This week I had the privilege of staying in the beautiful Portuguese Coastal town of Ericeira. It’s accessible as a day trip from Lisbon, but I would recommend spending a good few days there to enjoy the beaches and soak up the summer sun. Ericeira has got a very relaxing vibe to it, with many options for surfing and yoga.
Introduction to Ericeira
Ericeira is a former fishing village that is now one of the most important towns in Portugal for surfing on the beach. It is also Europe’s first World Surfing Reserve (declared in 2011), and surfers from all over the world visit the village every year to enjoy the golden sands of the beaches of Ribeira and Dailhas.
Perched on a high cliff in the Atlantic Ocean, 10 km west of Mafra, the fishing village of Ericira has become a lively holiday resort in the summer months with numerous cafes, restaurants and bars along the pretty and long beaches. Today, the city is the perfect blend of Portuguese heritage and ultra-cool surfing.
In Ericeira, traditional fishermen’s huts nestle against trendy lounges, bars and cafes. The strong and reliable surf has turned the city into a surfing mecca, boasting cool scenery during the day, lively nightlife, excellent accommodation and top-notch tourist facilities.
How to get to Ericeira
It’s very easy to get to Ericeira from Lisbon by car and by bus. If you are driving it will take you approximately 40 minutes along the A8 and the A21. It is possible to hire a car at Lisbon Airport (we used Eurocar). You can also catch an Uber for between €35-50. You will drive through Loures and past Mafra towards Ericeira on the coast.
If you would like to save a bit of money and don’t mind taking the bus, there is a bus that goes from Campo Grande to Ericeira bus station (Parque Intermodal) – number 200, 207, 208, 209 and it costs €6 (last time of checking February 2022). The bus takes a bit longer – around an hour and a half.
When to go to Ericeira
If you are visiting for some hardcore surfing and don’t mind the chill of the sea (hello wetsuit!), go in March or April when the waves are big. If you are a sun worshipper then the hottest time to go is from June to August, but be aware that it can get busy at this time of year. That’s why some people prefer the ‘shoulder season’ of May or September when the weather is still warm but there are less crowds on the beaches.
What to Pack for Ericeira
Ericeira is a beach and surf town, so your packing will revolve around lots of beach activities. Pack your bikini or swimwear, flip flops, sun hat, sun cream and beach towels. If you are going to be surfing you will want to bring your surf board, wet suit and any other surfing equipment you might need. For clothing, pack a variety of shorts, dresses, T shirts, but also remember to pack jeans and jumper and a cardigan or jacket as it gets cooler at night.
What to do in Ericeira
As I’ve mentioned, there are plenty of outdoor activities in Ericeira including:
You will also probably want to enjoy the bars and the amazing seafood restaurants on offer. However, you might also be interested in cultural activities in the area. Day trips to Mafra, Sintra and Lisbon are recommended if you have time. For example, you could stay in Ericeira for a week and do these three day trips, and then spend the rest of the time relaxing or enjoying the outdoor activities on offer.
Surfing in Ericeira
If you are an amateur surfer, you will find all the surf camps offering courses, boards and wetsuits. The level of difficulty of surfing on the Ericeira waves is very high and it’s best to have knowledge of this sport to ride these waves.
However, for newbies who want to learn, the instructors here will direct you to the beaches with the easier or milder waves. You can also easily access Carcavelos beach (close to Lisbon) which is a good beach for first time surfers.
The best surf season in Ericeira is from October to May, when the surf schools are busy, while the summer is the best time for beginners to learn due to the warmer temperatures. The city hosts several surf competitions throughout the year and the surf culture is felt by the whole community, with locals and surfing companies in the city benefiting from the popularity of surfing.
Beaches in Ericeira
Lizandro Beach, at the mouth of the Lizandro River, about 3 km south of Oficeira, is the largest sandy beach in the region. The southern beach of Praia Sul, also in the city, is another popular beach of golden sand and clean bathing water, just a short walk from the city centre.
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