Things To Do In Ericeira, Peniche & Mafra
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.
Enjoy the views at Miradouro Ribeira d'Ilhas
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!
Wander around the town centre
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.
Day Trip To Mafra
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
Map For Mafra and Ericeira Day Tour