Ericeira’s history goes way back in time, somewhere only our imagination can reach.
And when we’re lacking imagination we seek inspiration in loco. That is why we come back here over and over again. We can easily place Ericeira in the top of the list of Portuguese villages fronting the ocean, to check at least once in a lifetime. It is hard to believe it doesn’t have the tourist syndrome, the reason why its authenticity is still well-preserved.
Why is it so enchanting? Because, as the title says, Ericeira is blue, in the way it instills a sense of tranquility and peace the moment you arrive. The blue ocean lying in front of your eyes, the blue sky when you raise your head and the blue patterns, blue tiles, blue strips, blue walls that you stumble upon during your walk across the city and by the beach.
And now some history…
This front sea village has always played an important role to the region. It is believed to have been an important harbor for the Phoenicians, and for most of the civilizations that followed. The importance of this port lasted until the late 19th century when the main connection roads in the country started to flourish.
The name of the city comes from the Portuguese word ouriço which stands for two animals, hedgehog (ouriço caixeiro) and sea urchin (ouriço-do-mar). So Ericeira would derive from Ouriçeira – the place of ouriços. Being right by the ocean, one would think that the sea urchins are the reason for this, but a few years ago an ancient coat of arms was found with the drawing of a hedgehog.
Over time Ericeira has met many façades, a fisherman village, a harbor town and today a holiday resort and surfer paradise. It has been the stage for some important moments in the Portuguese history. It was in fact here that the last Portuguese king, D. Manuel II stepped on Portuguese soil, on October 5, 1910, when he embarked for his exile in the UK.
For the surfers, the town is one of best places to practice the sport, being well known as the surf village, with many schools offering a wide range of lessons (from surf to longboard, body board, kitesurf, etc.) and also where the national surf championship takes place. If you’re a beginner and need a helping hand here are some schools:
We’ve heard it is a one of a kind experience! The sea here is much more unquiet with restless waves due to the unstable coast weather, the reason why it is considered the place to surf for the pros. This is also to say that you should be cautious when you enter the water.
Leaving aside the fact that the village is tremendously beautiful, it has a wide range of beaches to choose from that we also list in our guide to some of the best beaches in Portugal. Yet, there are quite a few left to discover.
What about the food?
We can assure the food in Ericeira is on everyone’s lips all around the country. Being still a fishing area, naturally, a wide variety of fresh fish is what you’ll find, as well as many recipes like fish stews with pasta or rice.
However, the most authentic dish of Ericeira is what the locals call Canêja de Infundice, a mysterious plate that you can’t find in any restaurant. Its preparation takes between one to two weeks. The fish (dogfish) is cleaned with water from the ocean and then cut in fillets. Then it is salted and wrapped in linen and let to rest for the next 15-20 days. Some people regularly open the linen again and repeat the process. At then end, it is boiled and served along with boiled potatoes. They say that only strong beardy man can eat it. We have not tried it, but we’re eager to immerse ourselves in this experience soon. When we do we’ll let you know, pinky promise! 🙂
As for the sweet tooth, there is no place in Portugal, as you might know already, that does not have a local pastry. In Ericeira you can find among other delicacies, the ouriços, delicious small cake made of almonds, and areias, biscuits made of cinnamon and butter. #LoveInMyTummy
And to close this post convincingly, we leave these photos from our most recent escape to Ericeira. It was a late autumn day with 25 degrees when we had the privilege to assist one of the most beautiful sunsets in Portugal so far. That is what we can call sheer escapism. Everyone joined in. We guarantee it won’t be difficult to catch such sunsets in Ericeira again :).
How to get to Ericeira from Lisbon
Where to stay
Hotel Vila Galé Ericeira right by the ocean
Villa Ana Margarita next to Matadouro beach
Beach house in Ericeira on AirBnb
Upper floor in a duplex apartment on AirBnb
…and for the surf lovers: