploring historical sites or simply enjoying the sunrays at the beach, Ericeira has something for you!