Traditional houses on Rua do Ericeira in the old town
Ericeira is a picturesque place perched on cliffs, with charming narrow streets, tiny squares, whitewashed chapels and pretty white houses edged in blue overlooking the Atlantic. It’s from the Atlantic waters that you get the fresh fish served at the many seafood restaurants that the town is famous for -- people from Lisbon often head to Ericeira just for a seafood feast.
The tree-lined Praça da República is the main square, and around it you have pedestrian streets with restaurants, outdoor cafés, and shops. Except for a couple of cute chapels and churches, there aren’t any major monuments to see in the town itself, but the magnificent Mafra Palace is just 15 minutes away.
Largo das Ribas overlooks the beach
In the center of Ericeira, head first to Largo das Ribas, which is essentially a balcony standing 30m (98ft) above the harbor. It was from here that Portugal’s last king sailed into exile in 1910 (he settled in London, where he lived until his death in 1932), as a new Republic was proclaimed in Lisbon. A tile panel on a chapel nearby (the Chapel of St. Anthony or of Our Lady of Good Voyage) remembers the event.
Another monument from the 1400s is the small Chapel of St. Sebastian (“Capela de São Sebastião”), which also stands above the sea, by the beach of the same name.
Miradouro da Baleia, a viewpoint over Praia do Sul
For more views over the Atlantic, head south to Miradouro da Baleia, a viewpoint found just a short walk from the Vila Galé Ericeira Hotel.
The picturesque old town is peaceful and relaxed during the day, but is quite lively at night during the warmer months, with cool bars and cafés lining the cobbled streets.
Highlights of the Old Town
If you want to find the most picturesque and Instagram-worthy corners of Ericeira, go here:
Rua 5 de Outubro
Largo do Pelourinho
The longest street in the Old Town is lined with traditional white-and-blue buildings, and at its northern end is Largo do Pelourinho, a tiny square with a pillory placed at its center in the 1500s. These stone columns are found in most major towns in Portugal, and are believed to have originated in Roman times. They became prominent in the 1100s, and were a symbol of municipal authority, usually placed beside town halls and often used to chain criminals as a form of punishment. This one in Ericeira is a few feet behind a church, the Igreja da Misericórdia.
Praça da República
Praça da República, Ericeira’s main square
Also known as Largo do Jogo da Bola (“Ball Game Square”), this is Ericeira’s main square. It’s parallel to Rua Mendes Leal, home to the town’s most beautiful buildings (they’re the public library in the former casino from 1919 and a gallery and auditorium for cultural events).
Facing the square is the tourism office, which includes a permanent exhibition (the "Ericeira World Surfing Reserve Interpretation Center") dedicated to surfing in the region.
Rua do Ericeira
Rua Mendes Leal in the old town is home to some of Ericeira's most beautiful buildings
Ericeira’s cutest homes (pictured at the top of this page) are on the narrow Rua do Ericeira, parallel to Rua Mendes Leal (see above). Behind them is Rua Alves Crespo, a street with a couple of tiled homes, leading down to Largo de Santa Marta, a square with the Church of Santa Marta at the center.