7 tips for planning the perfect surf trip to Ericeira

Is Ericeira on your bucket-list for your next surf trip or are you planning a holiday to Ericeira right now? Then it might be handy to know some in’s and out’s that can help you make the right choices. Small details can make a big difference if it comes to the perfect surf trip. Below you can find some tips on how to make the most out of your trip to Ericeira.

1. When is the best time to visit Ericeira?

First of all, you need to decide on when you would like to travel. Although Ericeira is a year-round destination for surfers, the surf conditions depend a lot on the time of the year. The winter season brings bigger swells and colder temperatures, where the summer season is very sunny with smaller waves. Spring and autumn are right in between those two, with favourable wind conditions in autumn, but less crowds in spring. But what is the best time for you to visit Ericeira? This depends a lot on your level of surfing and on your expectations.

Beginners
Complete beginners can find good conditions year-round. Since Ericeira has such a great diversity of waves, there is always a surf spot that offers good beginner waves. In summer the best conditions are normally at the beach breaks, where in winter the harbour is often the best place to go. Spring and autumn can have good conditions anywhere, also on the mellow reef breaks. But if you are coming to Ericeira not just to learn surfing, but also to experience nice and warm weather, then the period from May to September is the best. Here you can find more information on learning to surf in Ericeira.

Intermediates
Beginning intermediates will find the best conditions around the summer months, so from June to September. For advanced intermediates the best conditions are normally not in the summer, but more towards the spring and autumn. Advanced beginners can also get really good waves in winter, but only on the smaller days. But if you have a rental car and you don’t mind driving a bit up or down the coast, all intermediates can find great conditions any time of the year.

Advanced and up
For advanced surfers the period between September and April is the best time to travel. Most offshore winds and the biggest swells are from November to February. In September and October you can expect the least wind and cleanest conditions.

But of course, this is just a general outline. You can also have great days for advanced surfers in the summer and perfect mellow intermediate waves in the winter. You just need to have a bit more luck then.

In our surf spot guide, you can find more information about the conditions per surf spot in the area.

The 2nd thing you need to take into account when planning your trip is how long you are going to stay. Since surfing is a sport that is highly dependent on nature, you never know what to expect. Ericeira is a very consistent surf spot, but even in the most consistent place you can have bad luck if you are just planning to come for a couple of days. It’s therefore recommended to stay at least a week, to see the full potential of Ericeira and its breaks.

2. Where to stay during your surf trip?

There are many great places to stay in Ericeira ranging from small bed&breakfasts to hostels and big hotels. What is most important to know is that the best surf spots are not right in the center of Ericeira, but some kilometres outside the town. So, although it might be nice to stay in the busy town center for some people, this is often not the best idea if you are planning to surf as much as possible. In general, the better beach breaks are on the south side of Ericeira and the better reef breaks on the north side. Take this into account while planning your surf trip!

3. How to get to Ericeira?

Ericeira is located just 40 kilometres from Lisbon Airport. Although you could also fly into Porto or Faro, this is not advised because it’s at least a 3-hour drive from there. And since Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, there are plenty of connections from all over Europe and beyond. It’s nearly always possible to find affordable tickets.

Once you arrived in Lisbon Airport, there are multiple options to get to Ericeira. You can get a taxi or Uber (€40 to €60), book an airport shuttle with us, go by public transport or rent a car.

If you are planning to travel by public transport, you should first go from the airport to Lisbon Campo Grande. The easiest way to do this is with the metro. Once you are at Campo Grande, you can take a bus that brings you directly to Ericeira. The total cost of the journey is around €8 per person. The timetable you can find on the Mafrense website. Although the connection between Lisbon Airport and Ericeira is quite easy, the downside is the travel time. Depending on the hour of the day, it will take you around 2 hours door to door. With a car or airport shuttle the travel time is just over 30 minutes.

If you are planning to rent a car, it’s cheaper and more convenient to book this in advance. It’s good to know that some of the rental companies are not located directly at the airport, but in the industrial zone around the airport. Only Avis-Budget, Europcar, Goldcar, Guerin (with partners Alamo, Enterprise and National), Hertz (with partners Thrifty, Dollar and Firefly) and Sixt have their offices at the airport. For the other car rental companies you first need to take a shuttle from the airport. Although this seems like a disadvantage, it can be faster since the queues are often smaller and the shuttle service works quite well. Some affordable car rental companies around the airport are: Centauro, Driveonholidays, Interrent.

It’s also important to know that in high season there can be long queues when you return the car, so make sure that you have enough time before your flight leaves.

Toll roads in Portugal
For most highways in Portugal, you need to pay toll. Car rental companies often give you an option to book an additional electronic device for the payment of toll roads. With this device you can use the drive-through tollgates and don’t need to hassle with the tickets and payments. This saves you some time since you don’t need to queue. But some rental companies charge an extraordinary price for this device and it’s good to know that in the Lisbon area it’s not needed to have one. If you don’t mind queuing sometimes, then you can easily do without. But be aware that you always have cash with you, since not all toll roads take foreign cards!

4. To rent a car or not?

For your regular surf holiday to Ericeira, you don’t need to rent a car if you choose an accommodation that is within walking distance of both Ericeira center and at least one of the main surf beaches. But be aware that the better surf beaches are located outside the town! In the summer months, the beaches from Foz do Lizandro to Ribeira d’Ilhas and the town are connected with a beach bus. You pay €1 per person and you can travel along the coast with your surfboard. But the bus doesn’t have a regular schedule, so planning your trip is essential.

If you book surf lessons with us, you don’t need to worry since we have our own shuttle for the lessons. Our accommodation is also within walking distance of Foz do Lizandro, Praia do Sul and Ericeira center. And if you want to explore more of the area, we offer rental bikes with board rack.

For families with small children, people who want to combine their surf holiday with day trips to the beautiful surroundings (Lisbon, Sintra, Obidos, Mafra) and surfers who want to be more flexible we do recommend renting a car. With a rental car you can surf 360 days a year in perfect conditions if you don’t mind to drive a bit up or down the coast.

Renting a car in high season can be quite expensive, but in the winter, spring or autumn it’s actually pretty cheap to rent a car in Portugal if you search for the best offer.

5. Where to surf in Ericeira and surroundings?

Ericeira is a surfers dream destination. There is such a great diversity of waves that you are always able to find a surf spot that is matching your level of surfing. For less experienced surfers, spots like Ribeira D’Ilhas, Foz do Lizandro and São Julião are recommended. Experienced surfers can find amazing waves at Coxos (right) and Pedra Branca (left). With small waves, the beach breaks of Foz do Lizandro and São Julião are the best place to go since they pick up a lot of swell. On the really big days, you can go to the harbour (Praia dos Pescadores) or Praia do Sul.

You can find all the details about surfing in Ericeira in our surf spot guide.

6. What to do in Ericeira besides surfing?

If you are looking to combine your surf holiday with other activities, then Ericeira is a great place to be. You can find all activities and fun ideas for day trips in and around Ericeira in this article: 18 great things to do in and around Ericeira besides surfing.

7. Where and what to eat?

Ericeira and Portugal in general are famous for its simple, affordable and very tasty food. Typical Portuguese dishes include bacalhau (codfish), sardines, polvo (octopus), percebes (goose barnacles), chicken piri piri and porco preto (black porc). And if you are more feeling like a snack, you should try a bifana, prego or fransesinha. After your surf session, it’s also great to eat a pão com chouriço (sausage bread) from one of the many food trucks around Ericeira (the one on the road from Carvoera to Ericeira is the best!). Since Ericeira is a fishing village, don’t forget a simple grilled fish or the famous arroz de marisco (seafood rice). Besides the restaurants in town, there are also many famous seafood restaurants just north of Ericeira in Ribamar that are worth a visit.

On our page about Ericeira, you can find a list of personal favourites.