There’s nothing like having your bags packed, boarding passes printed and passports ready for the journey ahead! It makes everything come into perspective, and it reminded me of how hungry my inquisitive mind, body, and soul were for new encounters.
When summer days are numbered in Ireland and most of Europe, there are plenty of places where the weather is pleasantly warm and where temperatures are still in the mid-twenties. A few years ago, at the end of autumn, we had yet another chance to roam around Portugal, with the opportunity to completely surrender to the grandeur of coastal views.
It’s no secret that Portugal feels like home to us. This is a place where every sight is unique and where every meal fills our souls. While travelling around Portugal, we learned to let go of our hopes and expectations: after all, the best things usually are the unplanned ones.
After we spent a week in Ericeira village a few years ago, we vowed we would definitely return. And we did. We just couldn’t resist the temptation to come back again.
Those who follow our blog, know very well that Ericeira is our favourite little Portuguese town, that it’s a place where we can easily spend a few weeks without getting bored.
Our week in Ericeira fishing village was loaded with all things Portuguese, we surfed a lot, explored beautifully cobbled streets in search of traditional pastries and beautiful ocean views, engaged with locals, and wandered around nearby towns and villages.
After recently returning from an incredible trip to Ericeira where we spent 10 days exploring every little cranny and visiting every little possible attraction, we wanted to share a few tips so you can plan your own adventure.
If you are looking for a different seaside vacation in Portugal, then look no further than Ericeira. In this blog post, you’ll find where to eat and what to do as well as a few accommodation recommendations.
Highlights of visiting Ericeira town
– The remarkable coastal views and beautiful sandy beaches
– Fantastic surf schools for those looking to master the board
– Fantastic seafood and grilled fish & Startling sunsets and sunrises
– The traditional town centre with whitewashed houses and a great vibe
– Friendly locals & World-class surf in Europe’s Only Surf Reserve
How to get to and around Ericeira
By car | 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).
By bus | 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.
Parking | Streets in Old Town are very narrow, with most of them going one way and it’s challenging to find parking there. If you arrive in Ericeira by car, there is loads of free parking near the São Sebastião shopping centre. By the Municipal Market, you can find a parking lot with metres.
Getting around | Ericeira is pretty much straightforward. Once you arrive in town, you’ll find that it’s a very walkable place.
When to visit Ericeira
By now we have visited Ericeira at different times of the year, except for summer, and each visit had something unique.
Winter | Winter months are mild but unpredictable, and temperatures start to rise gradually around April.
Spring | We personally think springtime and autumn are excellent for visiting Portugal, think May and September because beautiful colours that blossom into existence will warm your heart and you’ll adore autumn as the early morning light paints spectacular scenery.
In addition to natural marvels, hotel rates in spring are reasonable, the sun is already shining, and crowds haven’t arrived yet.
Summer | If you desire to swim in the ocean and work on your tan then, of course, summer month is the best time to visit. It can get sweltering and very crowded during July and August. You’ll find this relatively small fishing village bursting with Portuguese and tourist crowds.
*Tip – bring your own sunscreen, they are expensive in Portugal and always pack a light jacket and long trousers, you’ll be beside the ocean exposed to the coastal breeze.
Where to stay in Ericeira
Once you know travelling dates, browse through Booking.com or Airbnb sites and use the filters provided to find the best place to sleep and relax. Mark off boxes that only suit your wishes (budget, star rating, property type, etc.). We usually go for apartments with kitchenettes and never book anything below the 8 + rating.
Because Ericeira attracts surfers and wannabe surfers from all around the world, you can find a great variety of budget accommodation with plenty of great hostels to choose from(some of them with incredible ocean views and breakfast) and surf camps.
In addition to hostels, you’ll find plenty of good hotels and AirB&B places too.
If you fancy something unusual, a few accommodation options in Ericeira stand out. We personally loved and can highly recommend little wooden bungalows, run by Clara, located in Foz do Lizandro. Visit the Helios website to find out about availability and prices.
Another unique place where you can lay your head at night and meet travellers from other parts of the world is Selina Boavista Ericeira Hostel. You’ll be greeted with beautiful decor, a splash pool with sunbeds and friendly staff. The hostel is centrally located, close to restaurants, shops and the beach.
Check out Selina Boavista’s web page to book your stay.
Where to go for a meal in Ericeira
In our experience, restaurants in Ericeira offer excellent food. For self-proclaimed foodies, this is a place to go. For the most part, you’ll find seafood and grilled fish. And even though Portugal is a meat-eating country, you’ll find plenty of places that offer vegetarian and vegan food too.
If you walk through Ericeira, you’ll find wine bars, exciting night venues like Hemingway’s Ericeira and Neptuno Bar, a Spanish-style tapas restaurant Tik-Tapas, sea-themed restaurants with traditional Portuguese food like Tasca da Boa Viagem, plenty of brunch spots, coffee shops and bakeries.
We had a chance to enjoy a few tasty meals and warm hospitality while staying in Ericeira. Below is a shortlist of places we can recommend to fellow travellers.
• Sunset Bamboo Bar | Cosy, relaxed and with a funky interior, this cafe is perfect for vegetarians as they serve açai and smoothie bowls, fresh juices, burritos, salads and smoothies.
• Tasquinha does Joy | Run by a super friendly and accommodating family Tasquinha do Joy can be found right next to its sister place Cafe Joy. If you are looking for great food with excellent service, then this is a place for you. I only wish we started coming here sooner as the fish was excellent, and the house white wine served in a pretty clay pot was perfect.
• Funky | Yet another place with friendly staff, fantastic decor and a super relaxed atmosphere. They serve a brilliant selection of vegetarian, vegan as well as meat and fish dishes. The quality and variety of food, wine and homemade desserts were very innovative.
What to do in Ericeira
Thanks to its location, Ericeira is a fascinating spot to visit. The diversity and quality of waves around Ericeira are what makes this place very special for surfers, and that is pretty much the first thing you’ll notice right away once in town, surf shops, surf schools and surf accommodation on every corner. But there’s a reason why Ericeira draws attention from non-surfers too and attracts sun-seekers.
If you are looking for meaningful experiences to add more value to your Ericeira holiday then you are in for a real treat. You can choose from a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, stand up paddling down the river and skateboarding. You can stretch your muscles while doing morning yoga, indulge in the wine tasting or go sightseeing in nearby Mafra and Peniche.
- Beaches | Undeniably, beaches are one of the main reasons why people travel to Ericeira and going to the beach is the most obvious thing to do. Regarding the general quality and variety of places, Ericeira is second to none. Ribeira Beach and St. Sebastian Beach are our firm favourites but make sure you also visit North Beach, São Julião or Praia Azul.
- Photography | For photographers, location scouting around Ericeira is pure joy. The coastal views in Ericeira village are spectacular from every angle and perspective. To say that we have developed a little bit of obsession with sunsets in this place wouldn’t be far from the truth. Watching the last glimmer of sun rays bouncing in the colourful sky is our preferred way to end a day.
- Relaxing | Enhance your senses with the fresh ocean air and watch the world become alive with the early morning glow. Just stop for a moment whatever you are doing, take a deep breath and connect. It’s that simple. To make the most of your time in Ericeira, avoid typical stress triggers. You can do this by taking a break from social media and by managing your expectation. Also, make sure you don’t over-plan and over-organise every single hour, give yourself a break and just let the stuff happen.
- Surfing | In addition to a full-body workout, surfing brings you closer to nature like no other sport. From surf schools and surf lessons to surf hostels and equipment rental, Ericeira is a real paradise for those who a keen on giving it a try. Even though surfing is one of the most challenging sports it is also fun. Book a surf lesson to learn the basic techniques, and surf ethics and make new friends along the way. Your whole body will be aching the next day, but you’ll go back home with good stories to tell.
Great day trips from Ericeira
If you have time to explore outside of Ericeira town, you’ll be surprised to find many traditional towns and villages worth visiting. Depending on your length of stay, you can travel as far as Porto, known for its port wines and stately bridges or check out the traditional fishing village Nazaré or visit Peniche to ride Supertubos.
• Mafra | This little Portuguese town is home to one of Europe’s most extravagant palaces – Palacio de Mafra. The highlights of the castle include a 90-meter long library with over 36,00 books, a beautiful basilica and many rooms, all of which are open for visitors. Mafra is situated 10 kilometres from Ericeira, and you can extend your stay to enjoy a meal in one of the restaurants or cafes in a little town.
There is a direct bus service connecting Ericeira Terminal to Mafra Convento with bus tickets costing only a few euros.
• Óbidos | Yet another excellent place for a day trip is Óbidos where you can wander around its main street -the Rua Direita – and visit the medieval castle, taste cherry liqueur and see one of many churches including The Igreja de Santa Maria church. Obidos’ most famous resident – a female painter born in Spain – Josefa de Obidos, and in this town, you can walk around its surrounding walls.
• Azenhas do Mar | The little village perched high on the cliff face with its whitewashed houses has to be seen in person. If you decide to visit Azenhas do Mar, be ready to embrace narrow staircases and cobbled streets that will bring you to stunning viewpoints offering vast ocean vistas. Also, look out for a row of millstones casually leaning against the wall: back in the day, the local community had a couple of sea-powered water mills make sure you look up Villa Maria, one of the most beautiful buildings in the village.
• Sintra | You might need a couple of days to see everything Sintra has to offer – churches, palaces, gardens, romantic fountains, cute shops and pictures streets all perfect if you are into photography as much as exploring a bohemian village surrounded by lush forests.
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Now, over to you!
Have you been to Ericeira? Let us know in the comments below!
Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Ericeira and have travel-related questions!