The town maintains its medieval layout with narrow cobbled pedestrianised streets lined with white lime-washed houses adorned with traditional coloured door and window trims. The town's main artery is the Rua Dr Eduardo Burnay which joins the outskirts to the main square Praça da República at its heart. Along its route are an abundance of eateries, bakeries (pastelarias), watering holes and surf shops.
The town is famed for its excellent seafood. Restaurants serve the "catch of the day" from the towns working fishing port, Porto de Pesca. Legend has it the town's name is derived from "ouriços do mar", which means sea urchin in Portuguese. The rewards from the sea can also be found at the municipal market at the northern edge of town. It opens most days and where you can find other great local produce.
Yet alongside the traditional side to Ericeira is the hyper-cool surf community, swanky bars and clubs, and swarms of partying weekender from Lisbon blend in somewhat seamlessly without demeaning the town's character. Ericeira is a town dedicated to the ocean in times past, as it continues to be today.
The town of Ericeira is very old. It's thought the Phoenicians traded here in the first millennium BC. It received its first royal charter in 1229 by the then Grand Master of the Order of Aviz, Dom Frei Ferdinand Rodrigues Monteiro. He also established the County of Ericeira.
During the 19th century, Ericeira became the royal family's favourite getaway spot and was promptly followed by members of the court and Portugal's aristocracy. Their legacy can be found in the various stately homes built here. The town also gained prosperity as a global port trading as far away as Brazil. The port's income switched from trade to fishing after the railway came.
Ericeira was also the spot where Dom Manuel II – "The Unfortunate", Portugal's last King fled to the United Kingdom on the 5th of October 1910. He was escaping an advancing Republican mob. With the assassination of his father and older brother still fresh in his memory, he fled Portugal and sailed into the welcoming arms of the British at Gibraltar. He lived out the rest of his days in exile south of London in Twickenham.
A few decades later, Ericeira became a haven for refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. People from all over Europe's occupied countries settled here, adding an international atmosphere to the town.
Ericeira was awarded the title of Europe's first and only World Surf Reserve in February 2011. It's a preservation programme whose sole aim is to protect the key environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes of surfing areas. This recognition has elevated Ericeira into the same ranks as the Gold Coast, Australia and Santa Cruz, California and proudly hosts world championships. Not all the beaches here only suit professional surfers. There's a diversity of waves and conditions to suit all levels of competence and types of boards. Nearby there are twelve beaches suitable for surfing with rental shops and surf schools at hand.
The picturesque Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermans Beach) is the most centrally located within Ericeira. As its name suggests, it overlooks the fishing harbour. The beach is backed by tall sheer cliffs which offer shelter from Atlantic breezes. Its central position, along with its proximity to the towns amenities, makes Praia dos Pescadores popular with families but it can seem a little crowded at peak times.
A short walk south from the town centre will take you to the Praia de Sul (Southern Beach). It is renowned for its golden sands and clean bathing water. The sheltered nature of the Praia de Sul makes it more suited to sunbathers, families and swimmers rather than serious surfing. There is a toddlers bathing pool at one end and offers refuge from the waves. Running along the beach is a promenade where you will find a couple of restaurants with terraces.
Just over a mile South of Ericeira, the river Lizandro flows into the sea and is where you'll find the largest expanse of sand within the area. The rear of the Praia da Foz do Lizandro beach opens up into dunes and a boardwalk where you can find plenty of amenities, including a lifeguard, changing rooms, toilets, showers, bars and cafés. There is ample parking. The tamer waters of the river offer good paddling conditions for the little ones.
Between Ericeira and Mafra is the town of Sobreiro. Here you will encounter one of the country's best-known miniature villages. The brainchild of the potter José Franco, he created this scale village from clay during the early 1960s. The model village crystallises in time the country life of the Mafra region, its culture and its workings. The village contains miniature windmills, chapels, grocery stores, wineries, peasantry and even a reproduction of the fishing village of Ericeira. Adjoining the village is reconstructed pottery adorned and fitted with antique tools and objects. Also, there are life-size replicas of castle walls, windmills, a children's park, a small winery, where you can sample the region's wines, and a bakery.
Monday - Saturday: 09h00 - 18h00, Sunday: 10h00 - 18h00
N116 34, 2640-401 Mafra, Portugal.
38° 57' 34.6"N | 09° 21' 13.1"W | +351 261 815 420
The Ericeira Soul Guesthouse is a popular choice for those who appreciate a warm, friendly environment within a great central location in Ericeira. This family-run business occupies one of the oldest buildings within the town yet has been tastefully modernised for your comfort. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool and free WiFi. You can find a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with toiletries, a hairdryer and a shower in each room. A buffet breakfast is available daily at the property. Ericeira Soul Guesthouse offers a sun terrace.
Travessa Santo António n°6 2655-361 Ericeira, Portugal.
38º 57' 54.8" N | 09º 25' 05.9" W | +351 261 145 315 | firstname.lastname@example.org
The hotel overlooks the Atlantic with sun terraces containing swimming pools and amazing views out to sea. The hotel was Ericeira's prime accommodation in its 1950s heyday. In a town dominated by hostels and guesthouses, it continues to attract comfort-seeking travellers. It's a short stroll to the town centre and to Praia da Sul beach. Other facilities include a spa and gym, Some rooms include a balcony, and others offer sea views. All are equipped with air conditioning, flat-screen cable TV, minibar and free WiFi. Vila Galé Ericeira's restaurant Ocidental serves fresh fish specialities and a selection of Portuguese wine. Guests can enjoy ocean views with a cocktail from the bar.
Largo dos Navegantes, 2655-320, Ericeira, Portugal.
38º 57' 37.3" N | 09º 25' 03.6" W | +351 261 869 900 | email@example.com
GiG Capsule Hostel offers air-conditioned accommodation in Ericeira. Featuring a shared kitchen, this property also has a restaurant. The hostel also provides free WiFi as well as a paid airport shuttle service. All guest rooms in the hostel are fitted with a kettle. Every room is fitted with a shared bathroom with a hairdryer. All units will provide guests with a microwave. GiG Capsule Hostel has a terrace.
Largo do Cruzeiro, 2655-319 Ericeira, Portugal.
38º 57' 55.7" N | 09º 25' 07.1" W | +351 910 507 038 | firstname.lastname@example.org
A short stroll north of the main square is the popular Tik Tak restaurant. The reason for its popularity will become apparent as you're greeted by friendly staff and then treated to great food. Mostly renown for seafood, its menu is actually varied with a good selection of wines and prices reasonable. Portion sizes are typically generous but try to leave room for dessert!
Monday - Friday: 19h00 - 23h00, Weekends: 12h30 - 23h00
7 Rua 5 de Outubro, Ericeira, Mafra 2655-255, Portugal. | 38º 57' 50" N | 09º 25' 2.1" W
+351 261 863 246 | Facebook
There are enough flavours in this ice cream parlour to satisfy any ice-cream addict happy for the duration of their holiday. Some flavours are quite exotic and original and handcrafted by the friendly staff who are almost as sweet as their fare. Outside seating is available but card payments are not accepted.
33 Rua Dr. Eduardo Burnay, 2655-368 Ericeira, Portugal. | 38º 57' 47" N | 09º 25' 01.3" W
+351 261 861 662 | email@example.com | Facebook
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