It was the evening of 30th April 2019 when I arrived in Ericeira for the first time. Ever since I set foot in this place for the first time and cathed my first wave, I was hooked. And so will you. There is something special about Ericeira that makes everyone who visits it to fell in love with it.
In this post, I will share with you my best recommendations for things to do in Ericeira. But first, let me give you a quick introduction to this charming and little Portuguese town.
Located 50 km away from the Portuguese capital, Ericeira is a small fishing town on the west coast. Situated along a coastline of surfing beaches, in 2011, Ericeira become a World Surfing Reserve. It was the 2nd place worldwide to be distinguished as a Reserve and remains the only one in Europe up to date.
Being Europe’s Surf Mecca, Ericeira attracts surfers from all over the world, all year round. During the summer the town becomes a holiday destination for Portuguese.
Although still not discovered by mass tourism, Ericeira is starting to gain more and more popularity among travelers.
“The few kilometers covered by the Ericeira Reserve are a true heritage of humanity.”
Ericeira onde é o mar mais azul. / Ericeira is where the sea is bluer.
Okay, so without any further ado, here are the best things to do in Ericeira, Portugal:
The best thing to do in Ericeira is SURFING!
Well, obviously, surfing is the best thing to do in Ericeira.
It’s a random fact about me that only a few people know, but I wanted to learn how to surf ever since I was a little girl. My first attempt to do that sport was back in 2017 in Taghazout, when I spend 3 weeks in Morocco. I didn’t go to a surf lesson back then and I couldn’t stand on the board or whatever, but that’s a different story.
Fast forward to May 1st, 2019 when I attended my very first surf lesson in Ericeira. It was a surprise to me, but I managed to catch the first wave that I faced. That feeling!
I went to a few other lessons during that trip and I already knew that this dream of mine can turn into reality. Nothing has been the same since.
When I returned to Portugal for the second time, I spend 2 weeks in Ericeira alone – having tons of fun & improving my surf skills.
Learning how to surf in Ericeira
There are tons of surf schools in Ericeira to choose from. I took my lessons with Surfriders Ericeira – they were recommended to me by the hostel where I was staying.
I’ve been very happy with their lessons.
Every school has its lessons at different times of the day & the price for a single lesson varies between 25 – 30+ EUR. With this in mind, you can do a little bit of research yourself and find the school that will best fit your budget and needs.
Also, many schools offer surf & stay packages that you can take leverage from.
Stroll the coastline on foot or by bicycle
Ericeira’s coastline is stunning! You can easily stroll down from North to South of the city, it’s a very pleasant walk.
For a greater adventure, there are also hiking trails going all the way from Cabo da Roca through Ericeira to Santa Cruz, for instance.
You can do the same on a bicycle. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any bicycling on my previous visits, but it’s on the top of my list of things to do in Ericeira next time when I go.
There are a few places in Ericeira offering bicycling tours and rentals. The price of renting starts at 15 EUR and for the tours at 30 EUR. However, as I haven’t personally tested that, I can not give you a recommendation of where to rent from. But maybe you can give me.
So many beaches to choose from
From North to South:
- Ribeira d’Ilhas – This beach is located just 2 km north of Ericeira and is considered to be the best surfing beach in the area.
- Matadouro beach – This is the beach where I cathed my first wave. I even have the GPS coordinates of it tattooed on my leg. Seriously.
- St. Sebastian beach – It has a nice pathway from the cliffs down to the beach with stairs and awesome viewpoints.
- North beach – This beach is located a short 2 min walk from where my accommodation in Ericeira was. I used to go there to watch the sunset or just listen to the sounds of the Ocean at night. Definitely a favorite one.
- Fisherman’s beach (Praia dos Pescadores) – Surrounded by cliffs and right next to the fishing harbor, this beach is perfect for sunbathing and swimming.
- South beach – Just another pretty beach close to the city center. The view from the road above is great.
- Foz do Lizandro – This is the largest sandy beach for the region and is located only 3 km south of Ericeira. It’s also very popular for surfing.
The list of beaches in Ericeira doesn’t end here. Those are just some of my favorites. Without any doubts, enjoying the beaches, relaxing, drinking wine or beer, and having tons of fun is my second favorite thing to do in Ericeira.
Some of these beaches offer live cams and you can check the current conditions and what’s going on by visiting this website.
St. Sebastian beach
Panoramic view of Mil Regos beach
Explore the Old Town
Ericeira’s old town is beautiful. Charming-traditional white and blue houses, narrow cobblestone streets, laid back atmosphere, handicraft shops, restaurants, cozy coffee shops, and the beaches are just a few minutes away.
Around the old town, you can find many shops of international surf brands, as well as traditional souvenirs to bring back home.
Enjoy the sunsets
I love sunsets. They are one of my favorite things on Earth. When I was in the Philippines, I witnessed some of the most beautiful sunsets of my life. Those in Ericeira don’t disappoint either. Some of my most special memories from Ericeira happened at sunset.
You can enjoy the sunset from many spots in Ericeira. Every beach is a good option.
Personal recommendation: Go surf in the late afternoon and wait to see the sunset. Surfing, while the sun sets down, is an incredible feeling of joy and happiness.
Skate at Boardriders Quicksilver shop
Whether if you are a skateboarding fan who wants to skate while enjoying its surfing vacation, or you want to improve your skills, the Quicksilver skate park is a great place for that.
The skate park is on the other side of the Matadouro beach and it’s the biggest one in Portugal.
If you don’t have your own skateboard, you can rent one from the shop.
Paddleboarding & kayaking
Except for surfing, you can also practice paddleboarding & kayaking in Ericeira.
- Paddleboarding – You can do paddleboarding on Lizandro beach. The Lizandro river flows into Foz do Lizandro beach and it’s the perfect place to practice this sport. The idea is to enter the beach and follow the river upstream. Interested in this activity? Check out this high-quality paddle boards guide to help you choose the best one for your budget and needs.
- Kayaking – On the Fisherman’s beach, you can rent kayaks and kayak through the surrounding beaches.
While you can go out every evening, the party days in Ericeira are known to be Wednesday, Friday & Saturday. Those are the places to go to on a night out:
- Adega – A great place to hang out and my personal favorite in Ericeira. It’s a very traditional bar with live music on the weekends.
- Tubo – Where everyone goes to party. This bar is very small and gets very crowded so everyone will usually stay, enjoy its drink and dance on the street in front.
- Ourico – Ourico is known to be the oldest club not only in Ericeira but in all of Portugal. People would head here after Adega, Tubo and the other bars close at 2 AM. The club is located right in front of the sea.
- Boardriders – Where there is live music at the Boardriders, that’s the best place to go to. Listen to some good music and enjoy a drink overlooking the sea.
Try the local ”ouricos” cake
If you like desserts, then you should definitely give ouricos a try. Made from almonds, this cake originates from Ericeira. I tried a few variations and I liked them all, although they are very sweet.
My friend Joao showed me the best place in Ericeira to get an ouricos from. You can find the most delicious ouricos cakes in this shop.
While having your surf vacation in Ericeira, why not spare a day or two to check out the surroundings? There are many beautiful places that can be explored on a day trip from Ericeira. Here are my top suggestions:
Ericeira to Mafra day trip
Mafra is another small Portuguese town located only 8 km away from Ericeira. The biggest highlight of Mafra is the Palacio de Mafra, a complex of a monastery, basilica, and a library.
After you visit Palacio de Mafra, you can check out the city’s center and explore its cool street art.
To get to Mafra from Ericeira, you have a few options: bus, bike, or tour.
The same bus that goes to Lisbon pass by Mafra and has a stop there. You can catch the bus from the Ericeira bus station.
Ericeira to Lisbon day trip
Most of the travelers would do the opposite but since this is an article dedicated to Ericeira and spending more time in this charming little town, I decided to include Lisbon as a day trip destination from Ericeira.
Many people would come on a surfing trip and Lisbon will be only their arrival and departing spot to / from Portugal. The Portuguese capital, however, has a lot to offer. If you don’t spare at least a few days to explore it, then definitely do a day trip to discover at least a bit of the city.
One day in Lisbon won’t be enough, but you can still check out some of its highlights.
Often called “the city of seven hills”, Lisbon is actually situated on eight hills – including Graca, the tallest of them all. Those hills are offering numerous viewpoints over the city. They are called miradouros and whether you have one day or one week in Lisbon, you should definitely enjoy as many as possible. This is a very comprehensive list of all panoramic views of Lisbon.
But the list of things to do in Lisbon doesn’t end here. Alfama is also a must. Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood is a beautiful maze of narrow cobbled streets and ancient houses, which take you to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. Castelo de Sao Jorge is probably another attraction that you would like to visit, as well as the Santa Justa lift – the oldest, functioning elevator in the world.
There is a direct bus between Lisbon and Ericeira. Find out how to travel between both below.
Ericeira to Sintra day trip
25 km away from Ericeira is the fairy town of Sintra. Sintra is best known for the Pena Palace, but it has a lot more to offer. My personal favorite spots in Sintra were Parque da Liberdade & Quinta da Regaleria.
Walking through this pretty town is enjoyable enough actually (if we forget about the crowds).
Please have in mind that Sintra might also be the most expensive day trip from Ericeira as only the prices for the entry tickets to the attractions you might want to visit here can exceed 50 EUR!
There is public transportation available between Ericeira and Sintra. Find the bus schedule on this link. (Please note that this bus stop in Sintra is a little bit further away from the center of the city and you’ll have to either walk for a while or find another bus going to the more central part of the city. )
Ericeira to Cabo da Roca day trip
Cabo da Roca is the westernmost extent of mainland Europe. Once upon a time, before the great geographical discoveries, people used to believe that this is the end of the world.
This is one of my favorite places in Portugal, it’s truly breathtaking!
Your best option to visit Cabo da Roca would be to combine it with the day trip to Sintra since there is transportation available between both – to catch the bus to Cabo da Roca, you’ll need to get to Sintra first. From Sintra train station take bus #403 that will take you to Cabo da Roca.
Other places that you can visit on a day trip from Ericeira include Cascais, Santa Cruz, Obidos & Peniche.
Street art in Mafra, Belem Tower in Lisbon, Quinta de Regaleira in Sintra & Cabo da Roca
Where to stay in Ericeira
During both of my visits to Ericeira, I stayed at Surfer’s Den hostel. This place feels like home and I love it.
Founded by two passionate Italian surfers, Surfer’s Den is the place to stay at in Ericeira. I tried another hostel for one night and I couldn’t wait to be back at the Surfer’s Den. The staff is very friendly and helpful and the hostel itself feels super cozy.
They have both private and dormitory rooms. The kitchen and the showers are shared. There is a small pool and a sun deck.
The location of the Surfer’s Den is great too. The hostel is located right next to the bus station and close to it you can find supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, bakeries, surf shops. The center can be reached within a few minutes of walking.
Enrico, Federico & Anna Maria, you are wonderful. See u soon!
Weather & water temperatures in Ericeira
The water temperature in Ericeira doesn’t vary much. Due to the northern winds, the water here never gets warm. In summer months, the water temperature gets at its high of around 18° C. During the rest of the year, the water temperature varies between 13° C and 16° C.
In April, May & June, the temperature can reach up to 24° C. In July, August, September & October it can reach up to 31° C. However, even if it’s hot during the day, the temperatures drop to between 10° C & 16° C after sunset.
According to locals winters in Ericeira are quite cold, but that’s mostly due to the winds, which are typical for the city all year round.
How to get around Ericeira
Ericeira is small and most points of interest are within a walking distance. If you’re staying in the center or nearby, you really don’t need to think about transportation.
If you’re going surfing on a beach that is a little bit further away, transportation is going to be included in your lesson. If you’re going to surf by yourself, you can use the Ericeira beach bus.
Please, find the timetable and itinerary when you get to Ericeira.
How to get to Ericeira
Ericeira and Lisbon are well connected by a regular bus service. The bus departs from Lisbon Campo Grande station that is connected with the yellow and green metro lines. The bus station in Ericeira is located next to the center.
There are many services throughout the whole day. Check this link for the exact bus schedule.
Tickets are being purchased from the bus driver and a single, one-way ticket cost 6.50 EUR.
And that’s all folks. I hope that this article can help you plan and enjoy your trip to Ericeira. If you have any questions, need more info, or just want to share something, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for reading,
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