We happened upon Ericeira simply because there was lack of affordable beach front hotels near Lisbon. Ericeira Soul Guesthouse was the last affordable one, so we booked it and instead planned our days around the location. Honestly, I did not know anything about this seaside village before our trip, other than it has a lot of surf breaks. I had only known about Nazare, Peniche, and Algarve. Little did I know I’d end up loving this place.
Ericeira Soul Guesthouse
As I have said, we chose this hotel simply because it was the most affordable one when I was searching for a place to stay. But we definitely loved it. First of all, it was very beautiful and felt like a classy resort; I don’t even know why they call it a guesthouse. Secondly, our hosts André and Filipa were the most amazing people. They gave us suggestions on where to go and eat, helped us arrange surfing lessons, and they were just really friendly and accommodating. I made a short blog post/ review for the guesthouse here.
We missed to eat seafood in this seaside town because it seemed like the seafood place suggestions we were given were either closed or full as Ericeira is a popular destination for European tourists. Expect everywhere to be full on lunch and dinner times; make reservations if needed.
I was getting tired of the usual sandwich meals back in France, so a sandwich was the last thing on my mind. But then I met the ‘Prego’, which is a steak sandwich in different varieties. One bite and I was completely hooked. We even ordered extra. Drinks are cheap here, too. Our sangria was about two euros a glass while a bottle of wine is only six euros.
Cocktails are cheap and they have a happy hour window. Le hubby fell in love with the caipirinhas. People usually come here for pre-meal aperitifs but we tried their curry quesadilla and it was a good enough meal.
A Mexican joint serving good burritos and tacos.
Some places that were recommended but we never made it –
GIG (Green is Good) – a cafe serving vegetarian food (although not exclusively).
Hemingway’s – bar and drinks place. The must ‘see’, we were told, was the bar owner.
Mar D’Areia – an old fashioned seafood place run by a local family.
See and Do
Ericeira is a surf reserve, so the surfing is world class. We did our surf lessons with Liquid Earth Adventure Ericeira, as organized by our guesthouse. You can also visit the surf museum (yes, they have a museum dedicated for surfing!) to learn more about where the surf breaks in the area are, how waves are generated, as well as the environment around Ericeira (fortunately, no sharks were featured). To read about surf reserves, click on this link.
Another thing we did not get to do was visit the Palace of Mafra because it was closed when we went. I was dying to see one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Mafra is a short drive from Ericeira but I’m sure one of the public buses go there.
Hang out at the different beaches
Our guesthouse was near two beaches (they were separated by the fishing port) although there are a lot of beaches along the entire coastline. The one in front of us is called Praia dos Pescadores and is littered with sunbathers, kids playing football and volleyball, and some brave souls swimming. Why brave? The water is really ice cold. Apparently, this is all year round! The hubby even found a sign that said “Sorry, the water is 17-20 degrees Celsius all the year”.
Most shops cater to the sun-seeker tourists, so there are mainstream stores like Billabong (since Ericeira is a surf destination) but the stores are mostly small and locally-owned. Some sell souvenirs in the form of tiles, photos, postcards, and beach-themed items, but we also discovered this shop that sold woven bags. I did not get an item there even if I was looking for one since I figured I could buy the bag in the Philippines instead.
Visit small museums and chapels, see locals, discover a hidden restaurant, or just enjoy the charm of this village. There are so many places that can serve as the perfect Instagram shot.
Our trip to Ericeira was definitely short but it was the prefect excuse to come back for the next year. Hubby and I look forward to trying new restaurants, more surfing, and just soaking up on that Ericeira love.