Located just 30 minutes north of Lisbon, on Portugal’s west coast, Ericeira beckons. It’s the only Surf Reserve in Europe, but is Ericeira worth visiting? Ericeira or Nazare? Isn’t Nazare just as nice? Well, take it from someone who chose Ericeira over Nazare: it really is a hidden gem on the coast of Portugal!
Pronounced ‘erissera’, the quaint fisherman village is named after the many sea urchins once found on its shores. Ericeira is definitely worth visiting for its stunning coastal views, delicious food, and relaxed atmosphere. Read on for 11 reasons why you should visit Ericeira on your next trip to Portugal!
Is Ericeira Worth Visiting? 11 Best Reasons to Visit
1. It’s a World Surf Reserve
The quaint cobblestone roads in Ericeira Portugal are home to the only World Surf Reserve in Europe. It is a true paradise for surfers, with the most consistent wave on the coast and some of the world’s best surf schools and camps.
The incredibly professional staff will help you learn or improve your surfing skills in no time!
You can choose to surf for an afternoon, or stay in a surf camp and enjoy the chill international vibe for longer! Plus, Ericeira’s stunning coastal views make for a perfect backdrop while you’re catching waves.
2. The beautiful beaches
Ericeira’s beaches are a major attraction for visitors to the town. The beaches are varied, with something to offer everyone. Sao Lourenco, Praia do Sul and Praia do Foz de Lizandro are great for families with kids due to the pools created by the tide and the river’s mouth to wade in.
Slightly further north, Praia de Ribeira d’Ilhas is a surfer’s mecca with perfect waves for watersports. You’ll love jumping in with the surfers, or sitting on the deck to enjoy watching them ride the waves with a glass of wine over lunch!
This also makes going to the beach easy for people with reduced mobility since the parking lots here allow for wheelchair access. Ericeira’s stunning coastline and beautiful beaches are definitely worth a visit!
Check out our post on Ericeira’s Beaches for more information.
3. It’s a perfect day trip
Located just north of Lisbon, it is perfect for day trips which is why the Portuguese flock here at weekends. They usually come for lunch and a stroll in the sunshine through the village center.
The town is easily accessible from the highway and it only takes about half an hour to get there. Many organized tours include Ericeira, but it’s also easy to drive to if you have a rental car. The drive through the countryside itself is beautiful, and many people include it in their road trip from Lisbon to Porto.
It’s definitely worth stopping for at least some pictures and lunch in Ericeira before continuing on your journey. But you may decide to stay awhile since there is so much to see and do in the area!
Check out our post on how to get from Lisbon to Ericeira.
4. The fish and seafood are fabulous
Ericeira is a great place for foodies, with an array of local restaurants and wine bars, and cafes serving up delicious seafood dishes from the region. From traditional grilled fish and the freshest seafood platters to modern fusion plates, Ericeira has something to suit all tastes.
You’ll even find high level gastronomy at Mar das Latas, along with the most gorgeous sunset along the coast!
The village originally subsisted on fishing and still has some of the freshest fish and seafood in all of Europe. If you are a fish fiend like I am, it is not to be missed! If fish isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of other options which also include vegetarians and vegans.
Check out our post on the best restaurants in Ericeira for more information.
And for those of us who like to people-watch, some coffee and a pastry while soaking up the sunshine at a small table in the square is a favorite in Ericeira too!
5. It has many attractions
The charming coastal town also offers a variety of attractions for visitors to explore. These include the imposing Mafra National Palace, one of the most important Portuguese Baroque monuments, with its ancient library and interesting hospital ward.
It is a UNESCO monument and is truly worth a visit since it is one of the few monuments which have been furnished to give visitors a sense of what living there was like.
Ericeira is also surrounded by rolling hills, where there are some great family vineyards which offer wine tastings and tours of their properties. The Quinta de Santana is worth a stop since they use traditional methods from this region and the grounds have been around for generations.
6. It oozes Portuguese charm
If you decide to stay awhile, make sure to take in the charm and small-village feel of the place. The maze-like narrow cobblestone alleys of Ericeira will take you back in time while you explore its striking whitewashed architecture up on the windswept cliffs.
The cobblestone roads wind along to hidden squares where fountains, benches, and ancient wells will compel you to take a picture of something from another era.
Visit the local market, as well as the baroque-style casino more recently turned into a theatre. Then saunter down to Mar das Latas at sunset and drink the colors and the view in with some tapas and a glass of wine in good company.
Then check out the nightlife if you’re up to it! Ericeira will never cease to surprise you with its atmosphere.
7. It has excellent accommodation
Although Ericeira is off the beaten path the World Surf Reserve attracts many tourists worldwide. Now that tourism is on the rise again after the pandemic, many accommodations have been modernized and updated.
This has raised the bar significantly, although prices are still fairly reasonable all things considered.
Two gorgeous high-end boutique hotels were built in the area this year, but there are plenty of options whether right in the village center or within walking distance of some of the beaches along the coast.
Airbnb-style accommodation is a very popular choice in the area and is often preferred for larger groups. Camping is also an option, what with both bungalows and tents available, there really is something for everyone.
8. It’s perfect for all ages
Ericeira is a great place for all ages! The pedestrian roads allow parents the luxury of letting the littles ride their scooters or run around while they enjoy a coffee at the cafe.
Teens and young adults revel in the international hip atmosphere created in the shops, cafes and beaches by the surf community attracted here. Couples and the elderly will appreciate the stunning views, excellent restaurants and enjoy people-watching in the square.
Even the beaches cater to all types of visitors. Some have excellent structure and easy water access, while others are a wildly untamed stretch of ocean-battered rock only suitable for the bravest surfers. There’s something for everyone in Ericeira!
9. The temperature is cooler than in Lisbon in the summer
Ericeira weather is particular since it is located in a microclimate. This means temperatures are much cooler during the stifling summer months. Ericeira has always been a summer getaway for Lisbonites due to this phenomenon.
Generations of Portuguese have spent entire summers in Ericeira in one of the rented fishermen’s homes, commuting between the beach and Lisbon until classes started in September.
Today the highway has reduced the commute to minutes, which means that visitors drop in to get some respite from the heat, all while enjoying the stunning views Ericeira has to offer. With its cool breezes and sandy beaches, Ericeira is definitely worth a visit!
10. Truly excellent coworking spaces.
Since the highway leading to Ericeira charges quite a hefty toll at 3 Euros, many residents have chosen to work remotely. The pandemic exacerbated the trend, and Ericeira now has an abundance of excellent coworking spaces to choose from.
Many tourists have even started coming to Ericeira for a ‘workation’ where they surf and visit for a few hours every day, but still, get the work done around the activities they came for.
Whether you’re a digital nomad or just want to get a few hours of work in without background noise, Ericeira offers several quality workspaces to its visitors.
Check out our post on the best coworking spaces in the area for more information.
11. It’s off the beaten track
Ericeira is a quaint fisherman village in Portugal that is often overlooked by tourists.
Off the beaten track and away from mass tourism, Ericeira offers a different type of tourist experience- one that is low-key and is imbued with the wind-swept, drift-wood design of its many hotels and accommodations. Small and authentic, it’s very Portuguese and quaint.
I shouldn’t say this too loudly so it doesn’t change the vibe of the small fisherman village!
Is Ericeira Worth Visiting FAQ
How many days do you need in Ericeira?
You don’t need very many days in Ericeira to enjoy all that it has to offer tourists. But the charm of Ericeira lies in the atmosphere created by the driftwood, surfers, and windswept cliffs. Ideally, I would say you need at least a few days to see the sights and enjoy the sea views but if you’re a surfer or love the beach, then you may want to stay a little longer!
Is Ericeira Portugal expensive?
Ericeira is not a particularly expensive destination, but prices will vary depending on what you choose to do and where you choose to stay. Some things like surfing lessons or a day at the spa can be a bit more expensive, but for the most part, Ericeira is more than affordable. A five-star hotel has recently opened in the area, which is obviously much more expensive, but accommodation is generally well priced, especially the local Airbnbs. Portugal is known to be a fairly inexpensive country to visit, and Ericeira is no exception!
What is Ericeira PORTUGAL known for?
Ericeira Portugal is known for its beautiful coastline, excellent surfing, and quaint fisherman village feel. It is the only World Surf Reserve in Europe and has remarkably consistent waves. It is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation away from the hustle and bustle of city life and that soothing blue line along the horizon. There’s plenty to see and do in Ericeira, so be sure to add it to your list of places to visit on your next trip to Portugal!
Ericeira or Nazare?
Nazare and Ericeira are two very different places with unique offerings, so it really depends on what you’re looking for. Nazare is known for its gigantic waves and breathtaking views while Ericeira is a bustling surf town with plenty of activities and nightlife. With its clean beaches and charming restaurants, Ericeira provides a great experience for those who prefer the typical beach-town atmosphere. On the other hand, Nazare offers a quieter coastal escape to enjoy the power of nature.
Is Ericeira good for beginners?
Ericeira is an excellent place for beginners to learn how to surf, especially in summer months. From June to September waves are much smaller, which creates perfect conditions for beginners and makes it really worth a visit. The waves are consistent and the local instructors are friendly and welcoming. Ericeira also offers a variety of other activities such as hiking, biking, and windsurfing for those who want to explore other outdoor sports during their stay.
How do you get around in Ericeira?
Ericeira is a small fisherman village, and as such, the best way to get around is by foot or bicycle. Ideally, choose accommodation within a 15-minute walk from the village so you can reach most places on foot. A great way to explore Ericeira is to rent an electric bicycle and follow the Ericeira coastal path which offers breathtaking views of the ocean. If you’ve got kids in tow, or are planning on going a little further up or down the coast, a car rental is a perfect way to get around but watch out for lack of parking in the village!
Is Ericeira always windy?
Ericeira is a great place to visit, but it is known for being windy all year round. Make sure to pack appropriately if you’re planning on visiting! Consider that the micro-climate here brings Lisbon’s sweltering heat down about 10 degrees during summer months, and often means frequent rain and fog between December and February.
Is Ericeira Worth Visiting? The Wrap Up
So is Ericeira worth visiting? In short, yes, it is definitely worth a visit! Ericeira offers a perfect combination of beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and a quaint Portuguese vibe that make it an ideal destination for tourists looking for a great holiday experience in sunny Portugal.