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Ericeira is home to amazing beaches, endless outdoor activities, and charming white, blue, and yellow streets. Located 40 minutes northwest of Lisbon, this small fishing village and world surf reserve is an ideal holiday destination for surfers, beach-lovers, and anyone seeking a slower pace of life.
I can’t say surfing is my strong suit, but Ericeira is still one of my favorite places in Portugal. Here are some fun things to do in Ericeira, Portugal (surfing and otherwise) to help you plan a wonderful trip.
#1 Go Surfing in Ericeira
In 2011, the coastline of Ericeira was approved as a protected world surfing reserve. It’s known for being one of Europe’s best surf towns, so it’s no wonder Ericeira is packed with surf enthusiasts of all levels.
To give it a try, you can book beginner or intermediate group lessons from surf schools like Surf Riders Ericeira or Ericeira Waves. You can also hire private surf instructors or simply rent a board and wetsuit if you’re already confident in the water.
If you know your way around a surfboard, Praia do Sul, Ribeira D’Ilhas, Foz do Lizandro, São Julião, and Praia do Matadouro range from beginner to intermediate depending on the swell and conditions.
Very experienced surfers will enjoy the challenging waves at Pedra Branca and Coxos.
For more surfing access, consider staying at a surf camp or surf hostel. These accommodations often have packages with daily surfing, gear rentals, and transportation to surf spots.
Surfers Den Ericeira is centrally located with dorms and private rooms, and they offer beginner and intermediate surf lessons and gear rentals. Guests of the hostel get a discounted rate.
Ericeira Surf House offers upscale shared, private, and ensuite rooms with 3-day and 5-day surf packages that include unlimited gear rental.
Laneez Ericeira has a sea view surf house with dorms, private rooms, ensuite rooms, and private apartments available for rent.
They also have an entire surf cottage with four bedrooms that sleeps 8 guests if you’re traveling as a family or group of friends. Guests can book surf lessons through the property.
#2 Praia dos Pescadores
Praia dos Pescadores, also known as Fisherman’s Beach, is the main beach in the center of Ericeira’s historic district. Because it’s sheltered from the wind and big ocean waves, Praia dos Pescadores is a great place to swim, sunbathe, paddleboard, and learn to surf.
During the summer months, there’s a pop-up beach bar, sun loungers, and umbrellas available for rent. The beach is also close to popular restaurants, bars, and shops in town.
That said, the central location makes parking a challenge. While you probably won’t find a spot directly at the beach on weekends and during high season, this paid parking lot is nearby and you can also grab a free spot at the São Sebastião parking lot and walk over.
#3 Praia da Foz do Lizandro
Foz do Lizandro is an expansive sandy beach and boardwalk, making it one of the best beaches for families, sunbathers, and surfers. It’s right where the Lizandro river meets to sea, so you can swim in the calmer river area if the ocean is too rough.
Depending on where you go along the beach and the conditions of the day, there are surf breaks suitable for beginners and more experienced surfers.
There are also a handful of restaurants, surf shops, and bars located along the Lizandro Beach boardwalk where you can grab a bite and cool off. There’s a huge free parking lot next to the beach as well as overflow parking further up the road.
#4 Praia do Sul and Praia do Baleia
Praia do Sul (South Beach) and Praia do Baleia are interconnected beaches where you can surf or swim in a natural rock pool. At low tide, the rock circle blocks the waves to make a peaceful swimming area, perfect for families and anyone who doesn’t want to get too jostled.
Along the shore, there’s an elevated walkway built into the cliff that has seafood restaurants, cafes, and outdoor showers. There are also cabanas and umbrella rentals during the high season.
The restaurant with yellow umbrellas is a great place to go for coffee in the mornings or a drink at sunset. It’s almost always open and the sea breeze is wonderful.
#5 Praia de Ribeira D’Ilhas
Praia de Ribeira D’Ilhas is one of my favorite beaches in Ericeira and it’s a good choice for surfing, beach relaxing, and hiking. There’s a restaurant, restrooms, and several surf schools where you can take lessons or rent gear.
You can also follow the massive wooden staircase up the cliffside to the Miradouro Ribeira d’Ilhas lookout point for a panoramic view of the beach and ocean.
Ribeira D’Ilhas beach is surrounded by cliffs on all sides, and some of these rocky areas have trails where you can hike along the coast. If you happen to be in town for a surf competition, it will likely be held here.
#6 Praia de São Lourenço
Located about ten minutes north of Ericeira is a sprawling beach called São Lourenço. This spot is great for families and (you guessed it) surfers, and there are umbrella rentals during the high season. There’s also an onsite restaurant and bar.
The beach is located near a river mouth where you can feed ducks and admire the flowers and wildlife. The sand at São Lourenço is more of a pebbly texture and the water is chilly, but it’s a beautiful spot for a relaxing day at the beach.
#7 Explore the City Center
In Ericeira’s historic city center, you can find some of the best restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, churches, and peaceful areas to rest and recharge. Seeing the charming architecture is one of my favorite things to do in Ericeira, especially if you’re a first-time visitor.
The main town square is called the Jogo da bola and from there you can follow the cobbled streets throughout the village. There’s a cool second-hand clothing shop called Revestir and there are often weekend markets at the park by Praia de São Sebastião.
It’s worth spending some time getting lost in the narrow streets, and I love how you can round a corner and stumble upon a glorious sea view. There are several benches overlooking Praia dos Pescadores that have an especially nice view at sunset.
#8 Admire the architecture at Igreja de São Pedro
The Igreja de São Pedro dates back to 1446 and inside you can see huge pieces of baroque-style art that span the alters and ceiling. The church has been expanded over the years and it’s a great place to see the classic blue tiles, called azulejos.
#9 Rent e-bikes
Ericeira is a hilly village. E-bikes can help with that. The Ericeira coastline is well connected with sidewalks and bike paths so riding e-bikes is a breeze. This is a nice way to explore and get to the farther-away beaches like Foz do Lizandro and Ribeira D’Ilhas.
Take Off E-bike in the center of town is a good place to rent e-bikes, regular bikes, and scooters.
#10 Walk along Rua das Furnas
There are stone stairs that take you through the rock formations to different parts of the ruins and you can even see historical cannons facing out to sea. It’s a short walk, but a beautiful one. Definitely one of my favorite things to do in the evenings around sunset time.
#11 Join a Pastel de Nata baking workshop
Want to learn how to make a classic Portuguese dessert like a pro? This pastel de nata workshop is located just a short drive from Ericeira at a family-run bakery in Mafra.
You’ll learn about the history of the dish and get hands-on experience making puff pastry and custard from scratch. At the end, you’ll get to enjoy your delicious creations fresh from the oven.
#12 Hike to Praia de São Julião
Hiking fans, you’ll love this group hike from Foz do Lizandro to Praia de São Julião. With an experienced guide, you’ll follow secret trails along the cliffs between two of Ericeira’s most beautiful beaches.
You’ll start at Foz do Lizandro and go off the beaten path to see incredible sea views and nature. You’ll arrive at Praia de São Julião where you can cool off in the ocean or grab a refreshment at the seaside cafe.
The tour starts and ends in the same location and lasts around 1.5 hours.
#13 Paddleboarding on the Lizandro River
For a relaxing day on the water, join Ericeira SUP for one of their paddleboard tours of Ericeira. They offer a stand-up paddleboard excursion on the Lizandro River, which has calm waters and is well suited for beginners.
Ericeira SUP also offers more advanced classes in the harbor and open ocean, as well as a SUP yoga class in the natural pool at Praia do Sul.
#14 Bike Tour and Wine Tasting in the Lizandro Valley
Set off into the Lizandro countryside by bike for a two-hour ride through beautiful valley trails. You’ll stop for a picnic and then visit a winery for about an hour where you’ll taste six local wines.
Previous guests enjoyed seeing a new side to Ericeira, and they rave about the knowledgeable and helpful guide, Bruno.
#15 Take a ceramics class
If you’ve ever wanted to create your own ceramics and pottery, you can learn in Ericeira. Gaelle Ceramica offers private and 2-person ceramics workshops where you’ll learn how to throw pottery on the wheel.
Your class fee includes clay and tools, and you can choose two pieces to be fired at the end of your session. If you’re staying in Ericeira long-term, you can also book packages of five or ten lessons.
#16 See the view at Miradouro Sala das Visitas
With incredible views of Praia do Sul, Praia da Baleia, and the southern coastline, Miradouro Sala das Vistas is one of my favorite lookout points in Ericeira.
It’s one of the best places to take photos and there are several benches where you can rest and enjoy the view. There’s also a small parking area if you’re visiting by car.
#17 Join a yoga class
Along with surfing, Ericeira is also a popular destination for yoga and you won’t have to look too hard to find classes. Ericeira Yoga Studio has sessions all day even on the weekends, and they even offer specialty classes like kids yoga and aerial yoga.
#18 Visit the Mafra Palace
Located just 10-15 minutes outside Ericeira is the impressive Mafra Palace. This UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to the 1700s and makes a great little excursion if you need a break from the beach.
The size of the property is staggering, and inside you can tour the Royal Palace, the Basilica, the convent, and the grand library. It took us about an hour and a half to walk through the interior areas, and there’s also a large garden next door.
You can get to the Mafra palace by car or bus, and there are nice restaurants and outdoor spaces nearby if you want to make a day of it.
#19 Wine tasting at Quinta de Sant’Ana Winery
Quinta de Sant’Ana is a family-owned vineyard and winery located about twenty minutes inland from Ericeira. They offer four different wine tours that include visiting the winery, vineyard, barrel room, and historic chapel. You’ll also get to try an assortment of curated wine tastings.
Guest reviews highlight the beautiful, peaceful surroundings and the knowledgeable wine guides.
#20 Day trip to Sintra
Sintra is a mountain-top forest town that looks like it came out of a fairy tale. Nestled among the trees are dozens of castles, palaces, and historical sites that date back hundreds of years.
Conveniently, Sintra is just a half-hour drive from Ericeira. When you go, park near the Sintra train station and head to the bus stop. Here, you can purchase a ticket on the hop-on-hop-off bus that takes you to all the Sintra attractions like the Pena Palace, Sintra Palace, and Moorish Castle.
If you only have time for one stop, the rainbow-colored Pena Palace is one of my favorite places to visit and you can easily spend the day exploring the castle and gardens.
That said, if you move quickly you could easily see two to three attractions in a day if you get an early start. Just make sure to buy your tickets online in advance to avoid the long lines.
Here are a few popular places to visit on a day trip to Sintra:
Related Post: 6 Best Palaces and Castles of Sintra, Portugal
#21 See the Cabo da Roca Lighthouse
Cabo da Roca is a lighthouse in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park offering a panoramic view of the Sintra cliffs and seafront. One of the oldest lighthouses in Portugal, this spot was once believed to be the edge of the world.
Today, it offers amazing views of the Atlantic ocean where you can really feel the power of mother nature. You can check out Cabo da Roca in conjunction with a visit to Sintra.
#22 Sunset at Boardriders
Boardriders Surf Shop is a popular place to catch the sunset in Ericeira, especially during the summer months. During high season, there’s live music every Friday from about 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm when they close.
The surf shop itself is worth seeing and there’s a conveyer belt of surfboards spanning the entire ceiling. Outside, there’s a skatepark and grassy lawn area where you can relax with a picnic blanket while the sun sets over Praia do Matadouro.
#23 Craft brewery and music at 58 Surf
58 Surf is another impressive surf shop and they have an onsite craft brewery called Mean Sardine. You can also grab lunch at the onsite restaurant called Maikai and sit outside on the sunny, sea view patio.
After dark on Saturday nights, 58 Surf Shop transforms into a music venue. There are DJs and the party atmosphere usually gets going later in the evening around eleven or midnight. Usually, they’ll promote upcoming music events on the Maikai Instagram page.
#24 Experience Ericeira nightlife
If you’d like to keep the festivities going after a big day of exploring, downtown Ericeira has nightlife that won’t disappoint.
You can go for a more relaxed drink at Jukebox, sample craft beers at 5 e Meio, or head to Adega Bar for live music on Fridays during the high season. Adega usually has the biggest crowds until about midnight when the party shifts to Tubo Bar for dancing.
#25 Special events in Ericeira
Depending on when you visit, you might be able to catch some of these special events that take place in Ericeira.
- Sumol Summer Fest: Sumol Summer Fest is a music festival that takes place at Ericeira Camping next to Boardriders. It’s one of the biggest DJ and music events of the year.
- Sea Salt Collective: This outdoor festival happens one weekend per month from May until November. It’s held at You and the Sea and there’s live music, a market, food, children’s play areas, an outdoor cinema, and a skateboarding wave.
- Portuguese Surf Film Festival: The Portuguese Surf Film Festival happens at the end of July and is a chance to see amazing surf documentaries and cinematic pieces at venues around Ericeira.
Getting to Ericeira from Lisbon
From Lisbon, you can get to Ericeira by car or bus. Driving, you’ll take Highway A8 to A21. The journey takes about 40 minutes and you’ll go through a toll booth so make sure you have some cash if you don’t have a Portuguese bank card.
To take the bus, head to the bus terminal at Campo Grande in Lisbon. The best way to get here from the Lisbon city center is to take the yellow or green metro line to Campo Grande station.
Outside, there’s a Mafrenese bay labeled Ericeira where buses depart several times a day. Tickets cost €6.40 and you can check the bus schedule here.
The journey takes anywhere from one hour to one hour and forty-five minutes depending on the route. If you’re traveling with luggage or surfboards, there’s under-bus storage available.
Final thoughts: Best things to do in Ericeira, Portugal
Whether you’re visiting for a few days or planning to stick around for a while, Ericeira is packed with things to do. Surf, hike, bike, paddleboard, visit historic sites, or simply relax on the beach while enjoying the scenery – Ericeira has something for everyone.
If you’re looking for more things to do in Portugal, check out these guides:
- 2 week Portugal itinerary: We’ll visit Ericeira, Lisbon, Porto, and the Douro Valley
- 10 day Portugal road trip itinerary: We’ll cover the Algarve, Ericeira, and Lisbon
- Sao Miguel Azores Travel Guide: What to do, where to stay, and travel tips
- 13 Things to do in Lagos Portugal: Beaches, sights, activities