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8 Reasons Why This Lesser Known Sunny Destination In Portugal Is A Must Visit

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Tired of crowded beaches and overpriced tourist traps?

Discover Ericeira, a charming Portuguese town where affordability meets stunning coastlines, authentic culture, and laid-back vibes.

Famous for its delectable cuisine, beautiful Atlantic coastline, centuries-old wine-making tradition, and gorgeous historic cities, Portugal is currently one of the most sought-after European destinations, on par with Spain, France, Italy, and the like.

Aerial View Of Ericeira, A Coastal Town In Portugal, Southern Europe

Despite its soaring popularity with tourists, it remains a largely unexplored country, as a majority of visitors will rarely go beyond the colorful streets of Lisbon and Porto, the towering peaks of Madeira Island, and the resort-packed Algarve.

That's not to say the sunny Iberian country hasn't got more to offer: if you're hoping to beat the crowds this year and experience some of that slow living, the gorgeous beach town of Ericeira should be at the top of your list, and these are 8 of the main reasons why:

Beaches Galore

Ericeira Beach

Portugal is widely known for its golden-sand beaches – unlike a majority of other Southern European countries, there are no pebbles in sight for – and you'll find some of the most scenic and cleanest beaches in the continent in and around Ericeira.

As the surfing capital of Europe, it offers watersport enthusiasts some epic waves – not as tall as Nazare's further up the coast, but still pretty impressive – as well as a number of quieter, family-friendly beaches bounded by smoother seas if it's some sun-bathing and relaxation you're after.

The most famous and most centrally-located beach in town, Praia dos Pescadores is a sandy strip set between rugged cliffs and the Atlantic, though tourists also flock into the neighboring Praia do Norte and Praia de Sao Sebastiao, mostly drawn to the wild nature and swim-friendly waters.

Less Crowded

Ericeira, Portugal

Long gone are the days when Lisbon, Porto, and other Portuguese gems could be considered off-path destinations: with Portugal's transition from a European holiday spot to a global hub for tourism as popular as Italy or Spain, the crowds have likewise started surging.

In a rapidly-changing country that's bracing for a record increase in tourism in 2024, Ericeira feels like a breath of fresh air, as it stays out of the radar of a majority of visitors, and it has somehow managed to preserve its indigenous Portuguese character.

From local-owned pastelarias selling the custard-filled donuts and the traditional pastel de nata tarts, to the Old Town's unspoiled atmosphere, yet to be tarnished by mass tourism, Ericeira is one of the last-standing Portuguese strongholds amid the latest wave of gentrification.

Overlooked Cultural Value

Old Town Ericeira, Portugal, Southern Europe

Speaking of Lusophone (or Portuguese) heritage, Ericeira is not a large city packed with ancient monuments like Lisbon, as it's been historically a fishermen's village whose main role was to supply the capital, but it does have a lot going for it on the culture front.

The white-painted Old Town, with its blue shutters and narrow lanes framed by overhanging bougainvillea is the best place to start if you're searching for some of that centuries-old, frozen-in-time, European beach town aesthetic.

There are beautiful public squares dominated by ornate fountains and tile-decorated seigneurial mansions, and seeing Ericeira is quite compact – the total population is just over 10,000 – there's no guarantee you won't get lost in a picturesque maze of cobbled alleys.

Best Tourism Village

Whitewashed Town Of Ericeira, Portugal, Southern Europe

If it's validation from a renowned international entity you were waiting for to back this article, and prove our point, you'll be glad to learn none less than the World Tourism Organization itself (WTO) has named Ericeira one of the ‘best tourism villages‘.

It's been recognized for its oustanding services in tourism – despite being small, there's no shortage of guesthouses and tourist-friendly services to accommodate foreigners – and for being a regional capital for slow tourism.

Tourists come to Ericeira mainly to unwind, catch a wave, lounge in one of the many public beaches belonging to the wider civil parish, and sample seafood fresh out the ocean: trust us, the best polvo a lagareiro you will ever try is in the upscale, yet relatively affordable Sete Sois Restaurant.

It Is Cheaper Than The Larger Cities

Ericeira Town

Portugal is the most affordable country in Western Europe, and taking into account Ericeira's status as a relatively-unknown destination among the masses, you can expect local prices to be somewhat cheaper even than in the main cities.

An overnight stay at WOT Ericeira, breakfast included, can cost as cheap as $68 per night, and if you're really aiming for a budget getaway, the aptly-titled Ericeira Chill Hill Hostel has private twin rooms from only $27 per night per adult.

The average hotel rate in Ericeira is an acceptable $112, though you can find much better deals than that, as noted above, and if you're a foodie, you've found your paradise, as eating out will only set you back by roughly $28 per day.

Affordable Luxury Stays

Woman standing in a hotel at the window

Not everyone is coming to Ericeira for a budget vacation, and if you can't do without a five-star stay, you'll likely end up knocking on Immerso's door: one of the most luxurious boutique hotels in town, it sits on a hilltop overlooking the azure Atlantic.

Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows boasting breathtaking views of the coastline, and the Design Hotels listing is equipped with an outdoor swimming pool and a surprisingly-modern wellness center, where a number of spa treatments are offered.

Immerso has been named by renowned travel publication Conde Nast one of the top properties in Portugal, and it's not as expensive as you might expect: a double room with garden view costs a reasonable $172 per night, per adult this spring.

A Digital Nomad Haven

digital nomad at outdoor cafe

Slow-living, amazing seafood, beaches galore and warmer temperatures year-round: does this sound like the kind of destination digital nomads would be flying to in droves? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ericeira is considered the 4th best Portuguese ‘workcation' spot.

Besides the number of leisure activities available, the higher quality of life offered to medium and long-term guests, the hospitality of locals and great safety levels, Ericeira has a select list of co-working offices, including a 24/7 Salt Studio, and the rustic Kelp Co-Work.

Cafe owners are incredibly welcoming of remote workers, too, and they will go out of their way to be accommodating so long as you keep those espresso and pastel de nata orders coming: overall, Ericeira is perceived positively by 75% of the digital nomad community.

A Short Drive From The Capital

Ericeira Aerial Shot

You may be wondering how accessible Ericeira is when you haven't heard of it before, and tourism in the area seems to be limited to a few adventurous surfers, digital nomads and Portuguese families on a weekend escapade to the beach.

As it turns out, it couldn't be easier to visit Ericeira, as it's located a short 27 miles north of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, which hosts flights from all over Europe, the U.S. and Canada, and it's connected to Ericeira by bus.

The journey takes on average half an hour to complete, and tickets start from a negligible $5.44. Alternatively, you may take an Uber from downtown Lisbon to the Ericeira beach zone, estimated at $34.78.

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