The coastline of the municipality of Mafra is formed by rocky cliffs. However, it is precisely in the small bays that are formed along the coast that the famous beaches are formed, mostly located in the Parishes of Ericeira and St. Isidoro. The natural beauty associated to the high concentration of iodine that can be found in the 11 km of coast, make this area a touristic destination of excellence. This location is also distinguished by the important surf, bodyboard, kayaksurf and other water sport events that take place.
Ericeira is a small fisherman’s village that has the ocean as its inspiration. Ericeira is situated 35 km Northeast of Lisbon and 8km from its county seat, Mafra, a town that is famous for its Palace / Convent, the greatest construction of the Portuguese Baroque and the ‘Tapada de Mafra’ that has a wide diversity of plant and animal species. The origin of the name Ericeira, according to some philologists, derives from the word “ouriceira”, from the word “ouriço” that means sea-urchin, due to the abundance this species in the region, is a very ancient place, being its first occupied by the Phoenicians, a civilization characterized by a maritime entrepreneurial commercial culture that spread out through all the Mediterranean from 1550 a.c. to 300 b.c.
The ancient population of Ericeira was consisted by an ethnic group called ‘Jagoz’, different from the neighboring villages for this group lived almost exclusively from the sea. Ericeira was visited by members of the royal family, monarchist and republican aristocrats, that built the vacation homes, that were regarded as the first sunbathers of this town. Tourism is the main economic activity of Ericeira, and associated to the surf industry has enjoyed significant growth over the years. We can say that nowadays, Ericeira is a village dedicated to surfing.
In a village with about 8,500 inhabitants, there are about 30 accommodation establishments geared for this type of product, 10 surf shops, shapers 11 and 20 surfschools legally recognized.