Surf-lovers from around the world come to Portugal for a taste of its
pristine beaches and massive waves. You don't need to go far from
Lisbon to find good surfing spots. Just head up the West Coast, and
within a few hours, you'll reach the seaside towns of Ericeira and
Peniche. Even if you don't surf, you can come here to relax by the
beach, enjoy a platter of fresh seafood, and relish the never-ending
Both Ericeira and Peniche are old fishing ports, but the atmosphere and the sights around them are very different.
is a lively seaside town dotted with whitewashed cottages trimmed in
blue. Many Lisbon locals head here in the summer, but even off-season,
this town attracts a generous crowd of surfers. It's a World Surfing
Reserve, so most businesses gear to surfers, from surf schools to
hotels. In the middle of it all is the picturesque town center with
cobbled streets lined with cafés and bars.
Peniche, in comparison, has a more shabby look, with its active port and low-key atmosphere, which hasn't changed much with the rise of tourism. The town sits on a rugged headland surrounded by stunning beaches, renowned among surfers for its tube waves. Not far from the coast is the Berlengas Archipelago, a nature reserve ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Below is a guide to what to do in Ericeira and Peniche. It includes tips on where to eat, where to stay, and how to get there from Lisbon, so you can start planning your day trip today.
The best thing to do in Ericeira is to hang out by the beach. There are many beaches in the area, so it can be hard to choose one. Near the centre, you’ll find Praia dos Pescadores, a small beach enclosed by cliffs that shelter visitors from the wind. From here, you can walk north towards Praia do Norte and Praia do Sebastião, or south towards Praia do Sul. If you go to Praia do Sebastião, make sure to visit the Capela, a tiny white chapel above the beach with a tiled-covered interior. These four beaches offer pretty moderate waves, so they’re ideal for swimming.
The best beaches for surfing are
further out. These are Ribeira d’Ilhas (2km north), Foz do Lizandro
(3km south) and São Lourenço (7km north). The first one is famous for
its powerful waves, and is among the best places to surf in Europe.
Foz do Lizandro is the largest beach in Ericeira, but it’s slightly calmer
as it has a small river flowing in between. Finally, there’s São
Lourenço, another long sandy stretch located near a variety of seafood
Ericeira is one of the best places to surf in Portugal. Even if you
don’t know how to surf, numerous surf schools around the area offer
lessons for beginners. For more experienced surfers, there are shops
where you can buy or rent wetsuits and boards. A group lesson costs on
average €30, but if you stay a little longer, you can book week-long
packages for about €130.
After touring the beaches in the centre, head to the Miradouro Ribeira
d’Ilhas. From this spectacular vantage point, you can capture the ocean
and the beach of Ribeira d’Ilhas below. It’s a 10-minute drive from the
centre or around 40 minutes walk if you’re up for the trek. You can
stand here watching the surfers, but make sure to bring a jacket because
it gets windy out here.
End the day strolling through Ericeira’s town centre. Get lost in the
maze of narrow streets and pass by the Praça da República, a tree-lined
square surrounded by cafés and shops. Also known as Jogo da Bola, this
is a lively meeting spot during the summer, hosting live music concerts.
Around the area are also several seafood restaurants and trendy bars
where you can stop for a drink, like Jukebox or Hemingway’s.
Near Ericeira, there’s a small town called Mafra which is worth visiting. The main attraction here is the Palácio Nacional de Mafra, an 18th-century palace featuring more than 1000 rooms. There’s a hunting room filled with antlers, a gaming room with billiard tables, and many others decorated with frescoed ceilings and lavish furniture. But the most memorable room of all is the library, which contains around 36,000 book volumes. Attached to the palace is a basilica featuring one of the biggest collections of bells in the world.
Nearby, you’ll find the Tapada de Mafra, a former hunting ground which
is still home to a variety of animals like the red deer and wild boar.
There are several hiking trails across the park, ranging from 4km to
9km, which allow you to spot some of these creatures. If you prefer
something more relaxed, you can do an eco car tour instead. You can even
spend the night here, as there’s a small guesthouse located amid the
park. The best way to get here is by car, as few buses pass through the
Ericeira is brimming with seafood restaurants. If you’re staying
within the centre, you can grab a meal at Mar d’Areia or Mar à Vista.
d’Areia is a family-run restaurant located near Ericeira’s municipal
market. Here fish is the star of the menu. From sardines to seabass and
golden bream, you get whatever is fresh.
At Mar à Vista, you’ll
find more shellfish. It’s the place to try lobster, crab or delicious
starters like garlic shrimp and clams.
For a meal overlooking the ocean, you can try the César Marisqueira, and for a quick snack, Tik Tapas is a great choice.
In Ericeira, it’s typical to eat ouriços (sea urchins). Restaurants will often serve this delicacy between October and April. There’s even a festival dedicated to this ingredient called Festival do Ouriço do Mar, which takes place every year around March/April.
Where to stay in Ericeira
To make the most of your stay in Ericeira and its beaches, it’s worth
spending a few days here. We recommend booking a room at the Ericeira
Soul Guest House or the Eco Soul Ericeira Guesthouse.
steps away from Praia dos Pescadores, the Ericeira Soul Guest House is
one of the oldest houses in town. Before it became a guesthouse, it was a
workshop where the owner’s grandfather built wooden boats for the local
fishermen. Some rooms offer ocean views, while others face the outdoor
pool. There’s also a bar on-site, where you can grab a drink at the end
of the day.
Eco Soul is a more secluded guest house, located
near Foz do Lizandro. There are only six rooms here, divided into two sections: the Blue Feelings and the Green Feelings. The first one features
ocean views, while the second overlooks the Sintra Mountains. During
their stay, guests can enjoy breakfast and watch the sunset on the
Even if you don’t have a car, it’s easy to get from Lisbon to Ericeira. There are several buses operated by Carris Metropolitana that depart from the Campo Grande terminal, which is a station on the green and yellow metro line. From Campo Grande, the journey takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Tickets cost about €8 per person, and you can find the bus schedules here. Most buses usually pass through Mafra, so you can always stop there first on your way to Ericeira.
Things To Do In Peniche
Discover the Fortress of Peniche
Jutting out into the ocean, the fortress of Peniche is one of the town’s main historical landmarks. It dates back to the 17th century and later served as a political prison during Portugal’s dictatorship era. From the top of the fortress, you can capture the sea and boats resting in the nearby harbour. There’s also a small museum inside, which explains the region’s history and fishing traditions. The fortress is temporarily closed, but it’s still worth admiring it from the outside.
From the Peniche harbour, you can hop on a boat to the Berlengas
Islands, a natural reserve amid crystal clear waters. Although it’s a
set of islands, you can only visit Berlenga Grande. In this remote
island, you’ll find tiny cove beaches, a restaurant and an imposing
17th-century fort connected by a narrow bridge. Once you get to the
island, there are many activities you can do, from hiking to
birdwatching and snorkelling. You can even have a scuba diving lesson
here, but you need to book it in advance.
If you decide to
spend the night on the island, there are three options. You can stay at
the hostel inside the fort, at a campsite, but the most comfortable
option is to book a room at Mesa da Ilha.
Note: The ferry boat
from Peniche to Berlenga Grande only runs from mid-May to September due to
the rough seas. However, it’s sometimes possible to travel offseason
with a private boat, depending on the weather conditions.
Peniche is famous for its wild coast of beaches. The strong waves attract numerous surfers throughout the year, but there's also room to relax.
The most popular beaches in Peniche are Praia da Gamboa, Praia do Medão, and Praia do Baleal. The first one is a quiet beach surrounded by low sandy dunes. Praia do Medão is a favorite among surfers who nicknamed it the Supertubos Beach, since they can often catch tube waves here.
If there’s one place you should visit in Peniche, it’s Cabo Carvoeiro. Set on the western end of Peniche, this cape provides incredible views of the ocean and the Berlengas Islands on a clear day. Around the headland, you’ll find a series of karst formations and a boulder standing in the middle of the sea which looks like a ship, known as Nau dos Corvos (Ship of Crows). It’s a great spot to watch the sunset.
Both Ericeira and
Peniche offer a great range of activities for kids. In the summer, you
can take advantage of the beaches. Praia do Sul and Foz do Lizandro in
Ericeira are among the best options for families. It’s also worth
exploring the town centre with its narrow cobblestone streets and
colourful houses. Along the waterfront is Santa Marta Park, which offers
a playground for the little ones.
In Peniche, you can explore
Praia do Baleal. This 4km-beach is split into two sides. The north side
is ideal for surfers, while the south is more sheltered. If you’re
looking to surf, many local surf schools offer lessons for the whole
family. Another fun activity is to hop on a boat to Berlenga Island, a
small nature reserve that is an ideal spot for snorkelling and scuba
diving. There are also a few trails that you can follow on foot.
places worth visiting include the Megacampo, a large adventure park
offering paintball, laser tag and inflatables; Aldeia Típica José
Franco, a miniature village made by a local artist; and the Tapada de
Mafra, a natural park home to deers and wild boar. There are many hiking
trails here, but if you don’t fancy walking, there’s also an eco-car
The best time
to visit Ericeira and Peniche is around spring or summer. The weather is
warm around this time, with temperatures ranging between 24ºC and 26ºC
in Ericeira and slightly lower in Peniche. You can spend most of your
time at the beach, swimming or learning how to surf. Summer is the
perfect time for beginner surfers, as the waves tend to be smaller. If
you already have some experience, you can come a bit later in the year,
like September or October.
There are many restaurants in Peniche, mainly focusing on seafood.
Near the centre, you can grab a meal at Tasca do Joel or Marisqueira
Mirandum. The first one has been a meeting spot for local fishermen
since 1982. Today it’s one of Peniche’s most popular restaurants. It has
a cosy atmosphere and serves not only fish, but a couple of meat options
too. Marisqueira Mirandum, on the other hand, wows visitors with its
selection of fresh seafood. Make sure to reserve ahead to guarantee a
If you pass by Baleal, head to Taberna do Ganhão, a
simple tavern decorated with light wood and checkered tablecloths. It
used to be a grocery shop, but now it serves delicious seafood dishes
like octopus and tuna steak, as well as small petiscos to share. Sit
by the window, and you’ll get a view of the beach.
same area, but further from the coast, is the Cantina de Ferrel, a
tiny Italian restaurant which offers a selection of homemade pasta and
Where to stay in Peniche
You can easily see Peniche in one day, but if you want to spend some
time surfing, you should stay a few nights here. We suggest booking a
room at MH Peniche or the Silver Coast Beach Residence.
near Praia da Gamboa, MH Peniche is a modern hotel featuring 120 rooms,
all with a private balcony. It has a panoramic restaurant with ocean
views, which serves traditional dishes with a contemporary twist.
There’s also a gym and a spa area, which includes a Turkish bath, sauna
and jacuzzi. The outdoor pool is open from June to September, but you
can enjoy the indoor pool all year round.
Nestled within 200 meters of Baleal North Beach, Casa das Marés 2 is a recently renovated aparthotel offering comfortable rooms and a private beach area. Located on the picturesque island of Baleal, just north of Peniche, this family-friendly accommodation is an ideal retreat for relaxation or pursuing activities such as diving, surfing, kite surfing, or fishing, providing a perfect environment for holidays and weekends year-round.
You can drive from Lisbon to Peniche or get a bus from the Sete Rios station, which is near the city’s zoo. From there, it takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach Peniche. It costs about €8 each way, and you can check the schedules or buy tickets online here.
Festivals in Ericeira & Peniche
Carnival (Peniche): Peniche celebrates carnival around February or March
with a big parade starting at the marina and finishing at the Avenida
do Porto da Pesca. The festivities end with the Enterro do Bacalhau, a
burying of a doll that symbolises the end of carnival.
Festival do Ouriço-do-Mar (Ericeira): Sea urchin (ouriço-do-mar) is
somewhat of a delicacy in Ericeira. The town has dedicated an entire
festival to this fine ingredient held around March or April, which
includes show cookings and tastings around local restaurants.
Festa de Peniche em Honra de Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem (Peniche): From
late July to early August, Peniche hosts a variety of events in honour
of Our Lady of Good Voyage, the patron saint of fishermen. The
festivities include a boat procession, concerts and fireworks.
Festival do Pão (Mafra): Mafra is renowned for its traditional bread known as pão de mafra. Every year around July, the town organises this lively festival at Jardim do Cerco, which welcomes bread sellers, artisans and musicians.