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.
But Ericeira 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? Here are some tips and things to do in Ericeira that you can do on your next trip.
Surf The Reserve
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 Surfing 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.
Related: Best Beaches in Europe
Editor’s Note: Europe bound? Check out our Top Tips for Traveling Europe?
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 of recent times.
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.
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. And they are of all ages. 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.
Paddle in The River or The Sea
Paddleboard arrived a few years ago in Portugal and also in Ericeira it’s possible to experience this water sport. 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. 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.
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.
Related: Things to do in Porto
See Wildlife Up Close
Not to mention the fish that you can see in the water, 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? A monumental building in the Baroque style, where you will find what is considered to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world!