Are you going to Portugal and looking for the best things to do in Ericeira? Are you embarking on a Portugal road trip itinerary and you’re looking for the best places to visit in Portugal? Then you’re in luck, because these are the 8 best things to do and places to visit in Ericeira.
Welcome to Ericeira, or ‘the Canggu of Europe’ as some will call it. By now I expect Portugal is on everyone’s European bucket list, and if you’re looking for a sun-fuelled, wave-chasing, beach-hopping destination, then look no further than this Ericeira guide. Ericeira is one of the best places to visit in Portugal and I’ve put together the top nine best things to do in Ericeira all in one blogpost for you.
The small, coastal town of Ericeira is quickly becoming a hub for digital nomads, surfers, and beach lovers from all over the world, as it’s one of the best places to go surfing in Portugal. If you’re looking for the best things to do in Ericeira, then this Ericeira guide is for you.
I’ve just returned from a month-long trip to Ericeira, exploring everything this place has to offer, so I’m ready to share all of the best things to do in Ericeira. Think of this blog post as the ultimate Ericeira guide, including everything from the best surfing in Ericeira to the cutest bakeries and the quaintest streets. I’ll also walk you through where to stay, where to eat, what to do, and the best places to visit in Ericeira.
It’s a popular destination for local and international travellers looking for a beach destination, especially those wanting to surf. Ericeira is home to some of the best beaches in Portugal and it’s one of the best places to surf in Portugal. Surfing in Ericeira is an absolute must as it is part of the World Surf Reserve. The only one in Portugal I might add!
But for those who want to do more than eat, sleep, surf, repeat, this blogpost will highlight all of the other best things to do in Ericeira, as well as the best places to visit in Ericeira and the best adventures to go on. This is the blog post for you whether or not you are looking for the best beaches in Portugal, the best places to visit in Portugal, or the next destination for your Portugal road trip.
Other travel guides you might find useful…
- Europe: the ultimate travel guide
- Top tips for travelling in Europe
- The best things to do in Portugal
- A 2-week Portugal road trip itinerary
- A guide to driving from England to Portugal
- The best things to do in Lagos, Portugal
- A guide to Lisbon, Portugal
- A guide to Nazaré, Portugal: Home to the biggest wave in the world
- Hidden gems in Europe that you must visit
- A bucket list of road trips in Europe
Where is Ericeira?
Ericeira is a small charming coastal town on the North coast of Portugal, only 45 minutes from the centre of Lisbon and close to the beautiful region of Sintra.
Ericeira is part of the World Surf Reserve, known for its waves and endless swell. So naturally, surfing in Ericeira is suitable for all levels and as such has become not only one of the best places to surf in Portugal, but one of the best places in Europe.
How to get to Ericeira…
For international travellers, your easiest route to Ericeira is from Lisbon airport. For those flying from London, there are great deals with budget airlines, like EasyJet and RyanAir, as well as national airlines, like TAP and British Airways.
From Lisbon airport, you’ll need to either hire a car (the cheapest are usually driveonholidays.com) or take the bus from Lisbon bus station, to Ericeira. Both equally as straightforward.
To catch the bus, take the metro from the airport to Campo Grande bus terminal. This takes no more than 10 minutes – here you can purchase a ticket to Ericeira (€7). The journey time from Campo Grande to Ericeira lasts between 60-75 minutes, but they also offer an express service with fewer stops. This bus will get you to Ericeira in just under an hour.
Whether you take the bus, hire a car or pick up a campervan, the journey to Ericeira is much the same. Hop onto the A8 highway from Lisbon until you reach the A21 which takes you all the way to Ericeira. Visiting Ericeira is a great way to do a Portugal road trip!
Where to stay in Ericeira…
Ericeira may be small but its beaches stretch beyond the centre, so you might need to be a little strategic about where you stay, especially if you don’t have a car. The core of Ericeira can be broken up as follows: Town centre, Praia do Sul (south) and Praia de São Sebastião (north) – accommodation in any of these areas is perfect, and these beaches are some of the best places to visit in Ericeira.
For those planning on surfing in Ericeira, consider looking at surf + stay packages in one of the many surf schools and guesthouses in town. Laneez House and Salty Pelican are two great options. Other surf guesthouses in the area include:
- La Point
- Selina Boavista
- Amar Hostel
- Aktion Ericeira Lodge
- Blue Buddha Beach House
If surfing isn’t high on your list of priorities, then you’re best sticking with a hotel or Airbnb. There are many great apartments and small townhouses, or for those seeking more luxury then boutique hotels like You and the Sea are perfect. Their restaurant, Jangada is one of the best places to eat in Ericeira.
Now let’s get to the good stuff… here are nine of the best things to do in Ericeira.
The best things to do in Ericeira, Portugal...
1. Learn to surf in the World Surf Reserve!
Of course, surfing in Ericeira had to be first on the list of the best things to do in Ericeira! You can’t go to one of the best places to surf in Portugal without testing their famous waves. After all, it is the surfing capital of Europe. It is also probably one of the best places to learn how to surf.
Surfing in Ericeira is a right of passage, and this Ericeira guide wouldn’t be complete without it. Luckily, there are tonnes of surf schools dotted around the town, with the most popular being Boardriders, La Point, and Rapture. There are plenty of smaller schools as well, each teaching at “their” beach, determined mainly by location.
La Point and Rapture are based on the Southside of Ericeira and have surf lessons at Foz do Lizandro beach. Boardriders is based on the Northside of Ericeira, right in front of Matadouro beach.
Other surf schools in the area:
- Blue Ocean Ericeira
- Na Onda Surf School
- West Coast Surf School
As mentioned earlier, if you’re planning on surfing in Ericeira, some of the boutique surf lodges will offer surf + stay packages, so they’re well worth checking out.
2. Go to the beach… there are plenty to choose from!
Well, you’re spoilt for choice on this one! Ericeira has some of the best beaches in Portugal.
Five beaches are within walking distance from the centre of town, and this doesn’t even take into account the small bays that aren’t really named:
- Praia do Sul
- Praia do Matadouro
- Praia da Baleia
- Praia dos Pescadores
- Praia da Foz do Lizandro (this is my favourite beach, so read on to find out).
Further up the coast, there are even more beaches to visit, but you’d probably want a pair of wheels to reach their shores.
About 10 minutes south of Ericeira is one of the most popular beaches with photographers, so of course one of my favourites, and that is Praia de São Julião. Even after being on the beautiful beaches down in the Algarve that Portugal is typically known for, I would still class this as one of the best beaches in Portugal. Not only does it offer one of the best sunsets on the North coast, but it boasts 3km of pure white sand. One of the best things to do in Ericeira is definitely going for a swim here and then catching the sunset afterwards.
Other beaches to visit in Ericeira:
- Praia dos Coxos
- Ribeira d’ Ilhas (very popular for beginner surfers, if you’re looking for the best places to surf in Portugal!)
3. Take a walk along the Atlantic Coast
Ericeira may not be a hiking destination, but it has some beautiful coastal walks for easy amblers and let’s face it… an Ericeira guide written by me is always going to include some form of “hike”.
My favourite, and definitely one of the best things to do in Ericeira, is probably the shortest one (no coincidence), which starts at Foz do Lizandro beach and follows the headland over to Praia de São Julião. It only takes 30 mins each way, but offers so many different landscapes and colours along the way, all played out to the soundtrack of the waves hitting the rocks below.
It’s an easy walk but make sure to check the tides before setting off as during mid-high tide there will be a small pool of water at the beginning of the walk, separating the beach from the rocky footpath. However, a worst-case scenario would only result in wet ankles.
4. Get your zen on at Sandhi House
Where surfers and tight hamstrings go, Yoga follows!
Now… Ericeira couldn’t be compared to Canggu if there wasn’t a popular yoga scene, could it? There are a number of studios and retreats dotted in and just outside of the town, but if you’re serious about yoga then Sandhi House is one of the best places to visit in Ericeira.
With teachers from all over the world, Sandhi hosts at least x2 yoga classes a day, except Sundays. One is a more active class, like Vinyasa Flow, and the other will be a slower-paced practice, like Yin Yoga. Classes are suitable to Yogi’s of all levels and if you’re lucky enough to be staying at Sandhi House, these classes will be included in your stay.
For those wanting to dive a little deeper into other holistic practices, Sandhi House also hosts several events and workshops, including breathwork sessions and kirtan circles. These events are some of the best things to do in Ericeira and are usually advertised on their website or Facebook page and are super easy to book onto.
If that sounds a bit too “woo woo” for you, then why not just enjoy a good old-fashioned massage instead.
5. Brunch at Dear Rose Café
No Ericeira guide is complete without Dear Rose Café. Brunch is my favourite meal of the day, so finding one (or a few) brunch spots is always top of my priority list when visiting somewhere new. I’d heard about Dear Rose’s famous cinnamon buns before visiting, and oh how they didn’t disappoint!
Open from Wednesday to Sunday, this cute little café will have you counting the days until it next opens. Their menu has a selection of freshly baked goods, savory bagels, delicious smoothie bowls, and judging by the queue of people waiting in the morning, good coffee.
It might seem strange to include a cafe as on the best places to visit in Ericeira but trust me, it’s earnt it’s place.
6. Walk through the charming streets of Ericeira
As small as the town centre of Ericeira is, I could walk through its cobbled streets amid the blue and white houses all day long.
If there’s one street that deserves a shoutout, it’s Travessa do Norte, where my favourite pup spends her days getting belly rubs and posing for photos. Saying hello to her has to be on your list of things to do in Ericeira!
Many of Ericeira’s streets exude the charming feel of the town, but this one has a special place in my heart and belongs in this Ericeira guide as one of the best places to visit in Ericeira.
I visited Ericeira in late autumn/early winter, so the town was quiet and very relaxed, but during the summer it can sometimes resemble the crowded streets of Santorini, although that in no way detracts from its charm.
7. Have a skate at Boardriders
Where there is surf, it seems there is also skate.
Boardriders is a complex made up of a shop, café terrace, surf school and skate park, and can be somewhat of a hub on Friday evenings.
With a sign that reads “Hollyskate” on the hill above, the Boardriders skate park is always buzzing. Even for non-skaters, one of the best things to do in Ericeira is to watch, especially from the terrace above.
8. Take a day trip to Praia da Ursa
Amongst both travellers and photographers, Praia da Ursa is probably one of the best places to visit in Ericeira and one of the best places to visit in Portugal for that matter. Unlike the beaches that surround Ericeira, this one requires a little more effort to reach.
First, you’ll need a car to get there as it’s about 50 mins from Ericeira, but it’s a heck of a beautiful drive! The coastal road takes you through impossibly quaint villages and past many of Sintra’s protected beaches, which in themselves make a great day-trip. Azenhas do Mar, Praia das Maças and Praia da Adraga are some of the best beaches in Portugal, in this part at least.
Praia da Ursa is located right on the tip of the Sintra coast, and its lighthouse is visible from Ericeira during a clear evening. When arriving at Ursa by car, park in the first little car park on the right, before you reach the lighthouse. This is little more than a patch of wasteland, but it’s where the beach trail begins and is the most popular place to park. Just a word of caution though, some cars have been broken into here so try not to leave any belongings behind in the car.
From this car park, it’s roughly a 15 min walk down to the beach, and there’s only one path so you can’t get lost. About halfway down you’ll see the beach and the famous rocky needle of Ursa – this is the most popular photography spot. It’s just as stunning here as it is on the beach, but on warmer days it would be easy to spend a full day here relaxing, swimming and taking photos – especially at sunset.
9. Watch big wave surfing at Nazaré
If you haven’t heard of Nazaré, then I recommend watching 100 foot wave on HBO or Sky. This will give you an idea of just how big we’re talking.
Nazaré is home to the biggest waves in the world and the annual WSL Nazare Tow Surf Challenge, in which the best 20 big-wave surfers battle it out for world record surfs.
The swell hits between November – March, but the competition is only 1 day and there’s usually only 48hrs notice. However, plenty of big-wave surfers spends the winter here tackling these ocean beasts.
I was lucky enough to witness the first big swell of the season, and spent the day filled with adrenaline, thinking this is quite honestly one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. We watched the action from Nazaré lighthouse where the natural amphitheater offers the most incredible views.
Praia Grande, which is the main beach in Nazaré may not seem like it, but it is by far one of the best beaches in Portugal.
We’ve bent the rules a little bit with the last couple of points but this Ericeira guide wouldn’t be complete without these ultimate day trips.
After all, surfing in Ericeira is one thing, but watching the pros surf mountains at Nazaré is on a whole other level.
These are just some of best places to visit in Ericeira and best things to do in Ericeira, but I’m sure there is more to be uncovered. Even after spending a whole month here, I’m already so excited to go back.
What are your favourite things to do in Ericeira?
Where are your favourite places to visit in Ericeira? Anything you’d add to this Ericeira guide?
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