The Ultimate Guide to Ericeira Surf

by Asia Kaczmarczyk

At the centre of a designated world surfing reserve, this charming town has plenty up its sleeve. Read on for a guide to Ericeira surf spots, which string from long beachfronts for beginners all the way to rocky reefs suited to pros.

Surfing in Ericeira at a glance

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

The good:

  • A huge variety of beach breaks and reef breaks.
  • Prevailing offshore winds.
  • Beautiful surrounding coastline.
  • A fun surf town with plenty of atmosphere.

The bad:

  • Some pollution in the water after heavy rain.
  • Swell dips in the summer.
  • A little expensive.

This is a part of our greater guide to surfing Portugal

What you’ll find in this guide

An introduction to Ericeira surf

Ericeira surf

An official Save the Waves reserve, Ericeira is up there with the very cream de la crème of Portuguese surf. The spots are spread over a series of bays and long beaches that all front the Atlantic. Some are swell magnets. Others are protected. They range from sand-bottomed beginner rollers like the ones at Foz do Lizandro to rugged reefs at the wedges of Praia do Sul.

With a whopping 10 recognized spots packed into under 10 miles of coastline, you’re never likely to be short on places to go. What’s more, the reliability is unbelievable. Stats show that groundswells account for over 55% of the wave days here, meaning you shouldn’t have to contend with blown-out frames or bad conditions too much of the time.

The dominant swell direction swings from SW to NW. Prevailing easterly winds push plenty of offshore systems through – you can see it in the spray coming off the waves down on Ribeira D’Ilhas! Oh, and there’s a super-chilled surfer vibe to the town itself. Expect live-music places, great bakeries, and some brilliant surf schools and surf camps.

Where to surf in Ericeira?

Ericeira has loads of surf! This isn’t a single-beach town where the line-up is crammed into a solitary bay. There are more than 10 separate places to head. Each has its own unique wave, whether that’s a curling Atlantic barrel section or a peaky sand break that’s ripe for a little ripping.

A few of the most popular options are listed below. We’ve divided them into north and south waves. That’s a good way of doing things because they northern Ericeira surf breaks tend to be harder and more remote. The southern ones lean towards first-timers and have better access to the old town.

Surf spots in south Ericeira

Foz do Lizandro

Calling all beginners, Foz do Lizandro is the place to go! This handsome cove between the river mouth and the cliffs is known for its tame swells. It’s got a sand bottom, so there’s no worries about riding into any rock. Works best on a medium to low tide, as the retreating water expands the plane of the wave. Changes daily thanks to the movements of the estuary sandbars. Expect some flat, fat days with low swells. Sometimes, you’ll catch Lizandro showcasing a cracking left-hander that can hold up to 8 feet!

Praia do Sul

Beginners looking to graduate from Lizandro’s lazy lefts and rights should put Praia do Sul in their crosshairs. A typical southern Ericeira surf break, it’s neat and nice with glassy waters. Everything breaks over a sand bottom. There are peaks that move both directions. They offer rides that can extend as much as 100 metres across the bay.

Sao Juliao

When the swell dips in summertime and other southern beaches are looking positively serene, there’s a chance you’ll catch a few great waves in Sao Juliao. In fact, it’s the swell magnet of Ericeira. A classic beach break, you’ll catch loads of peaks extending down a large length of Portuguese golden sand. When things do start picking up, Sao Juliao can suffer from heavy closeouts.

Surf spots in north Ericeira

Praia da Empa

One of the first waves you’ll encounter as you head north out of Ericeira town is the speedy reef of Praia da Empa. There’s hardly a speck of sand between the rocky cliffs and the ocean here, so watch out for exposed rocks. Accessible on mid to high tides for a zippy, interior-tube right that’s sure to get the adrenaline pumping. Leave it to the pros!

Ribeira D’Ilhas

The go-to arena for surf competitions in Ericeira for its reliable swells, Ribeira D’Ilhas almost always has something on offer. It’s on the northernmost edge of Ericeira, running under high cliffs at the end of a dusty track. Where the ocean meets the land, it rolls over a series of concealed reefs. They sculpt the NW currents into a lovely, long right hander. There’s also an outer section (harder) that falls off right-to-left.


On days when Coxos is really pumping, it can feel like the full punch of the Atlantic is forced into its tubing right-handers. Big barrels are the name of the game. They wedge up and roll quickly over jagged reefs that are infested with urchins (boots are a must). Spy on how the locals paddle in and out before you even attempt to get in the water – it’s something of an art. Experts only.

Sao Lourenco

Push out even further north that Ribeira and you’ll come to the rocky cove of Sao Lourenco. A gold-sand beach opens onto what some consider to be the some of the finest big-wave sets in the country. On large swells, this one’s a playground for the XXL crowd with their sights set on Nazare. When things aren’t pumping so much, you can expect the right-hand reef to generate some rides that top 150 meters in length. There might be zero crowds but it’s only really for experts.

What we’d take on a surf trip to Portugal’s west coast

Wetsuits (men):

  • [WINTER – October to March] Billabong 4/3 Revolution Chest Zip | Eco-friendly thanks to Superlight Foam upcycling tech but still with the performance of a high-end steamer, this 4/3 is a cracker for 2021 in Portugal.
  • [SUMMER – April to September] C-Skins Session 3/2 | C-Skins have really impressed in the last few seasons and the 3/2 Session was our go-to for summer surfs in the Algarve last year. it doesn’t Dissapoint.

Wetsuits (women):

  • [WINTER – October to March] C-Skins Solace 4/3 | The blind-stitched seams reduce flushing on more hardcore days up the PT coast in this pretty impressive suit. Thick enough for anything between November and March most years.
  • [SUMMER – April to September] Rip Curl 4​/3 Flashbomb Steamer Wetsuit | A classic 3/2 Rip Curl steamer with the height of quality. Nothing entry-level here – it’s got that groundbreaking RC E6 tech. Awesome suit.

Where to stay for surfing in Ericeira

The ever-growing popularity of Ericeira surf has brought more and more surf schools and surf hostels to this town. But before the waves hit the headlines, Ericeira was a popular retreat for Lisbon locals looking for a bit of Atlantic breeze and sun.

The result? There are all sorts of places to stay here. They go from sleek five-star resorts with stunning views of the ocean to low-cost surfer digs just steps from the most popular breaks. A few options we have loved in the past include…

Lapoint Surf Camp Ericeira ($$)

Just a mention of the name Lapoint Surf Camp Ericeira is usually enough to get goose bumps rising on any surfer’s neck. One of the most quintessential players in the surf camp industry, these guys offer the fully fledged wave holiday experience. Vibes are awesome, with loads of other surfers to chill with after your session. The style is lush, with chic interiors that spill onto an outdoor area with a pool and poolside deck. It’s our top pick in the region.

Vila Gale Ericeira ($$$)

Best for: Being pampered on your surf trip!

The plush Vila Gale Ericeira spreads over a plinth of salt-washed rocks just outside of the Praia dos Pescadores bay. It’s one of the grandest landmarks of the town, with regal doubles that overlook the Atlantic. And when you really want to feel like a jet setter? Hit the pool – it’s literally metres away from where the waves roll in!

Ericeira Soul Guesthouse ($$)

Best for: Affordability with style

This beautifully chic and modern aparthotel puts you smack back in the middle of Ericeira. The harbourside and pretty Praia dos Pescadores is right out front, while the surf spots are just to the north and south. However, when you lose from being a little further from the breaks, you gain in style. Doubles are brimming with organic woods and soothing tones of white. There are lovely walk-in showers. And just check out that breezy pool area with its sunbeds. Post surf chill, anyone?

Chill in Ericeira Surf House ($-$$)

Best for: Meeting other surfers

If you’re after that classic Portuguese surf camp experience, you’ve found it at the Chill In. With a mix of bright and colourful doubles and dorms, it’s usually all easy on the wallet and generous on the good vibes. A 24-hour reception helps you organise everything from surf lessons to yoga sessions. Oh, and everyone meets everyone. It’s pretty cool.

Hostel & Surfcamp 55 ($)

Best for: Saving cash and easy board rentals

Shared kitchen? Check. Bike rental? Check. Communal kitchen? Check. This low-key surf house has all the ingredients for an awesome trip to the Ericeira waves. The best bargains are on beds in the mixed dormitory, but all accommodations are a mere five minutes’ walking to the waves. An on-site board rental makes things nice and easy.

When to surf in Ericeira?

We’d say autumn reigns supreme for surf in Ericeira. It’s got smaller crowds and strong, cross-Atlantic W and NW swells. Summer is warmer but better for beginners. Winter lends itself to far more experienced riders, while Spring is a mix of big waves and smaller waves, good for beginners up to expert.

Ericeira wave

Winter (November-March)

This is when the famous reefs that string along the headlands to the north of the town really come into their own. The north and north-west swells can fire on all cylinders at this time of year, pushing power straight into Coxos and its neighbours. It’s the time for overheads and double overheads aplenty, with consistent conditions. Sadly, winds do pick up and there can be strong onshores.

  • Wear: 4/3 and bring the boots, hood and gloves

Spring (April & May)

The weather calms a tad on the Atlantic coast of Portugal come the spring. Warmer days mingle with strong groundswell currents to give a last hurrah of the winter storm systems. That means regular 5-10 footers along the Ericeira coast, with punchy swells hitting the northern reefs. Later in the spring is prime for surf campers looking to hit Foz do Lizandro without the crowds.

  • Wear: 3/2 and bring boots if you’re coming early in the springtime Ericeira surf season

Summer (June-August)

A lot of the surf crowd is replaced by holidaymakers in search of sun and sea. However, this could be prime time to organise a surf trip to Ericeira if you’re a total beginner. The likes of Foz do Lizandro and Praia do Sul are likely to offer something to ride. It might be just chest-high and whitewash but that’s fun too. Occasional days with summer groundswells can be downright awesome on the Ericeira surf, with glassy conditions and decent barrels. Just don’t expect to find them empty!

  • Wear: 2mm. No booties needed unless you frequent the reefs

Autumn (September & October)

The autumn is widely considered to be the prime season for surfing in Ericeira. The engine room of the north Atlantic really gets going in October, which is when Nazare fires up. Down here in Ericeira it’s tamer but still strong, with nice groundswell stats making virtually every day a rideable one. Things can get big, but it should be interspersed with lots of days at 3-5 foot that let the novices have a good day on the beach breaks, too.

  • Wear: 3/2 at the start of the season. 4/3 at the end

Be sure to check out our gear guides:

Where can I find surfboard rentals in Ericeira?

The N247 road that links the countless surf spots in Ericeira is like a montage of surf schools and surf shops. You’ll find the bulk of the places to rent a board in the heart of the town and spread out between the more expert-ready coves to the north. However, you’ll also catch a surfboard outfitters down on Foz do Lizandro, the go-to beginner surf spot in the region.

Where to eat in Ericeira

There are loads of great places to grab a bite between sessions on the Ericeira surf. Some of the one’s we love are listed below…

Dear Rose Café ($)

A simple and uber-cosy cafe with a lovely vibe in the middle of the Ericeira old town area, Dear Rose is a real fav of ours. Breakfasts are the speciality. The menu reads acai bowls and passion fruit drinks – enough to get you feeling all healthy just with a read over.

Nalu Bowls ($-$$)

Nalu Bowls has a cracking location right above the beginner-friendly waves of Foz do Lizandro. They do a range of uber-tasty, uber-healthy poke bowls that are packed with fruit and oats. The coffee is also fantastico. Oh, and the seating is like a metre from the dunes within eyeshot of the waves. All nice.

Tasca da Boa Viagem ($$-$$$)

Tasca da Boa Viagem is the place to go for your hit of traditional Portuguese cooking. Big cuts of meat take up the bulk of the menu, all made in a hearty, country style with sides of potatoes and zingy lemon. Look for the spot in the buzzy heart of the Ericeira old town.

Travel essentials for anyone surfing in Ericeira

Before you get too carried away dreaming off the reefs and beach breaks of Ericeira, be sure to read on for a few helpful travel tips. These cover the basics of the town, from what currency you’ll need for the board rental to exactly how to arrive.

Ericeira town

Where is Ericeira?

Hugging the Atlantic coast some 22 miles north of Lisbon, Ericeira is one of the larger towns you’ll encounter as you head away from the beautiful Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The town itself sits right on top of the famous Praia dos Pescadores – a gorgeous dash of golden sand that’s either side of the main surf breaks.

How to get to Ericeira

Ericeira’s proximity to Lisbon means it’s actually one of the more accessible surf towns in the country. Here’s a guide to how you can expect to get in…

  • Fly: The closest thing you’ll get to a flight to Ericeira is a flight to Lisbon. They arrive at Portela Airport. It’s around just 30 minutes’ drive away. Airlines include low-cost carriers like Ryanair and easyJet. Connections in the off-season months of the winter can cost as little as £15 each way – you’ve just got to be sure to book early.
  • Bus: It costs under €7 per person to get from Lisbon to Ericeira. Look for the station at Campo Grande, from where connections go regularly. Links are more often in the summer but do run all year.
  • Car/van: Ericeira is well linked to the main A8 highway that goes through the heart of the Lisbon region. That, in turn, connects to the E1 motorway, which runs north-to-south through the whole country. The upshot? It’s easy to get in by car or van. The whole journey takes about 35 minutes from Lisbon and just under three hours from Porto.

How to get around Ericeira

  • Foot: Walk the old town – seriously, it’s one of the joys of being here. It might not take you to the Ericeira surf breaks, but there’s nothing like navigating cobbled lanes lined littered with cafés and bars.
  • Bus: Some geniuses in Ericeira have stolen the idea of a ski bus from their winter compadres in the Alps. A dedicated shuttle now runs routes between Ribeira D’Ilhas and Foz do Lizandro in the south, connecting all the best beach breaks and spots. It’s a mere €1 for a ride. Each shuttle is armed with a designated surfboard storage spot. Nice, eh?
  • Car/van: There’s loads of parking around the beaches in Ericeira. However, it’s normal for spaces to go super fast in the middle of summer or when the surf is working at a particular break. We’d also check ahead with your chosen accommodation that there’s parking available on site wherever you book.

What’s the currency in Ericeira

You’ll pay with euros (€) in Ericeira. This is Portugal – remember!

There are couple of ATMs around the centre of the town.

This is an ultimate guide to Ericiera surf. That means we’re constantly updating and adding to it – otherwise it would hardly be ultimate, would it now!? If you think we’ve missed anything, or just want to drop us a line, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This is just one part of our ultimate guide to surfing in Portugal. Check that out for more information on loads of breaks close to Ericeira and beyond!

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