7 Amazing Things To Do When Visiting Ericeira, Portugal For The First Time

There’s nothing like a great coastline to get me excited about photography. Whether it’s the seagrasses graciously swaying in the sea breeze, secret caves lying beneath the steep clifftops or the ocean that’s groaning and gasping through the storms – coastal adventures are a great way to soak in the views and savour colourful sunsets.

And that’s why, when I imagine Portugal, especially its ceaseless shoreline dotted with quintessential fishing towns that offer lip-smacking seafood, I could easily see ourselves living there. We could grow crops to make hearty vegetarian stews, keep a few chickens, surf every day and capture on film the contrast between solid land and the fluid water.

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 a few years ago, we both agreed without the slightest hesitation. A few weeks after booking the flights and accommodation, we landed in Portugal. We drove from Lisbon to Ericeira and checked in to Helios wooden beach house.

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Portugal’s most famous surfer, Tiago Pires, comes from Ericeira.

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 if you ever plan of visiting once the pandemic crisis is over and we are free to travel again, 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: ”The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun!”

Ericeira is well known for the best waves in Portugal.

#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.

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Ericeira, Portugal.

#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.

Sunsets in Portugal are unforgettable.

#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.

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Ericeira is a super exciting and instantly charming little town.

#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.

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Ribeira d’Ilhas beach is one of the longest right pointbreaks in the world (1.5 km on a good day)

#6. Admire 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.

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During the summer month, Ericeira is popular with Portuguese and foreign holiday-makers.

#7. Go on a day trip

Beyond Ericeira lies a wealth of day trip options. Some of the most amazing tourist attractions, surf towns and captivating fishing villages where the way of life has changed very little are just a short ride away either by car or bus. Whether heading north or south from Ericeira, discover the best places to visit with our suggestions.

Cascais | The lively coastal resort of Cascais is a very popular day-trip destination for tourists and locals alike and can be easily reached in less than 50 minutes by car. The town’s lively vibe, authentic old town, sandy beaches and old-time charm is truly captivating. Mix in Art & Museum District, heavily eroded rock formations and the chic boutiques and you’ve go yourself a real tourists delight.

Mafra | Nearby Mafra town is definitely worth the trip. The towns main tourist attraction is one of Europe’s most extravagant palaces -the vast Mosteiro Pálacio Nacional de Mafra. This mighty Baroque palace dates from the early 18th century and contains a fantastic library,  basilica, and bat colony.

Aveiro | An eye-catching Aveiro is a romantic town that’s crossed by series of canals dotted with colourful, gondola-style boats known as moliceiros. Best things to do include Aveiro Museum, go on a boat ride, visit the old train station terminal that’s adorned with blue azulejos and explore Costa Nova village.

Peniche | A very popular seaside town that is famous for a few things- long, sandy beaches, sardines and one of the best beach breaks on the planet – Supertubos. You can visit a cliff top fortress, explore a former whaling station Baleal, go surfing or catch a boat to Berlengas Archipelago.

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Azenhas do Mar village can be found 30-minute drive away from Ericeira.

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 7 EUR and buses run every 90 minutes.

If travelling from Lisbon Airport to Ericeira, you can book a privet transfer (around 60 EUR for four people each way).

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Ericeira is a very charming town full of character.

Where to stay in Ericeira

Nothing beats staying in a cosy and relaxed hostel that’s located right in the heart of the town and waking up to look out to the shimmering ocean. 

Selina Boavista Hostel, one of Ericeiras newest additions since the last year,  is one such a place to do so. With beautifully decorated and clean rooms, with the rooftop terrace that comes with sunset views and with the nearest wave just a few hundred metres away, it’s got all the makings of a perfect base for your adventure. 

  • Amenities: In addition to an outdoor swimming pool, a shared lounge and a bar, you also find a shared kitchen and a garden.
  • Room types: Triple rooms, family rooms, quadruple rooms, dorms

Check prices & availability and book your stay at Selina Boavista Hostel now!

A super stylish hostel near the center of Ericeira town.

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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!

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Our Crossings follows the daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

52 thoughts on “7 Amazing Things To Do When Visiting Ericeira, Portugal For The First Time

  1. I had no idea that Portugal had good surfing! We took a learn to surf class when visiting Maui a year and a half ago and had so much fun. It is much harder than I thought and we were completely exhausted afterwards. It was a very humbling experience. Ericeira looks like a fun town to explore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The entire continental coast of Portugal is well respected for its year-round consistency and will not disappoint even the most discerning and jaded of surfers. Portugal’s most famous surf spots are located in 3 main places: Ericeira, Peniche and the Lisbon coast. Nazare, a small fishing village an hours drive from Ericeira, is home to the biggest surfable waves on the planet.

      We love visiting Ericeira. Staying there for a couple of days is truly the perfect antidote to the more touristy destinations in Portugal and the moment you arrive you’ll feel a sense of calm come over you. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. That is a beautiful place Aiva. I miss the ocean, any ocean, the Pacific near Vancouver where our son lives, the Atlantic near where Patty’s sister lives, any ocean. In truth, these days, we miss the people Thanks for taking us to such a beautiful spot. Stay well and have a great week. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are many reasons to add Ericeira, Portugal to your travel wish list and beautiful coastal views are definitely one of them, Allan. This small fishing village just 45 minutes north of Lisbon has been a mecca for surfers for some time but has largely escaped the interest of vacationers with their sights set more on exploring the castles of Sintra or the Algarve’s sea caves. I hope you’ll get to see the ocean this year, my friend. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We missed exploring Mafra and its stunning library on our first time when visiting Ericeira, and that’s why I couldn’t wait to go back. I was in awe by the stunning library, it’s a must when visiting Portugal. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If you prefer to base yourself in Lisbon, the great news is that Ericeira is just a quick drive away — only 45 minutes from the city. Plus, if you don’t feel like renting a car there are buses that will take you directly from Lisbon to Ericeira or even right from the Lisbon airport. Mafra National Palace hosts one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, that’s for sure and not many travellers coming to Portugal know about this hidden treasure. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We loved Portugal; the beaches, the seafood, the architecture and the ocean. We would love to go back someday as we just did from Lisbon down to Sagres on bikes. We did get up and around to Sintra on the bus and it was quite an amazing village and castles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean, Bernie. Ever since we first visited Portugal, we were in love with everything was there to see, do and eat. Over the years, we made friends, learned to surf and more. Would love to go back once more. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

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    1. I loved Lisbon, Porto and every other city and town in-between. There’s a certain charm when it comes to Portugal and I can’t wait to go back one day once the pandemic crisis is over. Hopefully soon. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We’ve been to Portugal twice… first time we spent a few days in Lisbon and then out to Cascais. Last time we flew into Porto, rented a car and headed up the Douro Valley etc. But this looks like it could be a beautiful trip – either into Porto or Lisbon – depending which is cheaper – it wouldn’t matter to us… I’d love to stay there for a few days at least – not sure about a week or two though…. but that’s more because I’ve lost the ability to stay in one place for that length of time!! 😅 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve lost the ability to stay in one place for a long time, too. Usually, when we go on a road trip, we stay in each town for a day or two and then continue furter. But travelling with a toddler and packing/unpacking bags, buggies, car seats and toys every other day often makes me lose my sanity, and that’s why sometimes we prefer to stay in one place. Staying in Ericeira for a week was a new kind of experience for us, we decided to use it as a base to explore nearby villages and towns and couldn’t be happier. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes, I find that if you force yourself to stay in one place for longer, after 2-3 days you end up slowing down your pace, relaxing a bit more, and getting to know that place a little better than you normally would. But it all depends! And of course, if you are doing more of a road trip that’s different kind of trip. There are so many different ways to explore! Don’t you just love it? 😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Time, they say, is the newest luxury item. If you’ve got it, use it well, especially when it comes to travel. 🙂 That’s what I love about travelling too, and I think that by slowing down and mixing up travel modes can transport any vacation into a more memorable adventure. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The ocean plays a major role in Portuguese culture, and most of the country’s popular cities and towns are situated seaside. Ericeira is definitely one of them. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m by no means a surfer, but Ericeira looks like a worthwhile destination to explore! I haven’t explored as much of Portugal as I’d like, but I’d love to return someday to check this place out. I’ve been to Aveiro, and I can vouch it’s a lovely, Venetian-like village worth an overnight stay. Thanks for sharing your adventures; I can’t wait to see more, Aiva!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Portugal is home to many charming coastal towns that enjoy delicious seafood and beautiful beaches nearly year-round. I’ve been to Aveiro and we actually loved it so much that we decided to spend a night there. We went on a boat trip and were delighted to discover one of the most beautiful train stations covered with amazing azulejos. I loved the Costa Nova with its striped, rainbow-coloured fishing shanties, too. Oh, I would love to go back to Portugal 🙂 Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I like your photos and your keen description of this part of Portugal that I don’t know. I am happy to see again that beautiful southern light that makes everything more attractive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. The light in Portugal is just perfect for anyone passionate about photogrphy. Either your desire is to capture sunrises or sunsets, you’ll never be disappointed. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

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    1. Some tourists visiting Portugal for the first time might stick to its more well-known cities such as Lisbon and Porto. But if you prefer to take the road less travelled and are looking for an adventure, you will never forget, a journey to some of its beautiful coastal towns in Portugal would guarantee just that. Going on a road trip along its coast is one of the best road trips ever. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva xxx 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And I think your choice of using Ericeria as a base for travel sounds brilliant! I’ve visited northern Portugal briefly some years ago, and would love to see more of the country. Thanks for these details, Aiva! I am definitely going to consider staying in Ericeria the next time I visit. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you. Once in a while, I love staying in one place for an extended period of time – slow travel ephasizes connection to culture, local people and it’s an environmentally friendly way to travel, too. It also a great way to take a step back from endless to-do lists and Instagram-worthy photo ops and simply embrace what the local community has to offer. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  7. That looks like a really beautiful place – and now I understand your little girl’s name! I have been to Lisbon and loved the Arabic yet European feel. Can’t get my tongue around Portuguese, however, although I find Spanish easy. K x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Portugal’s coast is peppered with old towns and cities built on fishing and ocean industries. Ericeira is home to one of the country’s most visited and beautiful beaches, and it is a popular destination for surfers. My husband speaks Spanish fairly good but struggles with Portuguese, maybe a few weeks in the country could do the trick of learning a new language. Thanks for reading. I hope all is well. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, how exciting is that, Kerry. I hope he can bring unity to a divided country and enact lasting change. I’d say people look forward to a president whose main mode of communication is not Twitter. Take care

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You are lucky to have explored Portugal several times. It is high on my list (the ever-growing list). I’ve done some preliminary research on cycling trips. Your photos are really stunning. My favourite is the village on the high cliff, wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we visited Azenhas do Mar for the first time. This sleepy fishing town offers a beautiful beach, amazing views, and delicious seafood, and it’s an ideal place to visit if you want to relax. Among the landmarks are the cliffside and the local restaurant, also called Azenhas do Mar. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Maria. Portugal is always on my list and I would love to start exploring its beautiful islands. Azores and Madeira are on my wish list and so is São Miguel and Pico Island. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Indi. We have many beautiful beaches right here in Sligo, but they are not as sunny as the ones in Portugal. That’s why we’ve been going back to Ericeira village, it’s a place unlike any other. Have a good day and thanks for stopping by. Aiva 🙂 xxx

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  9. Beautiful! Portugal has been on my bucket list for so long, and I can’t wait to finally discover this country! I would also love to try surfing there – I learnt when I was in Cornwall (many people surf there!) in the UK, and loved it! Thanks for sharing and feeding my wanderlust 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are plenty of surfing opportunities right here in Sligo, but the weather conditions are not always favourable to be outside let alone for the surf. That’s why it is hard to argue a case against Portugal’s best surf spots for being some of the best surf destinations not only in Europe but worldwide. I hope you get to visit Portugal one day. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You would love Ericeira, Malin. 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. Aiva 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same here, Malin. But this year, we gonna stay in Ireland, because the Irish government doesn’t want people to leave the island this summer 🙈 Hopefully, next year 😉

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    1. I love Portugal and its rugged coast, too, Ali. Although there’s plenty to see and do in Ireland, Portugal is a great place to soak up that much-needed sunshine. Due to recent rules and regulation, we won’t be able to escape anywhere this summer, but we can always daydream. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day. Aiva 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This looks like a wonderful place to visit. I’m itching to get back to Portugal, I’m sure it’d be fun learning to surf here too or watching at the very least haha.
    Great read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Jason. Ericeira is a great place to explore if you are exploring Portugal’s coast and going on a road trip. There are plenty of interesting villages and UNESCO World Heritage Sites nearby to keep you busy, not to mention the surf and proximity to Lisbon. I am itching to go back too, I miss basking in the sun. Thanks for stopping by. Aiva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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