Boardriders Skate Park
The Quicksilver skate park, Boardriders, is a fun place for both kids and parents.
Boardriders is also a skate & surf school and shop, as well as a bar with a cool terrace. From the terrace, you can watch the action, both in the skate park below and in the surf spot Matadouro, ahead.
On top of that, there is a panoramic sunset view over the sea. In the summer, some evenings even start with live music. This is the closest to a party some of us parents ever get…
The ban on scooters. This is the downside for families with small children. Scooters are not allowed, even if there is no one else in the park, but your 2-year-old and you.
On the other hand, you can always use the ramp at the back of the park for scooting. This is not quite the same experience but can be fun.
You will find Boardriders on the main road from Ericeira to Ribeira d’Ilhas, just before the Camping park and within walking distance from the town center. There is a car park.
Viveiros Batalha: garden center and zoo
This is the largest garden center in Ericeira and, at some point, was one of our favorite spots in town. So much so, that we have even made a poem to celebrate this, which you can read here.
This is the place where we buy our seeds, plants, tools, and pottery but, not only.
Our toddler loves their zoo! And, with free entrance, there is no reason not to make him happy.
The zoo is at the back of the shop, where you can buy 50 cents worth of grains for feeding the animals if you want to, but you do not have to.
We often bring our empty egg boxes and get some more fresh eggs from the counter, on the way out.
There is a network of old ways and paths running from the garden center that can take you all the way to Mafra or Ribeira d’Ilhas, for example. Bring a picnic, a bike or, a pair of wallies, and off you go exploring.
The swan can bite you through the fence, watch out!
The shop and Zoo are closed at lunchtime, from 12:30 to 2 pm. Other than that, the shop is open every day from 8:30 am to 6 pm, in the winter, and to 7 pm from April.
You can find Viveiros Batalha just off the national road from Ericeira to Mafra or, up the vale past Santo Isidoro, in Pinhal dos Frades. There is a car park.
Aldeia da Mata Pequena
This is the cutest, traditional village that was bought and restored by a local guy, who could see the full potential of these old houses.
Children love exploring the place and watching the livestock, such as pigs and goats.
You can eat at the only small restaurant in the village and enjoy the breathtaking view over the surrounding hills and vale.
If your children are older than mine, who is 2 years old, you can take them for a stroll, following the beautiful path down to the vale and back again. This 40-minute walk is well worth the exercise, and you will see many wildflowers and walk along a stream.
You can even book one of the houses for an overnight stay.
On weekdays, the restaurant is only opened in the evenings. I can not think of anything else at the moment, sorry.
The village is within a 20-minute drive from the center of Ericeira, in Igreja Nova. The surroundings are beautiful and the drive on the small roads on the hills is quite pleasant.
Cerco Garden park
The beautiful Cerco Garden is sure to please the whole family, with a working windmill, a well-equipped playground, and a large picnic area. Little ones also love the colorful birds, the guinea pigs, the fish ponds, and the water lilies.
The sound and sight of the water are quite relaxing. Water is the key element in this park, flowing from the water mill, through the aqueduct, to all the numerous ponds in the garden.
There is plenty of room for adventure, for letting one’s imagination run freely. One may notice a secret passage, a remarkable wildflower, a bird or butterfly…
The closest car park is paid, only €0.60 an hour, though.
This park is conveniently located in the heart of Mafra, in front of the coffee shops, post office, and banks, and sided by a car park and the impressive National Palace of Mafra. You can not miss it.
The Brotfest Mafra, in the Cerco Garden
The Brotfest Mafra is the annual bread festival that takes place in the Cerco garden. This fun and the delicious event will be happening from July the 5th to the 14th this year, in 2019. Watch a video from last year’s festival here.
The festival counts with numerous folklore exhibitions and concerts with big names of the national music. For children, there is storytelling and other activities. All free of charge.
The relatively small space still feels roomy and cool, fun and relaxing. Great for families, and everyone else. You can sample the local traditional food and beverage, and buy local crafts from the many stalls. Prices are generally pretty good, which surely is an incentive for supporting the local economy while indulging oneself, right?
Some of the food is served in paper containers, which is great. However, drinks are served in plastic and the cutlery is plastic too. At least, we can minimize the use of plastic by reusing our cutlery and glasses throughout the festival.
Parking at lunchtime on the weekends: you might have to park a bit farther than usual. But there will be a place for you.
Same as to Jardim do Cerco above.
Aldeia tipica Jose Franco
This is a fun, real-size replica of a traditional, small village. This was made in clay by the local pottery artist who gave the village its name.
Children like watching the miniature village which has some animated features such as the moving will and the running water.
There is also a replica of the beach in the town center, Praia dos Pescadores. You may need to push a bottom to kick fun started with music and lights.
Other points of interest for little ones are the big windmill and, of course, the playground area.
In one of the little houses right by the entrance, you can watch an artisan shaping the clay into traditional pottery pieces. Whereas, in the shop next door, you can buy some souvenirs made of clay.
If you are not vegetarian, eat the popular bread “pao com chourico”, anytime, and the traditional Cozido à Portuguesa.
The location, just by the road. Although, this makes the place easy to spot.
Partially closed on Mondays.
The style, verging the cheesy. On the other hand, this is what gives the village its character.
You will find the village by the main road, on your right side when driving from Ericeira to Mafra, in Sobreiro. There is a big car park at the back and a convenient bus stop just in front.
Praia do Sul sea pool
At low tide, Praia do Sul’s sea pool is perfect for children. The sea in Ericeira can be quite rough, so being protected by the waves makes this a special spot.
The authentic restaurants and cafes immediately by the beach, make Praia do Sul the perfect spot to hang out. Here, you can combine going to the beach with having a drink or meal while watching the surf. This is usually quite relaxing, and sometimes, unexpectedly exciting!
In early October last year, we watched the table next to us being washed by a wave: the seafood, the prosecco, and the 4 ladies, none were spared. Whereas for us, we managed just fine. On top of the delicious grilled fish and dramatic view, being so close to the edge was quite exciting.
To keep in mind, however, is that this involves some planning ahead. You will only want to take your small children there in low tide. Check the tide forecast for Ericeira here.
Praia do Sul is within a short walk from the main square in town, Praça da Répública also known as Praça do Jogo da Bola.
The sea pool by the hotel.
In the summer, if you must drive, try to arrive early to find a place. There are 2 car parks, one right by the Vila Gale Hotel and, the other, on the opposite end of the beach. You will find this by following the signs to Praia do Sul.
Ribeira d’Ilhas is the most popular surf beach in Ericeira.
The beach is fun, with a good-sized sandbank and a stream that runs through it, called Ribeira do Cuco. At high tide, the seawater goes up the stream, making it bigger and cleaner. Children love playing there, whether skimboarding, bodyboarding or just fetching water in a bucket.
The beach is served with a restaurant & bar, as well as toilet and shower facilities and, of course, surf schools.
The large area between the facilities and the beach is popular with children scooting, riding bikes, skateboarding, and just playing.
You can watch the waves live here.
The sea is rough and the waves make the pebbles roll-up “massaging” our feet and shin.
At low tide, when the water is stagnant or the flow is only small, the stream does not look particularly attractive. This water has run about 20 km, through a handful of horticultural land, all the way from its spring in Mafra.
So, in Low tide, go to Praia do Sul, and in high tide, to Ribeira d’Ilhas or Foz do Lisandro. Check the tide forecast for Ericeira here.
Ribeira d’Ilhas: getting there
Ribeira d’Ilhas is the most consistent surf spot in town. The downside is, if any, being too popular. So, keep in mind that during the summer, the car park becomes small for the demand. Try to arrive early in the morning, before 10 am, or later in the evening, after 6 pm.
If you are in the center of Ericeira, for instance, and can walk a couple of km, it is a good idea to leave the car at home. There is a seaside path that stretches from Ericeira to Ribeira d’Ilhas.
Alternatively, you can take the beach bus that runs hourly, from Ribeira d’Ilhas to Foz do Lisandro, passing by the Camping site, the Bus Station, and the town center. The ticket costs € 1 and covers your surfboard and you can buy this on the bus. If you have the new public transport pass for Greater Lisbon, Viva Navegante Metropolitano, this service is free. Find out how to get your pass here.
Foz do Lisandro
Foz do Lisandro is, in some ways, similar to Ribeira d‘Ilhas, only bigger. The beach has a larger sandbank that is crossed by a river called Lisandro.
People often do stand-up paddleboarding in the Lisandro, and children like playing and splashing in the calmer, warmer water.
Surf-wise, this is a beginner-friendly spot.
The facilities are similar to Ribeira d’Ilhas. There are more restaurants and bars here, though.
For bathing, the sea is a bit rougher side here too.
The river that runs into the beach also passes horticultural land on its way down to the sea. Out of curiosity, you can walk along the Lisandro and follow its course through the fields.
For this, just follow the signs to Senhora do Ó, park opposite the church and, with your back to the church, follow left.
The bars & restaurants closing time feels a bit too early. For example, on a sunny day at the end of March, we could no longer buy a pressure beer after 6 pm.
The car park often becomes small in the summer. So, arriving early or taking the beach bus can be a good idea.
Sao Lourenco Beach
Large beach with a cute pedestrian beach bridge, lake, and ducks, as well as a coffee shop.
There is a walking path that goes from the beach car park to the other side of the main road. The path passes under the main road bridge and along the stream. There is a beautiful, small bridge, after which the dust beat track continuously. This is a beautiful walk or bike track to do with a small child.
The coffee shop is closed in the winter. This may be rather blessing disguised, though.
Parque desportivo Municipal de Mafra
The Parque Desportivo Municipal de Mafra has a decent playground and green area, as well as a picnic park and a small coffee shop.
The park also counts with a running track, tennis court, football pitch, skate park, and more.
Moreover, within the park, there is a little train service that takes people from the entrance to the activities area. The train runs every 15 minutes, more or less, and matches the scheduled activities. This is, clearly, our son’s favorite attraction!
In addition, there is an outdoor swimming pool, which is open from mid-July to mid-September and, for a small fee, can be used by anyone. The family pass, including 2 adults and 2 children, costs €12,50.
The indoor swimming pool is only available for swimming activities or lessons, for a monthly fee. It would be nice to be able to use this sporadically, though.
Sadly, the train is for members’ use only.
There is a bus stop nearby and a car park just by the entrance. The park is between the secondary school and the industrial park in Mafra. The opening time is from 8 am to 10 pm.
Santa Marta park
On the seafront, next to Praia do Sul and behind the Vila Gale Hotel, is Santa Marta park. This is, without a doubt, one of our favorite playgrounds in Ericeira.
The playground has some wooden houses, fun rides, a climbing tower and slide, some swings, a skating rink, and, often on weekends, a trampoline and bouncing castle.
There are a couple of restaurants there too, including the traditional Furnas, about which, the view still is the best.
There is a large coffee shop within the playground area, which has been there for many years. However, this shop is currently closed, which is a shame. I know a handful of parents who would love to sip on some coffee, while little ones play.
There is a car park and the Vila Gale, the massive white-and-green hotel by Praia do Sul. However, if you are in Ericeira, you are likely to be able to walk there.
Sao Sebastiao Playground
The beautiful sea view, makes the playtime particularly therapeutic, at least for parents.
Despite the proximity to the main road, this is a pleasant place to hung out.
A popular playground with friendly people, where there is always someone to chat to. This has been my impression so far.
There is a coffee shop and a convenient car park. And, if you are in Ericeira, you will probably be able to walk there.
The playground has a fence and gates, which helps to avoid unannounced runaways.
The proximity to the road. Although the playground has a fence, the surrounding park area, coffee shop, and terrace give free access to the main road. This can be problematic with active small children, running towards the traffic.
By the seaside, on top of Sao Sebastiao beach. There is a handy car park, just before the coffee shop.
Praca do jogo da bola
The Praca do Jogo da bola is the main square in the old town center, where everything happens. This is the place where locals gather for breakfast, and where public parades and celebrations generally take place.
The Praca do Jogo da bola is with café terraces and popular shops, such as the book shop, the pharmacy, the barber, and so on.
This car-free space is popular with families, where children can play and parents relax. There are 4 fun rides on the square, and another 3 close by.
Around the trees, we can sometimes find some dog poo, broken glass, and cigarette butts. Since small children pick on anything they see, this is something we can improve.
This is the square right in the center of Ericeira, following signs to Mercado and correios. If you cannot walk there, try to park on the N247 road or above. As soon as you drive down, in front of Ericeira Business Factory, the parking is paid and less abundant.
Parking on the street in the center of Ericeira, you can have a first hour free, outside summer though. Push the yellow button, select the first option of two “estacionamento por matricula”, fill in the gap with your registration plate number, then, push the green button.
Have fun! and share with us your experience. We would love to hear from you.