When I imagine Portugal, especially its coastal regions, I can easily see ourselves living there. We could grow crops to make hearty vegetarian stews, keep a few chickens, surf every day and let the gentle wind ruffle our hair.
With three road trips around different parts of the country already under the belt, our attachment and admiration towards Portugal have grown immensely.
And, can you really blame us? Portugal has this incredible ability to blend traditions, cuisine, and experience along with its beautiful coast.
Even after visiting Portugal for the second time, where we rented a car and drove from Lisbon to Porto and back, I knew there be more. We can’t get enough of this unforgettable country and to finally find a place we both love unconditionally, is a real blessing!
When it was time to pick a European destination for our autumn getaway, we both agreed without the slightest hesitation. Few weeks after booking the flights and accommodation, we arrived in Portugal. We drove from Lisbon to Ericeira and checked in to Helios wooden beach house.
7 Amazing Things To Do When Visiting Ericeira, Portugal For The First Time
Coming back to this lovely town for the third time was very exciting, and it felt like home. We devoted a whole week to relaxing, surfing and exploring nearby villages.
I was four months pregnant at the time, and Ericeira left such a positive impression on us, we even named our baby girl after her.
To get a taste of what Ericeira has to offer, we came up with a small list of things not to miss.
#1. Learn to surf
Due to unique environmental characteristics and the high quality of waves, Ericeira became Europes only World Surf Reserve in October 2011. Meaning that parts of the coastline, including São Lourenço, Reef, Coxos, Ribeira de Ilhas, Cave, Crazy Left and Pedra Branka, are all protected by the American organisation Save the Waves Coalition.
So it’s pretty evident that surfing is the number one activity in this town. Either you desire to try it out for the first time or to improve your performance and technique, surf schools in the area provide excellent service for all levels, and all the surf instructors we met along the way approached each session with relentless enthusiasm.
Each surf lesson is around 2 hours. They include warm up, practice time, theory and feedback. Don’t forget that you should have realistic expectations, as a beginner I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t pop up, but as the saying goes: ”Best surfer out there is the one having the most fun!”
#2. Wander around Fisherman’s Beach
Beautiful Praia dos Pescadores is located right in the middle of Ericeira town. With a harbour situated nearby, swimming is not advisable; however, we watched surfers catching waves nearly every night. If a strong smell of fish doesn’t bother you, make your way down to admire traditional fishing boats painted in rainbow colours.
Above the 40-meter wall, elderly locals and couples would usually gather to sit down, relax and enjoy the view. From this particular beach, on October 5th, 1910, last King of Portugal, fled the country, marking the end of the monarchy.
#3. Watch a sunset
There are many things that Ericeira does well, and colourful sunsets are one of them. Make your way to the beach, sit down, relax and notice small details around you; a pinch of red here and a shade of blue there, the soft sand and the smell of the ocean.
Every evening before dawn we quickly put together all the photography gear, few snacks, warm clothes ( it gets freezing in October once the sun goes down) and gathered together with locals on the beach to watch a sunset. Every evening it was different. The ocean, the setting sun and clouds put on an inherently inspiring show.
#4. Visit Ericeira’s old town
Ericeira’sold town is instantly charming-traditional whitewashed houses are very well maintained, narrow cobbled streets are clean, and top choice seafood restaurants offer a great variety of grilled fish. Gambas (shrimp) is the town speciality, and we loved the option to choose our fish from the water aquarium upon entry.
Ericeira is full of life and dotted with cafes, little shops, and restaurants spilling out onto the pavements. Parts of the town centre are pedestrian-only zone, significant if you are visiting with young children.
You’ll notice that blue and white coloured tiles are used to decorate the houses, creating beautiful patterns, prettiest we have seen in Portugal so far.
#5. Explore local beaches
Relaxing walks on the nearby beaches mixed with fresh ocean air, the sounds of the crashing waves and stunning sunsets are only a few of the natural elements that reminded us about life’s simple pleasures.
There are four beautiful sandy beaches within Ericeiras town and two slightly further. Beaches in Ericeira are vast and very popular with surfers, most of them are well-marked and offer ablution facilities and cafes.
The most famous beach is Ribeira d’Ilhas, located by the river mouth around 3 kilometres north of Ericeira town. In this place, ASP World Tour and Quicksilver Pro Portugal host surfing championships, and it’s not uncommon to run into a world-famous surfer.
#6. Admire the public library
Ericeira, the very first surf town on our road trip through Portugal, turned out to be unbelievably pretty. We slowly vowed trough the town and came face to face with the public library. Just look at it! What a beauty, isn’t it? Undeniably, one of the most beautiful buildings we have seen in the area.
At first, the beautiful building was Grande Casino of Ericeira that was later transformed into the cinema only to be reconstructed and reopened as the Cultural Centre in 1995.
#7. Go on a day trip
This time around, we had a plan to ditch itinerary and to stay put in one place. We have read a useful few articles on how to ‘do less’ and ‘take in more’ while away. In our case, it didn’t work out, we managed to visit Porto, Nazaré, Baleal, Obidos, and Peniche.
Nearby pretty little Mafra town is definitely worth the trip. The main tourist attraction is one of Europe’s most extravagant palaces that contain a fantastic library, basilica, and even bat colony.
How to get to Ericeira
Ericeira is the perfect destination for a day trip from Lisbon, and you’ve got several options to get there. Ericeira is situated around 50 kilometres northwest of Lisbon and travelling by car along the A8 and then west on the A21 is a very convenient way to reach it.
The motorways are empty and well marked, and it’s impossible to get lost (keep in mind express roads are tolled).
Another way to travel to Ericeira is by bus from Lisbon Campo Grande station. Public transport in Portugal is very efficient and inexpensive. Single adult ticket costs 7EUR and buses run every 90 minutes.
If travelling from Lisbon Airport to Ericeira, you can book a privet transfer (around 60EUR for four people each way).
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Now, over to you!
Would you consider spending a week or two in Ericeira town? Let us know in the comments below!
Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Ericeira and have travel related questions!