Nestled between the hillside condo complexes which blanket the western end of town, and the ocean teaming with surfers and beachgoers on its five in/near town beaches (amongst the 40 nearby) sits the vila of Ericeira.
We spent a beautiful long weekend in this surfing town and were not disappointed. Don’t be fooled by the sprawls of condos as you drive through on the N247, there’s a beautiful historic town overlooking the sea and the cliffs that divide them and it has a lot to offer in the relaxation department.
Known as “the surfing capital of Europe” (source) and designated as one of (and the only one in Europe) the World Surfing Reserves. There are plenty of options for surf lessons in town.
We stayed at You And The Sea, just south of the village. This is a family-friendly complex of apartments with a good, casual restaurant, overwhelmingly friendly staff and just a good place to chill.
We walked along the cliffs and beaches into the main town square and amongst cobblestone streets and traditional houses and into the Saturday market packed with vendors selling delicious smelling meats, fresh cheeses, produce and handmade crafts and clothing.
Walking south of town you reach the Foz do Lizandro beach where the Rio Lizandro ends it’s winding valley path just before town and dumps into the Atlantic. Foz do Lizandro is a big beach with plenty of surfers, families and beachside bars and restaurants.
Ericeira is also known as the site from which King Manuel II went into exile, in the middle of the night, with most of the items from the National Palace in Mafra in tow, on October 5, 1910 when the monarchy was overthrown and the Republic was formed. Another fun fact: after the disappearance of King Sebastian in the 16th century, a hermit from Ericeira passed himself off as Dom Sebastian, crowning a queen, issuing regal orders and punishing his detractors. He and his supporters were eventually rewarded with beheadings, so it’s not a town with a history of friendly, positive experiences for the monarchy or its pretenders.
Fortunately, we are neither kings nor queens nor wannabes and our time in town was delightful.