Ericeira Portugal: A Tale By The Sea
In Portugal, time stands still and people have time. The Portuguese are a friendly, proud and tough people. They are kind and hostile. Especially the men of the sea, those who make a living out of fishing. For them, the sea is their boss. Here, in the town of Ericeira, it's the air you breathe.
Feb 23, 2023
In Portugal, time stands still and people have time. The Portuguese are a friendly, proud and tough people. They are kind and hostile. Especially the men of the sea, those who make a living out of fishing. For them, the sea is their boss. Here, in the town of Ericeira, it's the air you breathe. The ancient seaside town inhabited since the Phoenicians, situated on the coast of the Mafra municipality, assumes a typical identity of the Lusitanian people. Ericeira is, inseparably, the sea. And it is in this relaxed, traditional and mystical atmosphere that we found ourselves as soon as we sighted this place. Surfing is also the face of this land. Many say that in this secret by the sea, "the sea is bluer". And the truth is that it is.
From Muro das Ribas you can see Praia dos Pescadores and an endless sea. Local belief has it that the walls and houses of this fishing village, with their simple blue lines served, above all, to protect the residents from the misfortunes and misfortunes of life, sculpting the passing of time.
Ericeira comes from the Latin Ericeira meaning ‘a place where hedgehogs abound’. Legend has it that the name of the town derives from the innumerable sea urchins that used to tie themselves to this coastline and, consequently, the sea urchin became a reference image of the region. Surrounded by a privileged view, Ericeira is located 12 km from Mafra and its much-vaunted National Palace. The mystic town of Sintra is 25 km away and the Lisbon International Airport and the capital Lisbon are 46 km and 50 km away, respectively.
The region of Ericeira finds in its narrative strong connections to the sea, presently rooted in its fishing community, which does not let the memory of time die. Until a few years ago, the sea urchin village was full of boats and people mending nets. Wherever you went, there were fishing nets everywhere, dictating its unique and distinct identity. Some were drying on land, others lying in the ocean and the rest, filled with fresh fish that had just arrived. These same nets gave and continue to give life, food and sustenance to the Jagoz (the name given to the inhabitant of Ericeira). "There are men who walk on the sea as if they were walking on the street," said Carlos Drummond de Andrade and the Jagozes have the sea in their soul. It is crucial not to dissociate the village from fishing. Fishing used to be very important for Ericeira: it even became one of the biggest sea ports. Over the years, everything has deteriorated, but fishing is very important for this town. The day that fishing ends here, everything dies. The essence of Ericeira will be gone.
In Ericeira, there is an art of knowing how to wait. In the Jogo da Bola’ square: a meeting and farewell point, there is a whole movement of people, cultures, gastronomy, music, board games, and a mixture of ages.
Here there is noise and silence at the same time.
The café terraces are full of people, the trees are dressed, the toasts of friendships in a corner bar can be heard leagues away and on windless days, it is possible to hear the waves breaking on the Praia dos Pescadores. During the winter the village rests and dresses up. As soon as the sea cold goes away and nights become longer and warmer, the sun awakes, and the village gains another life. The village never stops.
As time went by, Ericeira adopted a very own diverse style, quickly embracing the presence of new inhabitants and curious people coming from various parts of the world. Some compare it to Hawaii or European California.
Ericeira, besides being the first for the fishermen and the fishermen's children, also belongs to everyone. It is a piece of each one that passes through here and leaves something, that however small it may be, is a footprint of memory. A human DNA that makes this place so rich and special. And those who pass through here can hardly leave without coming back again.
With globalisation, the ease of remote working and the award of the World Surfing Reserve, Ericeira is at the forefront of a new network of digital nomads. The jagoza hospitality, in this fairy tale seaside town, makes many of those who visit, stay here permanently. In the sea urchin village, there are hundreds of digital nomads who have left their native country for this well-kept seaside secret and converted to the quiet life of the village. Although its size can be deceiving, there's plenty to do here. There's a bit of everything for all tastes and personalities. There's room for the relaxed, the curious, the active, the innovative, the partying, for the literary. There is room for the one who knows what he wants and, at the same time, for the one who has no idea.
Here lives an open community. It fell in love with the town and the town, unable to escape the faith, fell in love back.
There are numerous co-working spaces scattered around the town:
The Salt Studio Cowork Ericeira
Kelp Coworking Space Ericeira
The Base Cowork Space
LaPoint SurfCamp Ericeira (Coworking/Co-living)
Nomads @Ericeira CoWorking Space
Nomadico Ericeira - Coliving | Coworking
SUNAGO Coliving & Coworking House
OneWorld Business Building
Amour Soul Space
Selina Boavista Ericeira & Surf School
In addition, there is a strong community of digital nomads on Facebook. People who share interests, if only the common interest of the land:
Ericeira is also well known for its gastronomy - especially for fresh fish and seafood. In every corner of Ericeira we can find restaurants for all tastes. Although many new restaurants have appeared there are still a lot of typical and local restaurants.
But it is not just restaurants, Ericeira also has lots of bakeries and cafes with delicious sweets and snacks. It is important to be aware that in the busiest months it is necessary to reserve a table, or you may find yourself without a place to eat.
Most bakeries and cafes open between 7am and 9am and don’t close until 7pm-8pm. Restaurants usually open around 12pm and have lunch until 2pm and open again for dinner from 7:30pm to 11pm.
Pizzeria Pão D'Alho
Restaurante O Pirolito
GiG - Green is Good
O Pãozinho das Marias
Tasquinha dos Pescadores
Bar Clube Naval da Ericeira
Cervejaria O Pescador
Clube Naval Praia da Assenta
Pão com Chouriço Celeste Alecrim
"People, people make the place". When you travel, it is one of the phrases you hear proclaimed the most, regardless of where you're from. In Ericeira, the locals are honest, friendly and open people. Like the doors of the house, which let anyone in.
In Ericeira there is accommodation for all types of people. In recent years, local accommodation and hostels have grown wildly in Ericeira. Although the number of accommodations has grown exponentially, there are times of the year when it is still difficult to find a place to stay due to overcrowding.
Therefore, you need to be extra careful with reservations during the busiest months. On a special note, it is necessary to say that the price of accommodation has increased more than 3x in the last 10 years, forcing most locals to leave the village because their salaries are not adjusted to the cost of living and accommodation in Ericeira.
Ericeira Surf Camp
Villa Ana Margarida Beach
Villa Ana Margarida by Nature
Ericeira Soul Guesthouse
You and the sea - Ericeira Hotel and Apartments
LO Surfcamp Ericeira
You can find more options on Airbnb or Booking.com.
Ericeira's beaches are small but have a special charm. Usually, they are small spots of sand surrounded by big cliffs. Despite its charm, it is necessary to pay close attention to the dangers on the beaches. The sea in Ericeira is quite rough - from currents to strong waves, you can't be too careful. Attention is especially needed on unsupervised beaches. The beaches with the longest stretch of sand are the two beaches further south of the municipality - Praia de S. Julião and Praia da Foz do Lizandro. Every year the waters of Ericeira's are tested and many beaches are awarded a blue flag for their quality.
Praia da Foz do Lizandro (Dangerous beach. Nightmare for lifeguards. Strong and rip currents. Super windy)
Praia dos Pescadores (It is a port that has become a beach too. Very sheltered. Best for windy days)
Praia de São Lourenço
Praia do Sul (Small beach. Traditional beach for the rich people from Lisbon that spend the summer in Ericeira)
Praia Sao Sebastiao
Praia dos Coxos (Tiny beach. Super sheltered. Perfect for windy days.
Praia de São Julião (Beach that divides the municipality of Sintra and Mafra)
Praia de Ribeira d'Ilhas
Praia do Norte
Praia do Matadouro (It is not a beach, just a surf spot. Usually does not have any sand to put the towel on and it is full of surfboards. On the high tide the ocean gets up to the cliffs)
Praia da Empa
Praia do Alibabá (Only accessible at the low tide).
But Ericeira is also a sanctuary. A surf sanctuary, internationally acclaimed: known for the high concentration of waves in a short space. It has all kinds of waves, from world class waves to waves suitable for beginners. In this small piece of coastal Portugal, you can find a ton of waves, all of them different. Europe's first World Surfing Reserve has seven world-class waves along its 4 km coastline: Pedra Branca, Reef, Ribeira d'Ilhas, Cave, Crazy Left, Coxos and São Lourenço that have been shaping and metamorphosing the personality of the region.
Most surf spots are on rocky bottoms, there are only a few places (Foz do Lizandro and S Julião) where the bottom is composed only of sand and usually these spots are more suitable for days with small waves due to their currents. The most famous and consistent wave in Ericeira is Ribeira d ́ilhas. It is also the most crowded one. Coxos is one of the best waves in Europe and Cave is one of the most dangerous waves in the world. The most suitable areas for beginners are Matadouro and Ribeira d’lhas on the right side (not on the main peak).
Surfing, which these days is at the crest of the wave, is undoubtedly and essentially a personal and individual experience. Surfing is a search for a more pleasant existence. It is an open window to freedom, a welcoming silence, and a later boiling of adventure. Surfing is a door without a key. It is an immense horizon beyond the curtains. It is what you are and what you once were. It is a yes and a no. It is a glass of wine on the table. It is the bohemian darkness of dawn. It is a collective embrace. It's the certainty of dawn on the road looking for the one. It is a love that doesn't die. The surf is Ericeira, and Ericeira is the surf. And that's why many people end up here.
This magical town has wonderful landscapes. Despite the excess construction having destroyed part of the landscape and some viewpoints, luckily there are still many places that allow us to contemplate the sea, nature and life in the town. Viewpoints are scattered throughout the village and in the surrounding area. In every corner near the ocean, we will find a magnificent and peaceful view.
Miradouro Sala das Visitas
Foz View Point
Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem
Pézinho de Nossa Senhora
Fonte Da Lua
Forte de Santa Susana
Miradouro de São Sebastião
Miradouro Ribeira d'Ilhas
Estacionamento Praia do Portinho Correia
Forte Mil Regos
Despite being under heavy construction, Ericeira is still surrounded by nature, on one side it is the ocean, on the other are fields and woods. There are still trails and paths to explore and enjoy the nature that surrounds the town. Of course, the best known are trails by the sea to contemplate the ocean, watch the waves and see the famous Ericeira sunset. But there are also many trails inland that deserve to be exposed. On days when the conditions are not favorable for surfing, it is always good to relax with a walk-through nature.
Track Ericeira Center - Foz do Lizandro
Track Ribeira – Coxos (One of the most beautiful trails in town)
Track - Foz - S. Julião (Along the river and finish/start by the ocean)
Track Sul – Ribeira
Coxos - S. Loureço Fort
Lizadro River Cross (On the low tide it is possible to cross the river on foot)
S Lourenço Fort – Beach (On low tide it is possible to go from the fort to the beach although you to do a bit of climb on rocks)
You can find almost anything you need in this small town.
Gas stations, barber shops, hairdressers, pet shops, bus terminals, mechanic garages, campervan parks, post office, tourism office and more.
Health and security services:
Ericeira is a peaceful and safe place, like almost any place in Portugal. However, sometimes accidents happen and we need to be ready for them.
Within a radius of less than 50 kms from Lisbon, Sintra and Azenhas do Mar, Ericeira is an epicenter with time to make anyone lose themselves in the relaxed, picturesque and fishing life. Here, the soul is renewed and life goes on.
The streets breathe surf and the atmosphere in Ericeira, smells of sea and waves. Becoming the ideal getaway for digital nomads who want to be part of the village's identity. Ericeira is perhaps the best piece of coastline in the old European continent for all lovers of sliding on the waves.
Ericeira is more than a land. It is a feeling. And maybe that is why people want to stay.
Learning to surf takes time. To put down roots or to feel at home, somewhere other than your own, takes time. And in Portugal there is time and as the slang says: "let time go by". There are open windows. And when the time comes, ask the time, how much time does the time have. Say that Ericeira's door is open.
The thing that everyone feels in Ericeira, comes from the Earth, it is telluric. It's almost magical. Especialy if you love the ocean.
A tale by the sea, where the sea is bluer.