Looking for the best things to do in Ericeira, Portugal? I got you covered.
Ericeira, Portugal, the jewel in the crown of Portuguese surf and one of the best-known places for practicing the sport in Europe.
Located 50 km from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, Ericeira is a small fishing village that enchants by its tradition and conquers with its beaches.
In this charming location, you will find some of the best surf spots you will ever meet. World class waves! It was declared as a World Surfing Reserve in 2011, the second to be recognized worldwide and, still today, the only one you will find in Europe.
We spent some time road tripping around Portugal and Ericeira was one of our favorite stops.
The thing is, Ericeira is not just for surf enthusiasts. It is also an incredible place to discover out of the water, whether you’re touring the village streets or traveling through the surrounding lands.
Curious to visit this surfers paradise?
In this blog post, I’m going to dish up some tips and recommendations on the best things to do in Ericeira.
- Where is Ericeira?
- First Surf Reserve in Europe
- Things to Do in Ericeira, Portugal
- 1. Go Surfing in Ericeira
- 2. Walking or Biking Alongside Nature
- 3. Wander Around Ericeira Old Town
- 4. Eat and Party with The Locals
- 5. Eat Seafood
- 6. Join a Surf Camp in Ericeira
- 7. Visit Praia Ribeira d’Ilhas
- 8. Skate Right Next To The Sea
- 9. Visit Cabo de Roca
- 10. Paddle in The River or The Sea
- 11. See Wildlife Up Close
- 12. Have a Sunset Drink
- 13. Take Surf Lessons
- 14. Go Hiking in Ericeira
- 15. Visit Santa Marta Park
- 16. Visit a Vineyard
- 17 . Visit the World Surf Reserve Center
- 18. Visit the Guardian Statue
- 19. Go to São Sebastião Fortress
- 20. Rent an Electric Bike
- 21. Swim and Relax by the Beach
- How to Get to Ericeira
Where is Ericeira?
Ericeira is a charming coastal town located on the western coast of Portugal, nestled along the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s conveniently situated just 49 kilometers (about 30 miles) northwest of Lisbon, the vibrant capital city of Portugal. If you’re flying in, the nearest airport is Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS) in Lisbon, which is approximately a 45-minute drive from Ericeira.
Porto, another bustling Portuguese city, is a bit farther at around 313 kilometers (approximately 194 miles) to the north.
A road trip between these two iconic destinations is undoubtedly a scenic adventure worth going on!
First Surf Reserve in Europe
Ericeira, a picturesque Portuguese fishing village, has a well-deserved reputation as a surfing haven.
In 2011, this delightful spot earned the prestigious title of a World Surfing Reserve, making it the second ever to be bestowed with this honor. It is also the only Surf Reserve in all of Europe.
This recognition is all thanks to the Save the Waves Coalition, a global nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to protect and preserve the world’s most treasured surf ecosystems.
Being a World Surfing Reserve means that Ericeira’s unique coastline and exceptional waves are cherished and safeguarded for future generations to enjoy.
Notably, Ericeira shares this accolade with an exclusive list of other surf sanctuaries, including Malibu in California, Santa Cruz in California, and Manly Beach in Australia.
Things to Do in Ericeira, Portugal
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1. Go Surfing in Ericeira
Of course, the surf has to be at the top of your list of things to do in Ericeira. After all, you are in a World Surf Reserve! There is 4 km of coastline offering seven world-class waves: Pedra Branca, Reef, Ribeira d’Ilhas, Cave, Crazy Left, Coxos and São Lourenço.
The degree of demand of these waves is high, and you need to have some knowledge of the sport to venture into some of them, especially in the case of Cave and Coxos.
But if you’ve never tried the sport, do not despair, because you can also have your first surfing experience here. Several surf schools offer their services, especially on Ribeira d’Ilhas beach, one of the best known and most popular in the region.
Even if you don’t see yourself on a surfboard, Ericeira is undoubtedly one of the most relaxed places to visit in Portugal, where you can enjoy the beach and feel the local surfing spirit. Aside from surfing, there are also a lot of surfing and yoga retreats in Portugal that are worth looking in to.
2. Walking or Biking Alongside Nature
Ericeira is a beautiful village surrounded by hills and valleys that are worth discovering on a walk.
Near the shoreline, you can find trails that lead you through a natural landscape always with the sea under your eye. On foot or by bicycle, the walk can be quite pleasant and, if it is at the end of the day, you may well see one of the most beautiful sunsets!
3. Wander Around Ericeira Old Town
Visiting Ericeira’s Old Town is an absolute must when exploring this captivating coastal village.
Steeped in rich history and brimming with charm, the Old Town invites you to meander through its winding cobbled streets and soak up the laid-back atmosphere.
As you stroll along, you’ll be greeted by a delightful mix of traditional whitewashed houses adorned with colorful azulejos, Portugal’s iconic blue and white ceramic tiles.
Be sure to swing by the bustling main square, Praça da República, where friendly locals gather to chat, relax, and savor a coffee or a scrumptious pastel de nata.
My recommendation is to get both! You won’t find a better combination.
Around the square, you’ll find an array of quaint shops and vibrant cafes, perfect for picking up a souvenir or grabbing a bite to eat.
4. Eat and Party with The Locals
Although small, Ericeira offers a lot of nightlife, especially during the summer months. In the center of the village, you’ll find the best restaurants and a small square, known as Jogo da Bola, surrounded by pastries stores and ice-cream parlors.
Perfect for those that have a sweet tooth! Because this is a land of fishermen, don’t forget to try the seafood or the fresh fish. Sea urchins are a delicacy here.
There are a few bars in Ericeira, but Tubo or Lebre, both side by side, are the central meeting place for a drink and a fun evening listening to music.
Nearby you can also find excellent wine bars if you prefer a quieter environment and enjoy excellent local wine.
Also, for those who can’t resist showing some moves on a dance floor, the Ouriço is the only local disco and even the oldest dancing club in the country!
They celebrate more than 60 years of tradition, playing songs from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. For more information on the local life in this area, check out my local’s guide to Ericeira.
5. Eat Seafood
Although Ericeira is known for its stunning coastline and world-class surf. This tiny village also offers some of the best seafood in all of Portugal!
With the Atlantic Ocean at its doorstep, Ericeira is home to an abundance of great seafood restaurants, offering a range of delicacies from grilled fish and shellfish to elaborate seafood platters.
Here are some of the restaurants with good food that we recommend are:
- Mar à Vista
6. Join a Surf Camp in Ericeira
Joining a surf camp in Ericeira, Portugal allows you to fully embrace the surf culture, make new friends, and improve your surfing skills, all while enjoying the stunning beauty of the town’s picturesque beaches.
Surf camps in Ericeira cater to different skill levels, from beginners to advanced surfers, providing a comprehensive experience that includes accommodation, surf lessons, equipment, and additional activities.
Check out some of our recommended surf camps below!
|Surf Camp with Omassim||Ericeira, Portugal||8 Days||View Prices|
|Intensive Surf Coaching||Ericeira, Lisboa, Portugal||7 Days||View Prices|
|White Waves Surf Camp||Ericeira, Portugal||8 Days||View Prices|
|All-Women’s Surf and Yoga Holiday||Ericeira, Portugal||8 Days||View Prices|
|Amazing Surfing and Yoga Holiday||Ericeira, Portugal||6 Days||View Prices|
7. Visit Praia Ribeira d’Ilhas
Praia Ribeira d’Ilhas, an alluring gem along Ericeira’s stunning coastline, is undoubtedly one of the area’s most iconic beaches.
As part of the reserve, this magnificent stretch of sand and surf is a paradise for wave-riders and sun-seekers alike. With its consistent breaks and inviting swells, it has earned a reputation as one of Europe’s top surfing destinations, even hosting prestigious international competitions like the World Surfing Championship.
If surfing isn’t your jam, Praia Ribeira d’Ilhas offers more than just world-class waves. Its golden sands and crystal-clear waters beckon beachgoers to unwind, soak up the sun, or take a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
The beach is well-equipped with facilities like restrooms, showers, and beachside cafes.
8. Skate Right Next To The Sea
If you are a skateboarding fan or are traveling with youngsters, in Ericeira, you will be able to have fun in the fantastic skate park of Quiksilver’s flagship store.
Admission is free, and you can stay there for as long as you want. You will find a park full of ramps, rails and a skate bowl for the most daring skaters.
It’s not uncommon to be able to watch skating competitions, whether regional or national, or you can just watch the various athletes in action.
Now for the best part, the skate park is right next to the beach, which means you can keep one eye on the ramps and the other on the waves!
If you enjoy yoga, the park lawn is also a great place to do your practice. Inquire in the shop about the classes that usually take place in that same spot.
9. Visit Cabo de Roca
Just a short hop from Ericeira, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south, you’ll find Cabo da Roca, an awesome spot to add to your travel plans. It’s the westernmost point of continental Europe, and trust us, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss. With only an hour’s drive, you’ll be there in no time.
While you’re there, check out the cool little lighthouse and the monument that marks the spot as Europe’s most Western Point. This was one of our favorite spots during our Portugal road trip.
And if you’re feeling a bit peckish after all that exploring, you’ll find a cozy café nearby, perfect for grabbing a snack and a warm drink.
10. Paddle in The River or The Sea
Paddle boarding has stirred up quite the fuss in Portugal over the past few years. If you’re just starting or for those who just love to slide in the blue, the Lizandro river, which flows into Foz do Lizandro Beach, is the perfect place to try out paddle boarding.
The idea is to enter in the beach and follow the river upstream, which takes you through farmland or small hidden havens on the shores of nearby localities.
In fact, it’s common to see people stand up paddle boarding in Lizandro Beach so you won’t be alone.
Now for the more adventurous, why not try the waves of Ericeira?
But be aware that there are more difficult beaches than others, either because of the difficulty of entering the water or because of the crowd of local surfers. It’s best you stick to nearby beaches which are beginner friendly!
Related: Things to do in Porto
11. See Wildlife Up Close
Aside from being a charming fishing village, very close to Ericeira, there is an old forest where you can see several animals. The National Hunting Grounds of Mafra, created in 1747 with the purpose of serving as the hunting ground for the Portuguese King and his court, is part of the nearby National Palace of Mafra.
Today this is a protected area with a significant biodiversity and where you can observe several species in freedom, like deer, wild boars, foxes, among many others.
Here you can run or ride a bike on various trails, take mountain biking, ride a train or electric car, go horseback or watch falconry demonstrations.
In the end, if in the end, you are not too tired, why not go for a visit to the National Palace of Mafra?
Located just a short day trip away from Ericeira, this Baroque monumental building is where you will find what is considered to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world!
12. Have a Sunset Drink
One of the must-do activities when you visit Ericeira, Portugal is watching the sunset at Praia do Norte, a picturesque beach located just north of the town center.
This beach offers an idyllic setting to enjoy the stunning beauty of a coastal sunset, with its golden sands, rugged cliffs, and the majestic Atlantic Ocean serving as a backdrop.
As the sun begins its descent towards the horizon, the sky fills with a mesmerizing array of colors, casting a warm glow over the landscape. The beach’s tranquil atmosphere provides the perfect setting for a romantic evening or a moment of reflection while you listen to the gentle lapping of the waves.
To make the most of your sunset experience, arrive at Praia do Norte early enough to secure a good vantage point.
13. Take Surf Lessons
If you’re planning on visiting Ericeira, no trip here is incomplete without experiencing the thrill of surfing. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a complete beginner, taking surf lessons in Ericeira is an exciting and memorable adventure.
Numerous surf schools operate in Ericeira, catering to all skill levels and ages. These schools employ certified instructors who are passionate about sharing their love for surfing and ensuring that you have a safe and enjoyable time in the water.
Some of the popular surf schools in the area include Ericeira Surf School, Progress Surf School, and Na Onda Surf School.
14. Go Hiking in Ericeira
Exploring the natural beauty of Ericeira’s coastline is a must-do activity when visiting this picturesque town in Portugal. Hiking along the coastal cliffs offers stunning panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the best things to do in Ericeira is going on the Ericeira Cliff Walk trail which stretches from Praia do Sul to São Lourenço Beach.
This moderately challenging trail covers approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) and takes you through breathtaking scenery, dramatic cliffs, and secluded beaches.
Begin your hike at Praia do Sul, a beautiful sandy beach just south of Ericeira’s town center. Follow the well-marked path along the cliffs, taking in the sweeping views of the ocean and the rugged coastline.
Along the way, you will pass through several stunning viewpoints, such as the Pedra Branca viewpoint, where you can admire the impressive rock formations and watch surfers tackling the waves.
We personally use All Trails to find hiking paths to follow.
15. Visit Santa Marta Park
If you’re looking for a way to kill some time, Santa Marta Park is located in the heart of Ericeira. The park is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, providing a serene setting for leisurely strolls, picnics, and relaxation.
Santa Marta Park is also home to a small playground, making it a family-friendly destination where children can burn off some energy while parents relax and enjoy the scenery.
16. Visit a Vineyard
Although Ericeira is primarily known for its beautiful beaches and surf culture, the surrounding region also boasts a rich wine-producing heritage.
In fact, going wine tasting or visiting a vineyard near Ericeira is one of the best things to do in Ericeira!
It allows you to discover the local wines, learn about the winemaking process, and experience the stunning landscapes of the Portuguese countryside.
The Lisbon wine region, which encompasses Ericeira, is home to several vineyards and wineries producing a diverse range of wines, including the famous Colares, Arinto, and Ramisco varieties.
These wineries offer wine tastings tours and unique experiences that showcase the region’s viticulture and rich history.
One of the nearby wineries worth visiting on a day trip is Quinta de Sant’Ana, located approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Ericeira in the town of Gradil.
This family-run winery offers guided tours of their vineyards and cellars, followed by a tasting of their carefully crafted wines.
17 . Visit the World Surf Reserve Center
In Praça do Jogo da Bola, there is a small building which has information on Ericeira. Although it isn’t very large, it has cool overlays and interactive features telling you all about the landscape and different surf breaks in the area.
To check the surf report for all the beaches, I recommend checking out Magic Seaweed.
18. Visit the Guardian Statue
One of the lesser-known yet intriguing attractions in Ericeira is the Guardian Statue, also known as “O Vigia” in Portuguese. This striking sculpture stands tall on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, symbolizing the town’s strong connection to the sea and its long-standing fishing traditions.
The Guardian Statue, created by Portuguese sculptor José João Brito, was unveiled in 2001 as part of the town’s urban regeneration project. The sculpture features a solemn-looking male figure, clad in traditional fisherman’s attire, gazing out into the ocean.
The statue is positioned in such a way that it appears to be watching over the town and the sea, embodying the spirit of the local fishermen who have braved the waters for centuries.
To visit the Guardian Statue, take a leisurely walk along the coastal promenade towards the cliffs on the south side of Ericeira.
The sculpture is located near the São Sebastião Fortress and offers stunning panoramic views of the ocean, the town, and the surrounding landscape.
19. Go to São Sebastião Fortress
The São Sebastião Fortress, also known as Forte de Nossa Senhora da Natividade, is a historic landmark located on the southern cliffs of Ericeira, overlooking the picturesque coastline and the Atlantic Ocean.
Built in the 17th century to protect the town from potential invasions and pirate attacks, the fortress stands as a testament to Ericeira’s rich history and its strong connection to the sea.
20. Rent an Electric Bike
Exploring Ericeira on an electric bike is a fun and eco-friendly way to discover the town’s charming streets, beautiful beaches, and picturesque surroundings.
Although you can also rent a mountain bike, renting an electric bike provides the opportunity to cover more ground with ease, allowing you to experience the best of Ericeira while enjoying the fresh air and scenic views.
Several local businesses and tour operators in Ericeira offer electric bike rentals, with options to suit various budgets and preferences.
Some popular rental options include Ericeira Bike and Paulo’s bike shop. These providers offer well-maintained electric bikes, helmets, and locks, ensuring a safe and enjoyable riding experience.
21. Swim and Relax by the Beach
While many of Ericeira’s beaches are famous for their surf breaks, several of them are also suitable for swimming. Here are some of the best beaches for swimming in Ericeira:
- Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Beach): Located in the heart of Ericeira, this sandy beach is protected by the surrounding cliffs, which helps create calmer waters. It’s a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the picturesque views.
- Praia do Sul (South Beach): Praia do Sul is another popular beach for swimming, thanks to its calmer waters and golden sand. It’s situated just south of Ericeira’s town center and is easily accessible.
- Foz do Lizandro: This wide, sandy beach is located at the mouth of the Lizandro River, a few kilometers south of Ericeira. The river creates a sheltered area with calm waters, which is ideal for swimming and families with children.
How to Get to Ericeira
Getting to Ericeira is a breeze, with several convenient and affordable transportation options at your disposal. Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate your way to this surfers’ paradise:
By Car: If you prefer the freedom of your own set of wheels, renting a car from Lisbon or Porto is a great option. From Lisbon, take the A8 and A21 highways, which will bring you straight to Ericeira in about 45 minutes.
If you’re coming from Porto, expect a 3 to 3.5-hour drive via the A1 and A8 highways. Be sure to enjoy the stunning coastal views along the way! I recommend checking out Discovery Cars for the best price rental comparison.
By Bus: For a budget-friendly and eco-conscious choice, consider taking a bus from Lisbon to Ericeira. The Mafrense bus company operates regular services between Campo Grande Bus Terminal in Lisbon and Ericeira’s central bus station.
The journey takes approximately 1.5 hours, and you can purchase tickets at the terminal or on board the bus.
By Taxi or Rideshare: If you’d like a more personalized and direct mode of transport, taxis or rideshare services like Uber are available from Lisbon Airport or city center. The ride to Ericeira typically takes around 45 minutes, but keep in mind that this option can be pricier compared to the bus.
Private Transfer: For the ultimate in comfort and convenience, consider booking a private transfer service. These services offer door-to-door transportation from the airport or your accommodation in Lisbon directly to your destination in Ericeira. While this option is more expensive, it provides a hassle-free and comfortable experience.
If you’re booking a surf camp in Ericeira, you can inquire about private transfers!
This post was originally written by Marlene Marques but has since been updated by the Adventure in You team.