Everything You Need To Know For The Ultimate Surf Adventure in Ericeira

By David Bolaños on Oct 26, 2020

The unofficial surf capital of Portugal, Ericeira is the perfect place for beginner and advanced enthusiasts to suit up, grab a board, and spend their days in the water.

Famous for its consistent waves and year-round great weather, it’s no wonder that Ericeira is considered one of the best places to surf in Portugal. Teeming with a vibrant surf culture that’s hard to find anywhere else, visitors will quickly learn that riding waves isn’t just a way to kill some time in Ericeira: it’s a way of life. With special surf boutiques lining the streets, buzzing bars that cater to visitors and locals alike, and a delicious array of seafood dishes and healthy options for the most cautious eater, Ericeira is the place to be for a close-up look at what surfing in Portugal is all about.

From where to stay to where to surf, here’s everything you need to know to make sure your visit to Ericeira is everything you imagined – and more!

In this guide, we'll take a look at:

  • 1. Ericeira is Europe's Only World Surfing Reserve
  • 2. The Best Ericeira Surf Spots
  • 3. The Best Beginner Surf Spots in Ericeira, Portugal
  • 4. Best Intermediate and Advanced Surf Spots in Ericeira, Portugal
  • 5. The Best Time To Visit Ericeira for Surfing
  • 6. How To Get To Ericeira
  • 7. Where To Stay In Ericeira
  • 8. Enjoy Ericeira Like A Local
  • 9. FAQs About Surfing in Portugal
Selina Ericeira

Embrace a life without borders! Work, stay, and explore at Selina Ericeira!

Ericeira is Europe’s Only World Surfing Reserve

Ericeira was named an official World Surfing Reserve in 2011 by a coalition called Save the Waves. As the only World Surfing Reserve in Europe and the second in the whole world, Ericeira is a power to be reckoned with when it comes to surfing and the tourism industry. 

The Reserve owns approximately four kilometers of the Ericeira coastline. While the whole of Ericeira enjoys the benefits of having the Reserve, only seven surf spots north of town are protected officially. The protected Ericeira World Surfing Reserve surf spots are Cave, Pedra Branca, Reef, Crazy Left, Ribeira D’Ilhas, Coxos, and São Lourenço. These surf spots cater to all levels of surfers, ranging from beginners to advanced. 

Suppose you seek the best surf spots in Portugal for beginners; there are beaches like Praia du Sol, and Foz do Lizandro that you’ll enjoy surfing. Or maybe you’re wondering if it’s okay to surf Ericeira in July; there’s no wrong season for surfing in this small fishing town.

Consider visiting the Posto de Turismo da Ericeira e Centro de Interpretação da Reserva Mundial de Surf (Municipal tourist office and interpretation center of the Ericeira World Surf Reserve). This interpretation center helps you learn about the seven waves and their features using the latest technology. Besides the interpretation center, there’s also the Ericeira surf museum to explore.

The Best Ericeira Surf Spots

The great thing about Ericeira surf is that, with over 10 beaches dotted along the coast, there’s no need to fear over-crowding that could potentially stand in the way of getting your surf on.

Beginners should immediately head to the beaches in south Ericeira for a chance to learn and get better at the sport. Certain spots like Foz do Lizandro and Praia do Sul are great for first-timers who simply want to join in on the town’s love of surfing with little to no knowledge of how to do it.

Meanwhile, most intermediate and advanced surfers head to the north of Ericeira to experience the best of Portugal surf culture. Great spots like Sao Lourenco and Coxos are just two of the favorites among locals and visitors alike due to their consistent world-class breaks.

The Best Beginner Surf Spots in Ericeira, Portugal

Foz do Lizandro

Type of waves: >Mild lefts and rights

Types of ocean floor: Sandy beach

Level: All levels, suitable for beginners and intermediate

Enthusiasts who visit Foz do Lizandro will find a great spot with a sandy bottom, and multiple peaks with both lefts and rights to keep you entertained and on your feet. Located roughly 3 kilometers from the town center, and with waves that range between .5 and 2.5 meters, Foz do Lizandro’s beach break is great for beginners and intermediates looking to gain more confidence on the board. The surrounding area, developed in 2008, offers every amenity you’ll need for enjoying your day at the beach, making it the perfect spot for surfing for beginners.

Ideal surfing conditions at Foz do Lizandro include east and northeast winds, as well as all tide levels. Consistent, calm, and forgiving, this spot should be at the top of your Ericeira surf list.

Praia do Sul

Type of waves: Fast rights and lefts

Types of ocean floor: beach with reef and rocks

Level: Suitable for beginners and intermediate

Located south of Ericeira, Praia do Sul is a beautiful beach to enjoy and a great surf spot for beginner surfers in Ericeira. The break offers both right and left walls that gather momentum on the inside

Beginners who choose Praia do Sul can enjoy a constant break with peaks that move in both directions. Surfing at this prime spot usually works well when the swells are bigger, and ideal conditions include winds that blow east as well as mid to high tide. This makes for the perfect conditions if it’s your first time on the board.

It’s important to note that the break at Praia do Sul can be split into two: the first is a reef break that’s suitable for only experienced surfers – so, be cautious! – and the seconds is a mixed sand and reef break that can be tamed by amateurs.

Sao Juliao

Type of waves: loads of peaks extending down a large length, watch out for heavy closeouts when the swell starts picking up

Types of ocean floor: beach break, 

Level: Suitable for beginners and intermediate

Known for its consistent waves even when every other place is flat, Sao Juliao is a large sandy beach located in the southern part of Ericeira. This beach picks up the most swell and offers numerous peaks, providing beginners with walls for all tide stages to help you find a peak for yourself.

Best Intermediate and Advanced Surf Spots in Ericeira, Portugal

Sao Lourenco

Type of waves: Fast rights

Types of ocean floor: Reef break with multiple peaks

Level: Suitable for intermediate and advanced

The northernmost Ericeira surf spot, Sao Lourenco’s picturesque golden sands lead out into what’s been called Portugal’s biggest and baddest waves. Located roughly 6 kilometers outside of town, this surfer’s paradise is a nice sandy beach with consistent reef breaks towards the right, and waves that can reach up to 4.5 meters high. Ideal surfing conditions at Sao Lourenco are usually around mid tide, with winds blowing northeast or southeast.

Home to numerous peaks with heavy right and left walls, São Lourenço is a magnificent sandy beach situated in the northern part of Ericeira. There’s a right-hand reef north of the beach that can produce one of Portugal’s best and heaviest waves when there’s a large swell, thus making São Lourenço one of Portugal’s best intermediate surf spots. The beach is home to the popular Pizza Mobile restaurant.


Located north of Ericeira, Matadouro beach offers a right-hander to the north and left-hand rides south of the beach with numerous peaks in between. There’s a skate park overlooking the break, offering you a chance to enjoy the skateboard between sessions in the wave. 

Ribeira D’Ilhas

Type of waves: Fast rights

Types of ocean floor: Flat reef

Level: Suitable for intermediate and advanced

Considered one of the best right reef breaks in Europe, Ribeira D’ilhas is another consistent break in Ericeira. Known as one of the top spots for hosting international surfing competitions, waves can be up to 3.5 meters high and suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers. Ideal conditions at Ribeira D’ilhas are winds that blow southeast or northeast, with all tide levels being equally suitable for a great time out in the water. Due to the top amenities situated nearby, wave’s quality, and consistency, Ribeira D’Ilhas is home to several professional contests.

Pedra Branca

Type of waves: Fast lefts

Types of ocean floor: Flat reef with some sand and urchins, 

Level: Suitable for intermediate and advanced

Located just 4 kilometers outside of town, Pedra Blanca is known for its fast left break over a flat reef. Ideal conditions at this spot usually mean winds blowing southeast or northeast and mid to high tide. Wave height ranges from .5 to 2.5 meters, with a rapid start and a barrel off to the side.

Surfers who stop by Pedra Branca will also find two more breaks on the same bay: Reef and Backdoor. At Reef, powerful rights and great tubes do happen every so often if the conditions are right.

Meanwhile, Backdoor also holds a nice right break with small sections that can turn into barrels. Proceed with caution, though! Both Reef and Backdoor are quite shallow, which means wounds can easily happen.


Type of waves: Fast rights
Types of ocean floor: Lava reef, hills, and stone falls
Level: Suitable for intermediate and advanced

Head south from Sao Lourenco and you’ll arrive at Coxos, also known as the best wave in Ericeira. With big barrels, a powerful right-hand reef break, and a northwesterly swell, this spot is definitely for experts only. Waves at this spot can reach up to 3 meters high, and ideal conditions happen at low to mid tide, with winds going east, northeast, or southeast.

Selina Ericeira

Embrace a life without borders! Work, stay, and explore at Selina Ericeira!


The Best Time To Visit Ericeira for Surfing

With a coastline facing south and west, Portugal, home to a World Surf Reserve, is a swell magnet picking up every swell direction. The great thing about Ericeira surf is that it’s pretty consistent year-round, which means that visitors can enjoy the sport no matter when they decide to stop by. And, with a minimal swell consistency of 56%, Ericeira is the perfect destination when the waves in other Portugal surf spots simply aren’t cutting it.

Also, because of the constant cool breeze, even the hottest months of the year (July and August) are still a lot more manageable than summer in the rest of Portugal. With average daytime temperatures that range between 26º-28ºC (79º-82ºF), the warm Ericeira weather won’t have you constantly breaking a sweat.

When it comes to picking the best time to visit for the waves, it all depends on whether you’re a beginner surfer looking to dip your toes or an advanced daredevil hoping to tackle the region’s strongest contenders. The best time to visit Ericeira for beginners is between April and October. During these months you can enjoy beginner level waves at beaches like Foz do Lizandro and Praia do Sul.

During this time of the year, the waves tend to be a lot smaller and less powerful, and there are also plenty of events and parties happening outside of the water that you can enjoy.

If you intend to surf Ericeira in July, you’ll enjoy the best weather but won’t get much swell. The same thing applies to the rest of the summer months (June and September).  Most popular surf spots are crowded during the summer season, particularly in July and August.

Experienced surfers should visit Ericeira between October and March for a more challenging time. Deep barrels are common during this time because of the powerful swells. Whatever you do, make sure you bring a wetsuit! The cold currents from the Atlantic mean that the water is always cool – even in the middle of summer.

Winter (September to April) is when experienced surfers witness consistent powerful swells, and heavy waves. However, beginners can always use some sheltered spots marked out to surf in Ericeira in April. Winter in Portugal also comes with non-stop waves. But, the weather and wind pose a problem. The Autumn season (September to November) offers good weather, relatively consistent west swells, and predominantly favorable wings.

Although Portugal’s weather isn’t stable, with numerous coastlines facing different directions, it’s easy to score good waves.

How To Get To Ericeira

Located roughly 50 km northwest of Lisbon, arriving in Ericeira is as easy as deciding to go. There are plenty of ways to get there, but the most popular is hopping on a bus that will take you there directly. Tickets can be purchased at the Campo Grande bus station and, since buses run every hour between 7 am and 10 pm, there’s no need to try and reserve in advance. You’re basically guaranteed to find a spot sometime throughout the day.

Another great option is stopping by the front desk at Selina Secret Garden in Lisbon and booking a shuttle to take you all the way to Ericeira. This will save you the hassle of heading to the bus station on your own, and you’ll be dropped off directly at Selina Boavista Ericeira after the ride.

Travelers can also choose to drive themselves to Ericeira in a rental car, which means they’ll have the freedom to move around the area once there. Car rentals can be a little tricky, though, so make sure you’ve read the fine print before signing the contract and speeding off in search of the best Portugal surf spots.

Where To Stay In Ericeira

Because it’s favored by local and international travelers as the best place to go surfing in Portugal, accommodation options are aplenty in Ericeira. It all depends on your budget and on how long you’re planning to stay in town. Be warned, though: this little town will steal your heart and keep you for the long-run.

Nowadays, lots of surf camps and hostels have opened their doors to visitors looking for a quick getaway before moving on to the next place. As such, shared accommodation and communal living are one of the cheapest options for travelers in Ericeira who aren’t necessarily die-hard surf enthusiasts, and just want a place to relax that’s outside of the bustle of Portugal’s bigger cities.

On the other hand, long-term visitors can choose from a wide array of apartment rentals in and outside of town that are suitable for every budget. Most of these apartments require renters to stay for a minimum of weeks or months at a time, so make sure you’re aware of this before choosing a place.

Lucky for you, you can enjoy the best of both worlds when you choose to stay at Selina Boavista Ericeira. With long-stay private rooms available as well as community rooms for those who are just passing through, Selina combines the best of slow travel and a quick weekend getaway to give travelers a safe space where they can meet fellow nomads, enjoy a delicious authentic meal, and become a part of Ericeira’s tight-knit community. Plus, with private and group surf lessons available for all levels, the Selina Surf Club in Ericeira will be there along the way to help you gain confidence on the board, improve your speed, and nail those epic 360s. Not only this, but with board and wetsuit rentals available, you won’t need to worry about lugging gear around while you’re on the road.

Enjoy Ericeira Like A Local

Ericeira surf culture doesn’t just stay in the water, though, and visitors can still enjoy the best of this seaside town even if they’re not seasoned surfers or fearless beginners looking for a place to start.

Small but mighty, Ericeira has plenty to offer travelers in terms of dining, nightlife, and shopping. For starters, the town is small enough so that everything is easily accessible on foot, which means you won’t have to worry about finding parking or heading home after you’ve had a few drinks. Most shops and boutiques in Ericeira cater to surfers and beach lovers, which means you’ll find plenty of stores selling swimming gear, towels, and specialized brands like Roxy, Quicksilver, Billabong, and Vans, just to list a few of the bigger names. Looking for a place to grab a bite? With seafood on almost every menu in town, visitors won’t have to break the bank in order to enjoy freshly-caught fish, lobster, and octopus. Once the sun sets, most people head over to Discoteca Ouriço – the oldest disco in the country – for a night of drinking and dancing. And, with live music shows on almost every night, Adega Bar 1987 is another hotspot that can’t be missed.

Suppose you’re wondering where to get the best wetsuits, surfboards, towels, and other accessories for your ride through the wave; consider checking out the Magic quiver surf shop in Ericeira. However, your stay in Ericeira won’t be complete until you visit the Boardriders Quiksilver Park. The Boardriders Quiksilver Ericeira Skate Park has a big skate park and hosts live music events and DJ parties at sunset. >So you wouldn’t run out of fun things to do in Ericeira.

Besides Ericeira, other surf locations have helped promote Portugal as the leading surf destination in the world. One such location is Peniche, home to the Supertubos beach, popular worldwide for its powerful waves fondly called the European Pipeline and venue for the ASP World Tour competitions. Accommodations in Peniche are mainly a few hotels, simple houses, apartments, and campsites between Baleal beach and Peniche. However, you can choose to stay at Selina Peniche if you prioritize comfort and class. 

Besides Ericeira and Peniche, other powerful surf beaches exist in Madeira, Sagres, Lagos, amongst others. So feel free to explore them if you can.

One of the best places to surf in Portugal, Ericeira is loved by many because of the authenticity of its locals and the love for surf culture as a whole. So, if surfing in Portugal is what you’re craving while on holiday, don’t hesitate to stop by Ericeira for a taste of it all.

FAQs About Surfing in Portugal

  • When is the best time to surf in Portugal for beginners?

    As a beginner, the best time to surf in Portugal is during the summer (May to September) due to the less frequent swells and smaller waves. Nevertheless, most popular surf spots are crowded this season, especially between July and August.

  • What are the best surf spots in Portugal for beginners?

    The best surf spot in Portugal for beginners is Foz do Lizandro in Ericeira. As a matter of fact, the little surf town tops most surfers’ list of places to go in Portugal. However, besides Ericeira, there are other great surf spots, such as:

    • Amado, Lagos area
    • Cantinho da Baia, Baleal, Peniche
    • Guincho, Cascais
    • Praia da Torreira, Porto
  • What is a world surfing reserve?

    World Surfing Reserve is a model that helps protect surf zones, waves, and their surrounding environments by preserving major economic, cultural, and environmental attributes in coastal communities.

  • How big do Ericeira waves get?

    São Lourenço reef break can hold nearly 18ft or six meters of hollow but powerful surf. With a huge northwesterly swell, it’s one of Portugal’s heaviest and biggest waves.

  • Are there surf competitions in Ericeira?

    Ericeira is home to numerous surf competitions, including the Quicksilver Pro Portugal competition at Ribeira D’Ilhas, Ericeira, Portugal. There’s also the MEO surf league, which decides national champions and is held at Ribeira D’Ilhas, amongst other locations. And finally, the World Surf League Tours you can find on the WSL Pro Ericeira website.

  • Selina Ericeira

    Embrace a life without borders! Work, stay, and explore at Selina Ericeira!

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