Ericeira is a small coastal village in the province of Mafra. Located about 65 kilometers north of Lisbon, the town boasts of having a coastline of about 11 kilometers of beaches, most of which are suitable for surfing. It also has an old center with the usual concrete houses painted in white and blue and paved streets which are narrow, long and winding.
COMING TO ERICEIRA
We arrived in Ericeira a couple of days earlier than we planned. Coming from Sintra, we drove to Cascais in the hope to find a parking area in the city. It was however difficult to find one, so we drove to Praia Guincho (about 10 kms from Cascais center) and parked here. But then, the weather was not good; the waves in the sea were so wild, it was raining, and the wind was so hard that the camper shook a bit. Staying here for longer time was not an option, so we drove 12 kilometers further to Cabo da Roca. Cabo da Roca is said to be the most western part of the European continent. Situated in this place is a lighthouse and a memorial stone marking the location of the cape. Although it was raining and the wind was blowing hard, still there were many tourists who were at the cape. We stayed here for a night, an drove further to Ericeira the next day where we were able to find a parking by Parque dos Merendas, a mix-parking located along the main road, just about 500 meters from the town center.
- Parking, Cabo da Roca Estrada do Cabo da Roca
2705 Colares (Sintra)
Coordinates : N: 38.78160 W: 9.49665
- Mix-parking, Rua da Ribiera da Baleia 2
Coordinates : N: 38.96373 W: 9.41313
DISCOVERING THE VILLAGE OF ERICEIRA
Discovering the small village of Ericeira doesn’t need much time. The best way is to stroll around the village’s narrow streets, going from one church to another and sometimes, following the pedestrian ways along the coast. To make our stroll more meaningful and easier, we decided to discover the religious heritage of the village by visiting its churches. And in doing so, we were not able to see the churches, we were also able to see more of the village’s inner streets and also its magnificent wild beaches.
A. The Beaches
Ericeira is a paradise for surfing afficionados. In fact, the place is the first World Surfing Reserve in Europe and second in the world. Because of the characteristics of the waves in Ericeira’s beaches, it is possible to surf all year long. Coincidentally, there was a Junior Surfing Championship at Praia dos Pescadores when we were here. Despite of bad weather, the beach was busy with surfers and people from the media.
The beaches of Ericeira are characterized by rocky cliffs and rugged coastline. As I have mentioned earlier, the waves are high and many, which make the place a good spot for surfers. Examples of these beaches are Praia dos Pescadores, Praia do Algocio, Praia do Matadouro and Praia de San Sebastian.
B. The Churches
Though only a small village, Ericeira has at least five small churches and/or chapels that we have visited. These are :
- Chapel of San Sebastian – This hexagonal chapel is built just near the cliff of Praia de San Sebastian. The interior of the chapel is decorated with brightly colored tiles and there is a beautiful altar in the middle.
- Church of San Peter – It is a small church outside the town proper. There are tile panels on the nave of the church which depict the life and legend of the town’s patron saint.
- Church of Misericordia – It is located in the center of the town. Unfortunately, it was closed when we were here.
- Chapel of Our Lady of Safe Journeys – This chapel is dedicated to Saint Anthony, and keeps watch over the fishermen’s beach. It is a charming old chapel with beautiful patterned tiles.
- Church of Saint Martha – This church is dedicated to Our Lady of Health. Just like Misericordia, it was also closed by the time we were here.
Though we stayed only one day in Ericeira (due to bad weather), we were fortunate enough to discover the village’s charms and enjoy its unique personality. If not for the bad weather, we could have stayed here a little longer and truly enjoy the village. Next time, maybe.