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 too far from
Lisbon to find great surfing spots, just head up the West Coast and
within a few hours, you’ll reach the seaside towns of Ericeira and
Even if you don’t surf, you can come here to relax by
the beach, enjoy a platter of fresh seafood and relish the neverending
Both Ericeira and Peniche are old fishing ports, but the atmosphere and the sights around them are very different.
Ericeira 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 centre 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 snorkelling and scuba diving.
is a guide of 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.
Things To Do In Ericeira
Explore Ericeira’s Beaches
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 which 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 it’s among the best places to surf in Europe.
Foz do Lizandro is the largest beach in Ericeira, 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
Take a Surf Lesson
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 the visit. 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 a train 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.
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 Ouriceira which takes place
every year around 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
kinds, 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
How to get from Lisbon to Ericeira
Even if you don’t have a car, it’s easy to get from Lisbon to Ericeira. There’s a bus operated by the Mafrense company that departs 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. This bus also passes 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.
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 June to September due to
the rough seas. However, it’s sometimes possible to travel offseason
with a private boat, depending on the weather conditions.
Tour the beaches
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 favourite among surfers which
nicknamed it the Supertubos Beach since they can often catch tube waves
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.
There are many restaurants in Peniche, mostly 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.
Open since 2016,
Silver Coast is a small beach house located near Baleal. Every room
features a view of the sea and a terrace where guests can relax after a
busy day of surfing. The hotel was made for surfers and includes storage
units to dry wetsuits and surfboards. Breakfast is included, and there
are several cafés and restaurants nearby, where you can grab a meal
throughout the day.
How to get from Lisbon to Peniche
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.