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Ericeira: A journey through the World Surfing Reserve

Ericeira: A Journey through the World Surfing Reserve

Writing about home can be challenging. Putting down on paper (in this case, on-screen) why we chose a particular place as our base, our safe haven, always seems to fall short of what we really feel. That’s how it is for me with Ericeira.

I’ve already taken you on a journey through this beautiful land by the sea, about 50 km from Lisbon, which has so much history in its streets. But in this article, I want to tell you about the waves that made Ericeira Europe’s first (and only to date) World Surfing Reserve.

Ericeira Surf Travel Guide

Ericeira’s World Surfing Reserve waves

Ericeira World Surfing Reserve Ribeira d'Ilhas beach
®Jarno Colijn / Unsplash

The World Surfing Reserve consists of seven waves that are considered world-class for their quality and consistency. These waves benefit from the rocky bottom found on this part of the Portuguese coast, which contributes to their formation, along with the Atlantic swells.

They are:

Pedra Branca

A fast left that breaks over a lighter stone (hence the name) and offers fast take-offs. It runs from mid-tide to high tide and can be up to 70 meters long.


Heading north, next to Pedra Branca, is Reef, a right that forms over a flat reef plate. With a short, fast take-off, it’s unsurprising to see tubes here, especially on days with a north swell and a south-easterly wind.

Ribeira d’Ilhas

Perhaps the most famous wave in the whole reserve, not least because it’s the venue for many international surf competitions. As such, it’s also one of the busiest.

Unfolding in a natural amphitheater, this pointbreak right works with various tides and swells and can reach up to 200 meters long when conditions are perfect.


Until recently, it was an unknown wave for many, and some people never considered it a surfable wave. Cave isn’t for everyone and is extremely difficult. This risky right-hander breaks over a sharp reef at shallow depths, and its suction is so intense that the base of the wave is below the waterline.

Crazy Left

Next to Cave comes Crazy Left, one of the waves in Baía dos Dois Irmãos. This pointbreak is more exposed to the north wind and is less consistent. Still, when the conditions are right, namely with a swell over two meters, it can generate lefts as fast as they are long.


The crown jewel of the reserve is also the one with the most aggressive crowd. The perfection of this right at Baía dos Dois Irmãos is legendary and attracts some of the best surfers in the world. For this reason, the level of surfing here is high.

This powerful wave offers different sections and incredible tubes on the best days.

São Lourenço

The last wave in the world reserve always seems more timid, as it’s located about 300 meters from the beach. So, it’s unsurprising that it always seems smaller than it actually is. This wave moves a lot of water, but with the right swell (N/NO) and wind (SE), it forms powerful rights with several sections.

Before surfing in Ericeira, get insured
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A world hub for surfers

Since surfing began in Portugal, Ericeira has been on the surfers’ route. But with the World Surfing Reserve declaration in 2011 by the Save the Waves Coalition, its fame has gone beyond national borders.

Surfers worldwide now flock to this small Portuguese fishing village, whether on vacation or to take up residence. English is spoken everywhere, and the surfing community has grown exponentially. With them came more commerce and services, and the village developed while retaining its old charm.

Would you like to come surfing in Ericeira with me?

Through the Surf Travel Academy, I’ve prepared the perfect surf tour for you!
You’ll be able to have your first surfing experience or perfect your technique on some of the best waves in Ericeira and the surrounding area while getting to know the town and all the reserve that have put this place in the surfing spotlight.
Discover this surf tour and book your trip now. Seats are limited!

Ericeira, World Surfing Reserve
Explore Ericeira, Europe's first World Surfing Reserve. Learn why this picturesque village is the perfect place for a wave-focused vacation.
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Marlene On The Move

Marlene Marques

Marlene is the creator of Marlene On The Move. A journalist by profession, she created the blog to share her adventures around the world. It is not unusual for her to set off to discover new countries and cultures with a surfboard as luggage.



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