Sports, Fun & Kid's

13 Things To Do with Kids in Ericeira for free

Boardriders Skate Park

The Quicksilver skate park, Boardriders, is a fun place for both kids and parents.

Pros

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…

Cons

2-year-old scooting the Boardriders back ramp, in Ericeira.

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.

Getting there

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

Viveiros Batalha - Garden center and small zoo
Viveiros Batalha – Garden center and a small zoo, in Ericeira – picture by Move to Ericeira, April 2019.

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.

Pros

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.

Cons

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.

Getting there

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.

Restaurante na Aldeia da Mata Pequena

Aldeia da Mata Pequena – The restaurant

Pros

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.

Cons

On weekdays, the restaurant is only opened in the evenings. I can not think of anything else at the moment, sorry.

Getting there

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

Pros

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.

Jardim do Cerco, Mafra, atras do Palacio Nacional
Jardim do Cerco, Mafra

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…

Cons

The closest car park is paid, only €0.60 an hour, though.

getting there

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.

Pros

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?

Cons

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.

Getting there

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.

Aldeia Tipica Jose Franco, vista de sobre a ponte
Aldeia Tipica Jose Franco, miniature village
Aldeia Tipica Jose Franco, overview from the bridge

Aldeia Tipica Jose Franco, the overview from the bridge

Pros

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.

Aldeia Tipica Jose Franco, swings
Aldeia Tipica Jose Franco

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.

Cons

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.

Getting there

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

Pros

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.

Cons

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.

Getting there

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

World surf reserve Ribeira d'Ilhas, Ericeira - by Move to Ericeira, April 2019
Ribeira d’Ilhas beach and Cuco stream, Ericeira, April 2019

Pros

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.

High tide at Ribeira do Cuco, Ribeira d’Ilhas – boy on a surf board

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.

Cons

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.

Seasonal Beach Bus time table. Ribeira d’Ilhas to Foz do Lisandro.

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.

Cons

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.

Getting here

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

Praia de Sao Lourenco no inverno
Sao Lourenco Beach in February 2020

Pros

Large beach with a cute pedestrian beach bridge, lake, and ducks, as well as a coffee shop.

Praia Sao Lourenco
Sao Lourenco beach Lake

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.

puddles in Ericeira
The path from the car park – Sao Lourenco beach

Cons

The coffee shop is closed in the winter. This may be rather blessing disguised, though.

Parque desportivo Municipal de Mafra

Pros

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.

Parque Desportivo Municipal de Mafra
Parque Desportivo Municipal de Mafra

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.

Cons

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.

Getting There

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.

Parque Municipal de Mafra train to classes/activities
Free train running within the Parque Municipal de Mafra, taking students to their classes/activities

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.

Pros

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.

Cons

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.

Getting there

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

Sao Sebastiao playground, winter play in Ericeira. Picture by Y. Tang for Move to Ericeira.

Pros

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.

Cons

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.

Getting there

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

Jogo da Bola, main square in Ericeira. The picture was taken by Michael Dierkes.

Pros

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.

Cons

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.

Getting there

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.

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One thought on “13 Things To Do with Kids in Ericeira for free

  1. Hello Deli. Thank you for making this post. We will move to Ericeira in August and one of our primary concerns were about places to go with our children and meet people.

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