Ericeira Guide: The Best Things to See, Do, & Eat

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Written by: | Last updated on October 3, 2023 | Est. Reading Time: 10 minutes

Ericeira, a trendy surfing haven on Portugal’s west coast, radiates vibrant energy with its pristine beaches and captivating surf culture. Fondly dubbed “Onde O Mar É Mais Azul” or “the place where the sea is the bluest,” this charismatic town effortlessly melds Portugal’s rich cultural tapestry with surf culture, nomad life, and alternative living. 

It’s not merely the allure of the waves that beckon visitors; the immaculate streets adorned in white and blue reflect a deep-seated pride the locals and expats harbor for their town. In 2011, Ericeira’s significance in the surf world was cemented when it was designated as Europe’s only World Surfing Reserve by the Save the Waves coalition.

Today, this coastal gem is increasingly gaining traction among digital nomads, surf aficionados, and travel enthusiasts, making it a must-visit in any Portugal itinerary and, for many people, a place to move to. Whether you’re in pursuit of unparalleled surfing experiences, seeking charming streets to meander, or desiring tantalizing Portuguese treats, Ericeira promises a potpourri of memorable adventures.

Useful Resources for Your Trip to Ericeira

Here’s our top tips and tricks for getting the best deals for your trip to Ericeira. 

  • Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb are the two most comprehensive websites for finding hotels, hostels, apartments, and other types of accommodation in Ericeira. There are also a handful of coliving spaces for digital nomads. 
  • Car Rental: Discover Cars and Rental Cars are the two most useful sites for booking local car rental, particularly from Lisbon Airport. 
  • Airport transfers: There are taxis and Ubers at Lisbon Airport, but you can also pre-book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups
  • Tours & Things to Do: Both Get Your Guide and Viator list lots of local tours and activities in Ericeira and the surrounding region. 
  • Luggage Storage: Luggage Hero and Bounce are two great sites for finding places to store your luggage in and around Ericeira. 
  • Public Transport: Cp.pt is the main website for trains in Portugal. For longer distance buses, see Rede Expressos. Flixbus.pt often has cheap tickets between cities in Portugal. 
  • Flights: Skyscanner and Google Flights are the two most useful websites for finding flights to Portugal: The nearest airport to Ericeira is Lisbon Airport. 

What to Do

Surf

Surfing is the heart and soul of Ericeira. The town radiates a distinct surf culture, evident in every nook and cranny. Touted as one of Europe’s premier surf destinations, Ericeira boasts over 65 surf spots catering to both novices and seasoned surfers alike.

However, if you’re planning to ride the waves, remember the Portuguese waters can be chilly. Depending on the season, opt for a 4/3mm wetsuit in winter or a 3/2mm one in the warmer months. Surf shoes are also essential due to the presence of sharp rocks. Most importantly, don’t forget sun protection that’s reef-friendly.

Beaches for Beginners:

  • Foz do Lizandro: Beyond its beauty, this is the ideal spot to unwind with a cocktail or meal post-surf. It features numerous peaks, both lefts and rights, and a sandy bottom – ideal for mid-tide surfing. Especially recommended is the exit point of the Rio Lizandro, where novices can find some of Ericeira’s best waves.
  • Sao Juliao: Even when most beaches seem lifeless, Sao Juliao promises a wave. A sandy paradise, it’s a treasure for beginners.
  • Praia do Sul: Suitable for those who’ve had some lessons, the waves here are manageable but pack a punch.

Beaches for Intermediate Surfers:

  • Matadouro: Directly opposite Ericeira’s largest surf shop, 58, this beach offers left-riding waves with various peaks. A must-visit for thrill-seekers.
  • Ribeira D’ilhas: Infamous and bustling, this beach is a hub of activity. Even non-surfers should witness its sunset and sample its cuisine.
  • Sao Lourenco: Recognized for its reef break and consistent right-hand waves, this spot can handle up to 5 meters, unlike any other in Ericeira. Located near Ribamar, it’s not suited for beginners.

Beaches for Advanced Surfers:

  • Coxos: Renowned for its forceful wave originating from the deep sea, this beach crashes onto rocky shelves. A right-hand point break, it’s not for the wary.
  • Cave: Exclusively for expert surfers, this right-hand reef break is legendary.
  • Praia da Empa: Noted for its intense tubes and robust waves.

Beaches for Families:

  • Praia Pescadores: As the calmest and most central beach in Ericeira, it’s ideal for families with young children.

Go to the Beach

Ericeira has some fantastic beaches and if you’re not interested in surfing, there are plenty of places you can kick back in the sand and relax.

The following are some of the most popular beaches in and around Ericeira. 

  • Praia dos Pescadores (Peixe): Best Swimming Beach
    • Main urban beach next to fishing boats.
    • Offers a unique cultural experience seeing fishermen at work.
    • Protected bay, ideal for families and swimming.
  • Praia do Sul (Baleia): Best Beach Overall
    • Overlooked by traditional Portuguese buildings.
    • Has a natural pool at low tide.
    • Protected by cliffs; offers a classic ‘European beach’ ambiance.
    • Great for families and young children. 
  • Praia do Norte (Algodio)
    • Situated to the North of the center, with a lengthy sandy stretch.
    • Less populated due to minimal facilities.
  • Praia de Sao Sebastiao: Best Wild Beach
    • Ideal for exploring, with several nooks and rocky spots.
    • Lacks facilities, offering a raw, unspoiled experience.
  • Praia do Matadouro: Best Beach for Beginners
    • Located by the Quicksilver Surf Shop.
    • Rocky beach with tide pools, popular with surfers.
  • Praia de Ribiera d’Ilhas: World-Class Surfing Beach
    • Famed for international surf competitions.
    • Offers diverse amenities, including cafes and surf schools.
    • Also has some great hiking trails nearby. 
  • Praia de Sao Lourenzo
    • Less crowded sandy beach with a nearby cafe.
    • Flanked by cliffs, offering a protected ambiance.
  • Praia da Foz do Lizandro
    • Family-friendly with a shallow river ideal for kids.
    • Variety of restaurants and surf/SUP rentals available.
  • Praia de Sao Juliao: Best Surf Beach
    • Famed for surfing, but also offers scenic hiking trails.
    • Cafe and bar facilities available for visitors.
  • Praia dos Coxos
    • Small, well-protected beach.
    • Popular with surfers and sightseers alike.
  • Praia da Empa: Best Surf Beach
    • More of a reef, favored by experienced surfers.
  • Praia da Calada
    • A quieter option for those seeking tranquility.
    • Surrounded by cliffs, with a bar and loungers in the summer.
  • Praia de Vigia: Ericeira’s Hidden Gem
    • Often deserted, offering serene surroundings.
    • Challenging access; ideal for surfers and adventurers.

Skate

Situated on Avenida de São Sebastião in Ericeira, the Quiksilver skatepark stands out not only as one of the premier skateparks in Portugal but also ranks high across the Iberian Peninsula. Its acclaim is attributed to its superior technical design, strategic location, and the inviting ambiance complemented by panoramic sea views.

Designed to cater to skateboarders of every skill level, this expansive skatepark also features a bar and lounge, hosting events frequently. Beyond just a sports hub, the park, nestled between the town and Ribeira d’Ilhas beach, serves as a vibrant space for community interaction and knowledge exchange.

Practice Yoga

There are lots of places to practice yoga in Ericeira. You’ll find yoga studios and yoga retreats throughout the town. If you’re staying in a hostel, it’s likely that they’ll offer yoga classes. 

  • Ericeira Yoga Studio
    • Location: Center of Ericeira
    • Established: 2013 by Joana Cadete
    • Yoga Styles: Vinyasa, Arial, Ashtanga, Hatha, Yin
    • Cost: Drop-in class at €20
    • Additional Offerings: Wellness treatments, massages, sound healing
    • Advanced Training: Yoga teacher training (in Portuguese)
  • Omassim
    • Location: Near Ericeira in Ribamar
    • Focus: Yoga classes and surf lessons
    • Yoga Styles: Morning Vinyasa, Restorative, Gentle Hatha, Evening Yin
    • Retreats: All-inclusive, surf and yoga focused
    • Additional Activities: Massages, fire walking, sweat lodge ceremonies
    • Dining: Plant-based buffets
  • Sandhi House
    • Location: Center of Ericeira, between Praia dos Pescadores and Praia do Sul
    • Facilities: Yoga classes, wellness treatments, yoga shop, retreats
    • Yoga Styles: Power Vinyasa, Restorative Yin, Hatha flow
    • Cost: Drop-in class at €15
    • Retreats: Focus on well-being and inner balance, special retreat for remote workers
  • Elemental Yoga/ Jivamukti Satsang Ericeira
    • Location: Elemental Ericeira, 350 meters from Praia do Sul
    • Yoga Styles: Jivamukti, Vinyasa (beginners & advanced), Yin
    • Cost: Drop-in class at €15
    • Facilities: Indoor and outdoor Shala under pine trees
    • Schedule: Contact via Call, Email, or Instagram
  • House of the Rising Mojo
    • Location: Santo Isidoro near Ericeira
    • Focus: Growth, exchange, reconnecting with one’s nature
    • Offerings: Yoga classes, workshops, cacao ceremonies, kirtan, breathwork
    • Additional Practices: Reiki, sound baths, cooking classes
    • Schedule: Check their Instagram for dates

What to Eat

In Ericeira, you’ll find a mixture of traditional Portuguese restaurants and pastelarias (cafes) combined with more modern restaurants and coffee shops, offering international food from all over the world. This is also a very good location for vegans and vegetarians, as many of the restaurants offer at least one plant-based option. There are also a few restaurants that are entirely veggie-friendly, such as Be U

As a former fishing village, it isn’t surprising that a lot of the local gastronomy is fish and seafood-focused. Most of these dishes, whether freshly-grilled fish or bacalhau, can be found throughout the rest of Portugal, particularly coastal Portugal, but one local dish to look out for is Caneja de Infundice. This is a type of dogfish that is seasoned with salt and then wrapped and left in a dark place without windows for around 5 days. This dish is known for its strong odour.

When to Visit

Perched alongside the Atlantic Coast, Ericeira boasts a unique microclimate, making it typically 5 degrees cooler and windier than Lisbon. As a result, while Ericeira rarely becomes scorching hot, the weather can be quite capricious. Evenings tend to be brisk, so packing long pants and a sweater is wise.

The prime time to explore Ericeira spans from May to October, with July and August marking the height of the tourist season. During these months, expect abundant sunshine, prolonged daylight, consistent north/west winds, and occasional foggy mornings. For surfing enthusiasts, September through November are optimal, offering good wave conditions paired with lingering warmth and breathtaking sunsets. Winter, though not severe, leans towards being damp, chilly, and occasionally rainy.

Getting Here

Most people that visit Ericeira take the bus from Lisbon as there is no train station in Ericeira. However, if you wish to explore the surrounding area, renting a car is a good idea. 

  • Flying: The nearest airport to Ericeira is Lisbon Airport, which is around 35 minutes by car. 
  • Train: There is no train station in Ericeira. You can take the train to Mafra and then a taxi to Ericeira, but it usually makes more sense to take the bus. 
  • Bus: Depart from the Campo Grande terminal, close to the Lisbon airport, and in approximately 1 hour 47 minutes, you’ll arrive in Ericeira. Tickets typically range between 5 to 8 euros, and buses operate every 90 minutes from 8 am to 11 pm.
  • Driving: For those with surfboards and luggage, renting a car directly from Lisbon’s airport is the most hassle-free choice. It’s also ideal for exploring nearby picturesque villages and coastal attractions, such as Cascais to the south and Peniche to the north. Alternatively, opt for Uber for a similarly quick 50-minute trip. A regular car costs about 40 euros, while an UberXL is approximately 60 euros.

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