In recent years, Portugal has been very popular as a tourist destination. Portugal is affordable and easy to reach, the people are very friendly, the climate is one of the best in Europe and last but not least: its location facing the Atlantic Ocean makes it a perfect sun, sea & beach destination. And on the West Coast of Portugal, this means that the holiday is often combined with a water activity, such as surfing.
This makes a surf holiday in Portugal very popular among families. Although it could mean that mom and dad are chilling on the beach while the kids are surfing, its often actually the parents that are keen to learn to surf. And when you think about surfing and Portugal, the World Surfing Reserve of Ericeira is the first thing that pops up in your mind.
What makes Ericeira a good place for a family surf holiday?
As family, you are often bound to the school holidays. This means travelling during the months of July and August, when the wave-making machine of the Atlantic Ocean is at its least active. In the well-known surf destinations of France and Spain, this can mean days, or even weeks, of flat ocean and no possibility to surf. But fortunately, in Portugal this is nearly never the case. It is the most swell consistent country in Europe, and swell means surf! And within Portugal, Ericeira is one of the most consistent surf spots. So here you barely ever have to worry about getting to surf some waves. And that´s kind of good when you go on a surf trip, isn´t it!
Many different surf spots:
Ericeira is known for its diversity of waves for all levels of surfing and these different surf spots are compressed to a fairly small area. The beaches south of the town center are the best ones for beginners and beginner-intermediates. The sand bottom is forgiving and safer for the beginner surfers. Of course also more experienced surfers can find good waves on these beaches, but for them the very consistent reef breaks north of the town, such as Ribeira d´Ilhas and Coxos offer more challenge and consistent waves. Since children are not as strong as grown people, there surf conditions matter extra much for their lessons. That makes Ericeira and its many different spots very suitable for children´s lessons, because no matter the conditions, there is usually a spot where the waves are not too strong.
Ericeira is surrounded by beaches, so it’s always possible to find a beach that matches your needs. With small kids, the beach Foz do Lizandro is often the best option because here you’ll find a calm river where kids can play safely. Also the beach Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermans’s beach) is sheltered from the waves and therefore calm and safer for the kids. But as this beach is located next to the center of the town, it’s can be very crowded. If you are looking for more space and tranquillity, then the beach Sao Juliao, six kilometres south of Ericeira is the best bet.
Close to Lisbon:
If you are looking for a surf holiday with the family, it’s important to choose a destination that is easy to reach. Flight connections to Lisbon Airport are pretty good from most European cities. Ericeira is located only 30 minutes by car from Lisbon Airport. It’s also possible to use public transport to go from the airport to Ericeira. There is a direct bus connection between Lisbon Campo Grande (a few metro stops from Lisbon Airport) and Ericeira. However, with kids it’s advised to travel by car, shuttle or taxi as this is much faster and more convenient.
During their holidays, most children want to do something active and be outdoors. Surfing is a great option for that, but is often something that is difficult to keep doing the whole day. Therefore, it is good to have other options for activities for the family close by, and around Ericeira there are plenty of other activities to choose from. The town is a nice place to visit for a shopping stroll and a lunch in one of the several restaurants and shops. There is also an arcade with pool tables and many other games. Next to the water sports such as surfing, fishing and stand-up paddling, you can also go mountain biking along the beautiful coast, book a horse-riding tour, have a game of beach volley or midget golf with the family. For the boardsport lovers there is a big skatepark right next to the Quiksilver Boardriders shop. For the adrenaline junkies, you can go parasailing or drive a bit further to one of the best go-kart tracks or paintball courses of Portugal! If you want to treat your family on some culture, the historical sights of UNESCO World Heritage sites of Sintra and Mafra, medieval town of Obidos and of course, Lisbon, are just around the corner.
What makes Ericeira Surf House a suitable accommodation for family surf holiday?
The concept for Ericeira Surf House has always been to create a place for the grown-up surfers to go on a holiday. This indirectly includes many families with children. At a certain age most of us get fed-up with the traditional surfcamps and you start looking for an accommodation with better facilities and like-minded other guests. And often the only option would be a hotel, but the difference going from a surfcamp with people in their twenties to a hotel with people in their sixties is too big. The kid-friendly Ericeira Surf House offers a perfect option between these two.
Babies for free, small children with discount:
We know that families with little kids still really want to go surfing and therefore offer great deals for them. The smallest ones (0-3 years) come along for free and children from 4 to 7 years of age only pay half of the price when staying in the same room with their parents.
Surf lessons for children:
Our surf school has tons of experience with teaching children and always give them extra attention during lessons. The age when each child can start surfing can differ a lot, but we offer surf lessons starting at 7 years of age. Usually around this age the child can concentrate a bit better and has enough strength to manage in different conditions. Safety is our number one priority and therefore it can happen that the smaller children cannot join the lesson with the rest of the group. But we of course always do our best to ensure that they can also have their surf lesson. Our surf school is very flexible and can usually find a surf spot where the waves are not too strong for the children. In general, we always try to choose the beach to go based on the conditions, so that everybody can have the best time on their surf holiday.
Ericeira Surf House is located on the south side of the town of Ericeira. This is the side with most sandy beaches. Walking distance away from the house is the beach of Foz do Lizandro. This is a big beach at the river mouth. Usually in the summer months the river is not flowing through to the sea, creating a small lake where children can play safely in the water. This makes it the most popular beach among families and your children can find many friends to play with!
There are multiple different room types at Ericeira Surf House to cater the needs of nearly every family. On the ground floor there are two double/twin rooms next to each other on a private hallway. These room share one bathroom and are perfect option for a family of 4. On the first floor there is a family-room which can accommodate 4 persons. The room has a big double bed and a comfortable sofa-bed which sleeps 2. The private bathroom is big and equipped with a bath tub, and from the room there is a direct access to the balcony. Bigger families can choose from different options, for example our 6-person room or multiple double/twin rooms next to each other.
Facilities and amenities:
With different facilities in the house and amenities we provide, we have thought about families travelling with children. There is a big kitchen where you can cook meals for your family and a living room with plenty of books, different games and even a Xbox and Nintendo. Outdoors we have skateboards, dartboard and many other garden games, like petanque and a Finnish skittle throwing game called Mölkky. We have childrens bikes and a seat you can mount on the bikes for carrying your child. If you travel with a baby, we have a high chair for babies, baby phone, babybeds and many other basic amenities.
During holidays it is great if the parents can also have some quality time or go surfing without the kids. That´s why we work together with a professional nanny service called ´Nanny On´. They will entertain and look after your children so that you can get that extra me-time and make the most out of your holiday. The nannies are available at all times of the day, during your surf lessons or in the evening. They can come to the beach or the surf house, depending on what you prefer!
When travelling with children, it is nice be able to keep things moving smoothly without long waits. Therefore we offer our airport transfers also to families to make sure you will be as fast as possible enjoying the sun at the swimming pool after the plane lands! We also always try to make sure the rooms for families with small children will be cleaned first, so that you can check-in earlier.
All in all, a family surf holiday in Portugal is definitely an attractive option. And when you choose for the family-friendly Ericeira Surf House, we will do our utmost best to make sure you and your family will have the best holiday ever!