A laid-back hippy town on the west coast of Portugal, Ericeira is an underrated backpacker destination that you don’t want to skip. Its welcoming atmosphere, charming Portuguese baroque architecture, and relaxing energy are just a few of the things that make this town magnetic. Ericeira is best known for being a fishing town and the only Surf Reserve in Europe. Although the waves are what attract many visitors, Ericeira offers far more than just surfing. I visited Ericeira and was captivated by how special the town was – the people, the hostel I stayed at, and the epic views – all of which contributed to extending my stay. I highly recommend visiting Ericeira if you have a longing for the beach and all-around good vibes (think a European Tamarindo!). Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about backpacking in Ericeira, Portugal.
How to get to Ericeira
Ericeira is conveniently located near Lisbon and Porto and can be accessed easily by bus.
You can catch a direct bus from Lisbon to Ericeira that takes around 1 hour and only costs 7 euros. Buses leave Lisbon frequently which allows for flexibility, especially if you want to spend time exploring the city. Once you arrive in Ericeira, the town centre is a 10-minute walk from the bus station.
There are no direct connections from Porto to Ericeira, but you can take the bus or train to Lisbon and catch the bus from there. If you have a car, the easiest way to get to Ericeira from Porto is to drive which takes 3 hours.
Hostels in Ericeira
Ericeira is a backpacker’s dream when it comes to hostels. Unlike other small towns with limited hostel options, there are several hostels here for all budgets. Initially, I had a hard time choosing which hostel to stay at, but after reading many reviews went with Surfers Den Ericeira.
This hostel was AMAZING and felt like beach town summer camp. It’s steps from the town centre, has a large outdoor area with a BBQ (including a little pool), and a free breakfast. But what makes this hostel stand out is its social atmosphere. The staff makes it incredibly easy to meet other travelers and cultivates a community-like atmosphere. Every day, there is a whiteboard with the group activity for the evening written on it, which when I was there included sunset drinks and a pizza night at a restaurant. The hostel itself isn’t overly large which also helps with meeting people. Surfers Den Ericeira isn’t just for surfers, but it does offer surf lessons through its surf camp and board rentals.
If you’re the type of backpacker who prefers more of a boutique style-hostel or need an environment that is suitable for remote working, you may want to check out Selina Boavista Ericeira & Surf School which is a bit quieter and updated.
Getting Around Ericeira
Ericeira is small enough that you can navigate it on foot. Comfy walking shoes are essential in this town as you’ll mainly be walking on cobblestones and sometimes hilly terrain. Because the town is cliffside, you can also expect to be climbing lots of stairs if you go down to the beaches.
Activities in Ericeira
Without a doubt, surfing is the main activity in Ericeira, but in general, the town is the perfect place to just relax. Additional water activities in the area include kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and boat tours. If you’re a yogi, there are several yoga studios and even some hostels that offer classes. Those into skateboarding will want to check out Boardriders for its impressive skate park, and you can also watch from the terrace above if you don’t want to skate.
There are multiple beaches within the town centre, in addition to cute shops with well-known activewear brands and of course, locally made products. Despite its size, there are tons of narrow streets. I found myself coming across new streets every day so there was always something new to see.
While there is lots to do in the town centre, you don’t want to miss nearby sights. A car isn’t necessary to reach these places, you just need to be okay with longer walks. South of Ericeira is the beach, Praia da Foz do Lizandro, which has a lovely boardwalk lined with cafes and bars. It’s a 40-minute walk from Ericeira’s centre and is worth visiting for a beach day. North of Ericeira’s town is the beach, Ribeira d’Ilhas, that sits in a valley between high cliffs. This beach is beautiful and has the quintessential cliff views that everyone seeks when visiting Portugal. It is a popular beach for surfing that is appropriate for all skill levels, but if you don’t want to catch waves, it’s pretty cool to sit and watch the surfers – especially on days when the waves are huge.
Where to eat in Ericeira
One of my favourite parts about Ericeira was the food. There is no lack of small restaurants and cafes around that serve a variety of cuisines. This isn’t the type of place that is full of high-end restaurants, so eating out is reasonably affordable. It is also a vegetarian and vegan-friendly town with plenty of health food options.
Some of my favourite places to eat include:
1. dos Ferreiros 2
Tv. Misericórdia 16
Quiosque do Sul – Praça dos Navegantes – 2655-320
If you prefer grab-and-go style meals or want to cook in your hostel, there are little supermarkets throughout town and a large grocery store within a ten-minute walk from the town’s centre.
Nightlife in Ericeira
The best way to describe the nightlife in Ericeira is chill and casual, but it’s by no means lacking fun. Little bars can be found throughout town that have everything from DJs to live bands, plus many bars have happy hour specials. Boardriders is a popular sunset spot where people of all ages go to hang out, skateboard, and enjoy the bar inside the shop – it’s also a great place to meet other backpackers. Ultimately, if you are staying at a social hostel, you’ll find yourself in a group being led by someone who knows the best (and cheapest) places to go out. And since the town is so small, you’ll constantly be running into people you’ve seen out and about.
We hope this guide will help you plan the ultimate backpacking trip to Ericeira. Be sure to let us know in the comments if you have any tips for visiting Ericeira and if there are other spots in the area that travellers shouldn’t miss! Cheers!
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