Chill in Ericeira Portugal

Friday, January 22, 2016

After having lived in Portugal for nearly a year, surfing is a topic that comes up almost every day. And when the Portuguese talk about surfing, a favorite place often comes up.


They utter this word so softly as if they are still remembering that last perfect wave and they couldn't believe it happened.

So on our weeklong road trip from the north to south of Portugal, I told my husband that we simply couldn't skip Ericeira. This seaside community on the west coast of Portugal is famous for being chosen as one of the World Surfing Reserves, along with Malibu and Santa Cruz in California, Manly Beach in Australia, and Huanchaco in Peru. The beach of Ribeira d'Ilhas, only 2 kilometres north of the town, regularly hosts a round of the ASP World Tour Surf Championship and is widely-regarded as one of the best beaches in Europe for surfing.

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After grabbing one of those free surf maps, a colorful photo caught my eye. It said Chill in Ericeira, which is exactly what I wanted to do after days of driving along the coast. 

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This place turned out to be the best surfhouse with THE view at this spot! 

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We arrived a little before sunset and we couldn't believe our eyes when we saw our room!

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It was picture perfect, straight from a magazine!

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From our bed, we could see the village, the sun slowly sinking on the horizon, some of the best surf spots, like Foz do Lizandro, Pico do Futuro, Praia do Sul and Praia do Algodio, as well as the western point of Europe, Cabo da Roca. It's what every surfer could only wish for- waves just in front of your very eyes! And since we could see line after line from the high point of the surf house, we knew they were massive!

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Meeting Women Who Surf

I was greeted warmly by Ana who welcomed us into the surfhouse. She's been working with the team for a while and she surfs herself. After that, she introduced me to Joana Rocha who is one of the founders of the surfhouse. I couldn't believe I was meeting a former pro surfer in the flesh! She was the National Surfing champion and is a long time local of Ericeira. She became the first professional female surfer in Portugal and has traveled all over the world to surf the best waves and compete at international events for more than 10 years.

Chill in Ericeira Portugal - Joana

I couldn't help but gush and get inspired by this woman. We talked about traveling, Bali, and surfing of course. She was so humble and shared about how she started out and when she quit becoming pro and started organizing surf events to empower more women to surf. Around the same time, she decided to join her 2 friends and put up a surfhouse in Ericeira. Joana is truly the greatest ambassador of Portuguese surfing. And I was amazed to find out that she was soon to be a mother herself. 

The Chill Crowd

By nighttime, people were starting to trickle in from a day spent outdoors. We met Tommy, an Austrian surfer who had been spending weeks there. He was not always surfing. Mostly, he enjoyed the surfhouse's close location to the town and would simply hang out or watch a movie at the cinema. We also met Ivan from Italy who didn't seem to surf at all. He enjoyed cooking in the shared kitchen and sitting on the terrace to watch the sunset. Lea, from the United States, who has traveled everywhere and is still traveling at past 40, was a beginner surfer. She often joined the surf as well as yoga classes. Hans from Germany was a policeman by profession and he surfed every single day he spent at the surfhouse.

Chill in Ericeira Portugal - Edo

I then got to meet another founder, Edo, an Italian business student who fell in love with this magical place and found the opportunity to move here by getting involved in the surfhouse. He was the person who arranged our stay and he made sure we had an unforgettable experience. He's a surfer himself as well as a certified surf instructor. 

Surfhouse Design

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One thing that would strike you when you arrive at this place is how colorful and homey it is.

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The decor was unique and well thought of. There were hand painted graffiti and murals everywhere.

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Everything felt like someone just wanted to make you feel good while you're here. And that someone turned out to be Daniela, the 3rd founder.

Chill in Ericeira Portugal - Daniela

She's pretty unique herself, being half German and half Portuguese. But she's a 100% Ericeira local! She used to hang out at the beautiful beaches of Ericeira even before it became a world renowned surf spot. She's the only non-surfer in the team but that's a plus because she won't be stealing any of your waves and she makes sure your stay is as comfy and as fun as possible.

By dinnertime, Joaquim, the night life host slash surf teacher herded most of us to a local spot that served excellent seafood. His recommendations for the fresh catch of the day was the best. He made sure that we had a memorable meal and the best wine to go with it.

The Surfer Lifestyle

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Early the next morning the place emptied out as mostly everyone had left to catch some waves. I had opted to chill rather than surf this time around. I leafed through the many surf books in the living room and had a long and leisurely breakfast.

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They served a selection of cereals, yogurts, fresh fruits, bread, cheese, and sausages from the region. At around 10:30, everyone had come back hungry for breakfast and the place was filled with positive vibes, laughter and good conversation in many different languages.

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There are 6 world-class waves within a 4 Km range from the surfhouse: Pedra Branca, Reef, Ribeira d'Ilhas, Cave, Crazy Left and Coxos. Most of these spots are definitely for advanced level of surfers. But along the 11Km of coastline, you'll find a total of 22 very consistent surf spots with different characteristics, perfect for surfers of all levels, from beginner to professional.

If you're a beginner surfer, they have classes every day and they always check the surf conditions and take you to the most suitable beaches to learn. After a few days, you'll feel like a local surfer!

Not Just for Surfers

There's a lot of activities even for those who don't want to step in the water. You can go on tours and excursions, take pilates or yoga classes, go horseback riding, get a massage and enjoy the bustling nightlife.

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In fact a few of the guests were not really surfers. Some were there simply to relax, enjoy the view, walk to the nearby town, sample the local food, watch the sunset, and simply chill.

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Makes a Difference

I've been to a lot of surf camps and surf resorts all over the world. But what sets Chill in Ericeira Surfhouse apart is the people behind it. Everyone I met was passionate about surfing and the surf/beach lifestyle. They were mostly from different parts of the world so they attracted the same mix of people: global, friendly and happy. 

How to Make This Trip Happen:

-Chill in Ericeira Surfhouse is open all year round except in late November until late January which are the winter months in Portugal.

-Water temperature can be cold (especially if you're from a tropical country) so make sure you bring a wet suit. Otherwise, you can rent all your surf equipment here and lessons include transportation.

-Getting there: Fly into the international Lisbon Airport: Chill in Ericeira Surfhouse is only around 30 minutes by car. They can provide transfer to and from the Lisbon airport for 50 EUR per person and 20 EUR each for groups of 3 or more. Alternatively, the cheapest way is to take a bus from Campo Grande.

-Special thanks to the Chill in Ericeira Surfhouse Team for hosting us in Ericeira. We had a great time and we're sure to be back very soon!

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Chill in Ericeira Surfhouse
Address:Rua Manuel Pereira Santa Rosa, 8 2655-293 Ericeira
Tel:+351 918 439 462
Check them out on Facebook and Instagram

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