Picturesquely draped across sandstone cliffs above the blue Atlantic, sunny, whitewashed Ericeira is popular with lisboêtas seeking a quick weekend getaway. It’s equally renowned for spectacular ocean vistas and excellent seafood restaurants, and is a mecca for surfers, who come here for the great waves and camaraderie (it is in fact a Save the Waves Coalition World Surfing Reserve). The town’s old centre is clustered around Praça da República, with the sprawl of newer development spreading south and north.
‘Ericeira’ comes from Ouriceira, which means a place flush with ouriços (sea urchins). Fans of the purple version of the spiny delicacy will be delighted during the season (late October to April) and during the city’s Festival do Ouriço-do-Mar in April.