Surfing is what might first come to mind when you think of Ericeira. This surfing town on Portugal’s coast might be a small one but there are quite a lot of things you can do whether you’re there for a day or are staying for more than a couple of days. Here are the top 10 things to do in Ericeira:
1. Go meet the famous Ericeira Surf
Being Europe’s only ‘World Surf Reserve,’ Ericeira has become the surfing capital of the continent. That being the case, surfing ought to be at the top of the list of things to do in Ericeira. Whatever your surfing abilities are, you can partake in the activity; just know where to go.
Coxos Beach is for the experts. Owing to the slope into the bay, the powerful surf, the rocks in the area, not to mention the sea urchins in the water, it’s not for everyone. Entering & exiting the water here can also be challenging if you’re not a pro.
Others can head to Praia Ribeira d’Ilhas, which is said to be one of the best surfing beaches in the world. It also hosts some well-known surfing events. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert or you’d like to take kids into the water, this place is good for you.
Beginners can also go get some lessons at surf schools in Foz do Lizandro or São Lourenço.
2. Spend some time Stand Up Paddling
Another outdoor activity that’s come to be a popular thing to do in Ericeira is Stand Up Paddleboarding. Here again, is something for people of all levels.
The most popular place to go stand-up paddle boarding is the Lizandro River as the water here’s flat but downstream, you can experience the ebb & flow when there are tides. Those with more experience can paddleboard in the harbor, in the ocean or can hit the surf, too.
There are all kinds of paddle boarding tours you can book yourself into depending on your skills on the board.
3. Check out the Skate Park
Yet another popular Ericeira activity is skating. There are a few places that offer classes for this one, too. Once you’ve mastered the sport, you might want to go skating at the skate park by the Quicksilver shop.
This is a famous skate area just a half-hour’s walk from the seaside town. Or you could drive down there in 5 minutes. There’s a lot of action here, especially in the evenings so even if you’re not really into skating, you might want to just go hang out there and experience the energy.
4. Relax on the beaches
After all the surfing & Stand Up Paddleboarding you do, you’re going to need to have some rest and what better place to go than the many beaches along Ericeira!
Some of the popular beaches around here are Praia do Sul, Praia da Foz do Lizandro, & Praia do Pescador.
Praia do Sul is known for its golden sand, for being shallow and for being peaceful during low tide, making it a family-friendly beach. Praia da Foz do Lizandro is also a safe beach that’s also liked for its size and presence of bars & restaurants along its boardwalk. It’s also characterized by its rocks. You might also be able to swim in the river that empties itself here. Of the few beaches around here, that are suitable for swimming are Praia da Baila & Pescador, which is also considered to be the main beach of Ericeira.
5. Take in the views
Considering Ericeira is a coastal community and that a good part of the coast is rocky, there are several spots that offer great views of the surroundings. Checking out these views is such a fun thing to do in Ericeira!
The wall behind Praia do Pescador serves as an easy-to-get-to vista point with views of the Atlantic Ocean, the beach, the fishing port & the jetty with all its boats.
A 10-minute drive away from Ericeira is Miradouro Ribeira d’llhas, which also offers views of the ocean, a beach & the surfers at the famous Praia Ribeira d’Ilhas. If you’re up for a hike the Ribeira d’Ilhas vista point is a 40-minutes walk from the village. You can also hike to the coastal views on the trail between Ericeira & Foz de Lizandro.
Then there’s Miradouro Praia Sul and further north, Praia do Matadouro, which comes with views of the ocean as well as the activities at the skate park.
6. Do some hiking
Hiking enthusiasts can go hiking over the cliffs, catch some great views of the seaside village, its rocky surroundings & ocean views, and catch sunsets from the trail, too.
There are some trails near Praia de Ribeira d’llhas. You could even walk the coastal trail that connects the beach to Praia dos Coxos from there, offering picturesque views along the way. You could also hike the cliffs at Sao Juliao beach, south of Ericeira.
7. Catch a sunset
With Ericeira being on the west coast of Portugal it can be a place to catch some picture-perfect sunsets.
You can watch the sun go down from the many beaches in and around town or you could head to the many vista points Ericeira is known for. Then there are the cafes & restaurants on the waterfront, and Quicksilver Shop’s terrace where you can have a drink and enjoy some live music as you catch the activity of the skate park as you watch the sun go down. Witnessing these sunsets are a “must” thing to do in Ericeira.
8. Stroll through the historic village
While you’re in Ericeira, make sure to explore the historic village and take in its old-world charm. The buildings in this coastal village, all white-washed with some blue highlights on them, are quite a sight.
Walk the village’s cobblestone streets and peek at the shops on them. You could even make some stops at the cafes & restaurants, there. See the theater that was once a casino, the small public squares & the fountains around town that lend Ericeira its uniqueness.
9. See the historic structures in town
As you explore the area, you might also want to visit some buildings that take you back in time. One of the most well-known of these buildings here is the Igreja de Sao Pedro, which is considered a prime monument of the town. With origins in 1446, when it was a chapel, and expanded in 1658, its architecture is one to see with its interiors echoing Baroque & Rococo styles. You’ll also get to see some paintings & tiled art at this cathedral which is dedicated to St. Peter.
Another building to see is Capela da Boa Viagem, a chapel that dates back to the 15th century. Situated in the heart of Ericeira, it’s been a landmark that fisherfolk of the olden days looked up to.
10. Squeeze in a Mafra visit
Mafra is a town neighboring Ericeira and is often visited along with the seaside village, considering its nearness to it. If you have a day set aside for Ericeira, you could spend half the day visiting Mafra on the way to the village. Or if you’re spending more time in the surfing capital, you could day-trip to Mafra.
In Mafra, you could visit the Mafra Palace, said to be one of the largest palaces in that part of the world and also stroll through the plants & ponds of Jardim do Cerco, just next to the palace.