Surf Nomad Guide: Ericeira, Portugal

Ericeira is great for slow travelers and surf nomads, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a surf vacation (unless you have high budget and flexibility). This guide will explain why this is the case and how to plan properly so you can maximize your time spent there.

Balancing Lifestyle and Waves

If you want a good balance of life in and out of the water, Ericeira is a great option. It’s particularly good for surfers who are new to surf travel or need a little R&R after a more taxing surf safari, because it’s easy and low stress.

Ericeira makes for a good longterm stay or rest because:

  • Variety of surf breaks and consistent swell
  • Safe, friendly, and clean city
  • Lots of digital nomads that are happy to socialize
  • A great selection of cheeses, fresh bread, and cheap wine

The rest of this guide will dig into some of the details so you can know all the details I wish I knew before I went.

Waves of Ericeira

The Ericeira area has a nice variety of waves. From mellow, easy to access, and consistent like Ribeira, to the barreling right of Coxos, this area accommodates a wide range of surf levels.

The shoreline around the Ericeira area if feature rich… beaches facing different directions, coves, and rocky outcrops create a high number of breaks that can turn on under varying conditions. A slight difference in swell direction, wind direction, or tide can turn one spot off but have another just around the corner working perfectly.

Learning these variations is one of the main reasons it’s best to spend a month or more in Ericeira. It can easily take a few weeks to learn the local breaks.

Forecasting for The Ericeira Area


The winds can be problematic in Ericeira… but there’s almost always an alternative option. Here’s what the typical wind patterns look like and where to go when it’s onshore or sideshore in Ericeira.


Swells predominantly come from the NW and vary seasonally. Winter is most consistent.

Map of Surf Breaks

Here are some of the main breaks in Ericeira and a few outside of Ericeira that are good to know. There are plenty more around that aren’t marked on any of the surf forecasting sites, so taking the time to explore is highly recommended.

Map Legend


Minimal Budget ($1k)

Getting good waves on this low of a budget will be tough, because you need to be able drive to access the right breaks at the right time. If your top priority is to get good waves but your budget is highly constrained, you’re better off going to Morocco, which isn’t far from Portugal and is much cheaper.

Accommodations: $600

  • Hostels are about $30 per night, even for a bunk in a shared room. You can likely negotiate a better deal once there in person, so I’d recommend booking your first few days in advance, then extending or finding another option once you’re there in person. You can probably get it down to $20 a night.
  • There are several shared-housing options around Ericeira which often require a commitment of more than 1 month, but are much more comfortable than a hostel and can be less expensive. You can find some of these on sites like Booking and AirBnB, but you’ll find better deals by talking to people once in town and posting on one of the Ericeira Facebook pages.


  • Food is much less expensive than housing in Ericeira since the housing is very limited but the food options are plentiful. Even so, on a minimal budget you’ll probably be eating PB&J most days and having some local budget food like sausage and fries as a treat (only a couple bucks).
  • The Lidl supermarket is where you want to shop. It has the lowest prices in town.
  • Bread and cheese are inexpensive and high quality, so hopefully you’re not allergic to gluten or lactose intolerant.


  • You’ll likely be limited to walking, which is not a good mode of transport if you want to surf the best waves.
  • If you are going to be on foot, try to stay close to Reef and Backdoor. This will give you the most options
  • Try to make friends with someone who has a car

Other Notes:

  • Check the “Chinese Store” if you need anything random. It’s similar to a dollar store, with an assortment of stuff ranging from jackets to sticky notes, at low prices.

Moderate Budget ($2.5k)

Even a budget of around $2k per month in Portugal is a game changer for getting surf because it allows you to get a car. With a car you can get to Supertubos in a little over an hour, or head south about an hour and get to Carcavelos. This allows you to get surf even when the winds are bad around Ericeira.


  • At this budget you can get a private room within the downtown area, or get a nice one bedroom a little outside the city.
  • If you stay outside of the main city area, it’s a much quieter suburban (almost countryside) feel.


  • If you get nice accommodations, you’ll probably mostly be cooking at home to keep within your budget… but you should have a nice kitchen to do so.
  • Otherwise you can eat out regularly without breaking the bank. Most places are quite reasonable and the food is great.


  • Get a car that fits your surfboards. I am always able to fit my boards (6’0″ and 5’7″) in the “mini” option, which is just one step up from “compact” and is often the lease expensive. Depending on the brand you get, you might have to fold the front seat all the way back to fit your boards.
  • Renault is a budget option but they are only providing electronic keys now, which is a hassle when trying to store or stash your keys while surfing.
  • Scooters aren’t really a thing around Ericeira. There are a few motorbikes with board racks here and there, but it’s not an easy option like it is in Bali.

Other Notes:

  • If possible, take your own key lock box and get a bigger one that is sure to fit most keys (the standard Master Lock real estate agent lock box doesn’t).

Big Budget ($4k+)

A bigger budget mostly allows for you to have a nicer place to stay and a better car if you want it.


  • 1 bedroom or studio in town
  • 2 bedroom or bigger outside of town


  • Eating well but not like a king


  • You can get a bigger car if desired, but I recommend getting the smallest car you can fit your boards in. The streets are small, parking spots are small, and gas is expensive.

Other Notes:

  • Flexibility – one of the best things you can buy with this level of budget is freedom. You can pay a bit more to book by the week and move to where the surf is based on the forecast. Alternatively, you can get a budget place in Ericeira as a home base but have additional funds to book another place for a few days if you’re traveling for surf. If the Ericeira area isn’t looking good but the breaks by Peniche are, you can head up there for a few days.
  • Guide – you could potentially pay for a surf guide. In my experience, talking with locals around town is sufficient enough to learn what breaks are best under various conditions.