Ericeira is a beautiful resort and fishing village 45 km northeast of Lisbon. It is 25 km from Sintra and 10 km from Mafra. It is a popular destination for local and visiting tourists, as well as for all kinds of surfers from starting amateurs to professionals. Ericeira is famous for its beautiful beaches, located where the high cliffs of the rocky coast meet the Atlantic Ocean.
Typical for the town itself: the hospitality of its people, the picturesque squares, the narrow cobblestone streets, the characteristic small white and blue houses, singular monuments, the Atlantic views, the beaches, harbours and the fishing boats and the local cuisine – especially the fish and seafood.
Surfing is the dominant sport and sunbathing is the most popular activity of tourists who come from all over the world.
The first World Surfing Reserve in Europe, Ericeira, Portugal, was dedicated on October 14, 2011. Ericeira stretches 4 km (2.5 miles) and consists of seven separate surf spots, approximately 8 km of coastline, including popular breaks such as Ribeira d’Ilhas and Coxos. Ericeira was recognized for its high density of surf breaks, wave quality, and unique environment.
What to do around Ericeira
Sintra is a charming town, suitable for a (1/2) day trip from Ericeira. Because of its fantastic cultural landscape, above all the 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments, it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1995.
From Ericeira you can either go by car (20 min) or take the Bus of the Mafrense Bus Company from Ericeira to Sintra (50 min).
The historic center, the Pena National Palace and park, the Sintra National Palace and the Moors Castle are all unforgettable monuments from different historic periods.
In 1945 the sculptor José Franco made up his mind to build a living museum to show everyday village and rural life of his time. He made this typical miniature village in clay. It shows village life in detail: grocery store, butcher’s shop, threshing floor, blacksmith’s forge, chapel, windmill, water-mill, school, farm house etc. All the mechanized figures are driven by water or electricity and were all hand made by the artist.
The admission is free. There are nice restaurants around, one of them in fact inside the village. The onsite shop sells handmade Portuguese pottery.
Children love walking around in this “village”.
The village of Mafra is mostly known for the Mafra National Palace, a monumental Baroque and Italianized Neoclassical baroque building which includes a convent and a basilica. This fantastic masterpiece was built by King John the V to rival the basilica of Saint Peter´s in Rome. Work was started 1717 by the king in thanksgiving for the birth of a son and heir to the throne. The blood and sweat of 40000 men were necessary to build it, and when it was finished around 1755 the front measured 213 m from east to west and 244 m from north to south, contained around 1000 rooms. After 1735 much of the work was financed through the gold that flowed in from the rich mines of Brazil.
The palace gardens are excellent for just walking around, for children to use the playground, to have a little picnic, etc.
Tapada Nacional de Mafra
At the time of King John V this park close to Mafra used to be an enclosed wildlife and game reserve for the nobility. Now the 8 square kilometres park holds different species of deer, wild boar, foxes, birds of prey and many others in their natural habitat.
When in the 13th century Portuguese Queen Isabel passed through Obidos and was stunned by its beauty, her husband, King Denis I, just gave it to her. After that, the kings of Portugal presented the magnificent little town to their queens as a wedding gift, right until the end of the 18th century.
Obidos is a typical, well-preserved example of medieval architecture, with heavy medieval walls surrounding the town and the Moorish castle rebuilt by Denis. The hillside location gives you an amazing view of the Estremadura area.
You enter the town through the southern gate of Santa Maria, which is decorated with eighteenth-century tiles (azulejo).
Inside the walls you walk through winding streets, white houses with blue or yellow borders and wonderful flowers. There are some beautiful churches, good restaurants and nice small shops.
Peniche is one of the largest fishing ports in Portugal. The sea is one of the main points of interest and the long beaches are much appreciated by families as well as by surfers. Peniche is one of the best surfing locations in Europe. It has beaches and breaks facing in three distinctly different directions. Supertubos (waves forming fast and powerful tubes) are among the best in Europe. The area has been called the "European Pipeline", after the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii.
The town has got a very nice center. The Peniche Fort was built in the 16th/17th centuries to defend the coast. For the younger (and older) children Peniche has got a marvelous waterpark, www.sportagua.com.
The Nature Reserve on the Island of Berlengas is only a boat ride away.
Berlenga is the perfect place to seek tranquillity, far from the hectic daily life, given that the island can only be visited by a maximum of 350 persons at any one time.