A guide to Ericeira, one of Portugals most chill towns for surfers and backpackers

It was the last few weeks of our 2 year European adventure and we wanted to make sure we left Europe on a high.  We picked our favourite activity, surfing, our favourite country, Portugal and one of the most chill towns we could, Ericeira.

40 minutes drive up the coast from Lisbon, Ericeira. is one of the worlds surfing reserves and for good reason. The beaches are clean, the waves are epic and everyone in the area respects the ocean as they should. Jump in with me and let’s see what makes Ericeria one of the best spots for travel, surf and chill vibes…

Where to stay –

Aktion hostel – We stayed here for two weeks in a 4 bedroom dorm. The hostel itself is one of the nicest we’ve stayed and one of the cheapest too! It has a pool looking out to sea, a skate ramp, lazy hammocks, big BBQ area, huge kitchen and free breakfast. Every traveller knows that free breaky is total brownie points right?! A little out of town which was the only con, but we were more than happy to walk the 15minutes every day.

Chill in Ericeira Surf House – We would have picked this epic spot if it weren’t sold out. Close to the beach and comfortable looking rooms and facilities. It’s also smaller & closer to town than Aktion Hostel, so it would have been a little easier to get around and meet people too.

Surf Camps – Learn to surf, improve your skills or take the guided surf tours, surf camps definitely give you bang for your buck. Hostel & SurfCamp 55  and La Point seemed to be the favourites amongst other travellers we met. You go on daily lessons with qualified teachers and your mates from the hostel, there’s hostel dinners, yoga and lots of activities too. How epic!

Se7 Mares Guest House – We stayed here for 4 nights when we first arrived in Ericeira. It’s a nice quiet place, perfect for couples or small families that don’t want the overbearing “hostel, young people everywhere vibe”. Super close to town with free breaky too.

Vanlifers? Free camp! –  Though it’s not entirely kosher, when we living in our van in 2016, we free-camped a fair bit through Portugal, spending a night in Ericeira too! Park your van on one of the cliff top car parks and wake up to the sound of lapping waves and sunny blue skies. Make sure to pick up your rubbish and leave nature how you found it!

What to do –

Surf everyday all day

Well, this is an obvious one. There are SO many different spots to surf, it would be rude not to. From Foz de Lisandro to Riberia d’Ilhas and beyond, jump on the surf bus for 1 euro each and explore this surfing mecca.

It was in Ericeira that Leah decided it was time to learn to surf, so she organised some lessons. She started with the beginner lessons at SurfRiders then moved to the guys at 3 Surfers. Both companies made it super fun but also pushed Leah hard to improve her surfing.

Walk the dirt track to visit the rock pools

Catch the beach bus to Praia de Riberia d’Ilhas and head north from the beach, up the dirt track towards Coxos. From the top of the cliff you look out over the Atlantic Ocean and can see the swell rolling on in.

Continue walking about 15mins and you’ll come to a rope that leads down to the waters edge. This is actually pretty hard to find and can only be done on low tide, but walk for about 15min until you can see a car park up ahead…that’s when you know the rope is near. Scale the cliff using the rope and ladder and make your way to the rock pools below. Spend the afternoon searching for life in the pools, taking photos and chilling in the sun.

Enjoy some fresh local seafood
Being a Fishermans village, trust me, there is fresh seafood EVERYWHERE. Our accom at Aktion hostel had a pretty sweet BBQ pit and what better way to eat freshly caught, local fish, than slapping it on the barbey.  We brought the fish from the local markets with potatoes and parsley & Leah got in the kitchen to make up a salad. YUM.

Keen on some restaurants? The seafood in the restaurants had us drooling too, try Brisa and Mar a Vista for simple seafood, done well with a local vibe.

Day trip to visit Sintra and Pena Palace

We caught an Uber from Ericeira for 20 euros. 1 hour later we were in Sintra. Built in the 19th century, Sintra is an incredible city in Portugal full of colourful palaces and amazing gardens.

Make sure you visit the amazing Pena Palace, an absolute highlight for us! Also the Castle of Moors and Quinta da Regaleira are worth exploring too. Make sure you get to Pena palace by 8:30am, buy your tickets online and start queuing right away as it gets super busy. We were first in the gates at 9:30am and had already seen the palace by 11am (when most people started to arrive.) Coming soon…a Sintra photo diary because there are just too many photos to post!!

Cruise around the town centre and shops

Wandering through the town centre is the perfect lazy afternoon activity. There are a lot of boutique stores, surf shops, tourist stands, art shops and markets scattered around the place. It was really cool to see a lot of the surf shops taking on their role to be more sustainable. Many of them sold recycled board bags, bikinis and board shorts, reusable drink bottles, eco sunblock and zinc and a lot of other cool items to help consumers think more sustainably.

Sit along the clifftops by day or by night

Wandering along the clifftops by day, watching the surfers down below was epic. As was the sunset vibes at night. Park up with a cider in hand and watch world go by.

Party time

Are you a backpacker who loves a good party? Yeah…us too. Start your night at Tubo with every other backpacker in Ericeria and when the night gets a little rowdy, head to Discoteca and dance the night away. Another cool bar for a cocktail or 5 is Adega Bar 1987 which seemed to have a more local/expat vibe, with people spilling over into the streets and a pumping live band inside.

Where to eat –

We love to eat and enjoy a good coffee so here’s a list of our favourites:

  • Nalu Bowls – for the best smoothie bowl in town. Period
  • Barbatana Surf&Deli – right down on Foz de Lisandro beach. Cool vibes and a place to chill between surfs.
  • Uni Sushi Restaurant – if you’re keen on some dope sushi
  • Calavera – epic mexican restaurant and tequila bar
  • GiG (Green is Good) – good coffee and a good after surf breaky that’s healthy too
  • Sunset Bamboo Bar – smoothies, coffee, breaky or lunch in the main square
  • Brunch Me – really cool interior and a unique vibe with yum breaky, lunch or dinner
  • The Mill – best coffee, treats, pastries and more

Well team, I hope if you’re headed to Ericeira soon, this gives you the low down on how to have an epic trip!

Anything we’ve missed in here? Let us know!

Shaka,
Bryn | FREE & ADDICTED

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  • About to start planning my 2020 Euro trip. Just had a weekend getaway in Lisbon and of course wasn’t enough! Hoping for vanlife and road trip the coast of portugal next year, and after reading about this little gem, its on the list! Love your work team! Time to read some more of your blog! (shakka hand symbol)