Ericeira will always be one of my favorite places on earth. I’ll never forget my trip there. I landed in Lisbon at 7:30am. It was the first stop of my solo adventure of 2016. I was staying with my old roommate Joana & her family for a few days before I began traveling to Madeira, Spain, Morocco & Italy.
Later that day Joana & I were chilling on her rooftop patio and she said “Em, we are going somewhere cool tonight. It’s one of my favorite spots in Portugal. I know you will love it.” I was already having the time of my life, what could be better than lounging on a terrace in PORTUGAL… 3,000 miles away from work & responsibility?
That night Joana took me to Ericeira, a seaside paradise that’s full of charm. It’s a small fishing village about 45 minutes north of Lisbon. When our uber pulled into the quant town center, I immediately felt something special about this place. It has such a relaxing beach-town vibe that’s so different from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon.
Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Ericeira when you’re in Portugal.
10 Reasons to Visit
1. The Beaches
If you’re a beach bum like me, you’ll want to lounge at the beach all day when you’re here. There are two main beaches directly in town and various smaller ones a short drive away from the center. The sand is so smooth and clean, I didn’t see any liter at all… just a lot of cute surfers 😉 (which brings me to #2).
2. Surf’s Up
Ericeira is known as the surf capital of Portugal. So if you love to ride the waves, or have always wanted to learn, this place is for you! Surf culture is big here and there’s a variety of surfing schools that offer lessons. Surf season prime is from October to May, but visiting in the summer is great if you’re a beginner, the waves are smaller and the water is much warmer. Fun Fact: Ericeira is the only town in Europe declared as a World Surfing Reserve.
3. The Views
From the gorgeous teal waters, and stunning seaside cliffs, you’ll be snapping pictures like crazy. Take time to explore Ericeira’s 2.5 mile coastline and make sure to catch the sunset at least once while you’re at the beach. I highly recommend staying at hotel with a balcony like… Vila Gale Ericeira (pictured below), You and The Sea or Blue Buddha Hostel (great if you’re a thrifty traveler on a budget).
4. The Architecture
What I love about Ericeira is that the majority of the town center isn’t accessible for cars, so you can walk everywhere and explore all of the cute cafés and shops. The streets are lined with cobblestones, and the majority of the buildings are white or adorned with bright colors and tiles.
5. The Weather
Since Ericeira is located on the coast it’s a great getaway from the Lisbon heat during the summer. There’s always a refreshing breeze and it’s about 5 degrees cooler than the inland of Portugal. Most restaurants, bars and cafés have outdoor seating, so you’ll be getting plenty of sunshine during your stay. It can get chilly at night, so I recommend dressing in layers or bringing a cute jacket/kimono when you got out in the evening.
6. The Food
I had some of the best seafood of MY LIFE in Ericeira. Being a beach-town, it’s full of delicious spots that offer so many types of seafood and fish. A Portuguese delicacy is Salada de Polvo, octopus salad, and it’s delicious! It’s prepared cold and typically tossed with olive oil, garlic, parsley, onion and a hint of fresh lemon. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new!
7. The Nightlife
Put on your party pants and get ready to stay up late like it’s college. The nightlife here starts at the bars, which wind-down around 2am, but then everybody hits the club and the party keeps going ’till at least 5am. Make sure you try my favorite… Caipirinhas, they’re like a mojito, but better & way stronger! You have to end your night at Ouriço, the energy of this club is fun & contagious, everyone’s dancing, and the music is on point. It’s located right by the water, so when you get hot from all that grooving you can head outside and cool-down.
8. Easily Accessible
Ericeira is located about 45 minutes north of Lisbon. If you aren’t renting a car, there’s public transportation and buses that run right from the airport. Once you’re in town you’ll be able to enjoy the majority of the town by foot. It’s easily walkable and a lot of the streets are car-free. Walking is my favorite way to explore a new city! I loved wandering along the cobblestone streets and being able to stop at moment’s notice to snap a pic like this one…
9. The Vibe
Every city has a unique pulse to it, and Ericeira’s is the epitome of chill. Making time for the beach and an afternoon café take priority here. The peak time for tourism is summer, but it’s mostly visited by Portuguese natives looking to escape the heat and unwind by the shore.
10. The People
The locals are laid-back and super friendly. People move at a slower pace and take a lot of pride in their community. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions or a recommendation on where to eat! Because it’s a smaller town you’ll start to recognize people the longer you stay. I remember I saw a bartender at the beach the next day teaching surfing lessons. It’s a close-knit tribe of locals and it’s not overwhelmingly crowded like a major city. I felt extremely safe the entire time I was there.