The holidays are over and me & the crew (that’s the baby, still waiting for the husband to make his return) are back in Norway where autumn hasn’t surprisingly autumn hit yet with full force and we are enjoying bit of sunshine and mild temperatures. I’m finding it hard to shake off the holiday mode and frankly, I haven’t even been trying. Hence this and the next week are mainly going to be all about beach, sunshine and Portugal. Doesn’t sound too bad now does it?!
When we finally decided on Portugal as our holiday destination, I started a feverish search for a suitable location, preferably two, where we could surf and soak up the sun. For some reason this kind of research lies on my shoulders in our family while my husband just checks in every once in a while with a distant “have you found something yet?” remark.
Well I did find something.
Two surfy, beachy towns of which the first, Ericeira, was conveniently located within one hour’s bus journey from Lisbon. The second, Praia de Barra located close to Aveiro, was only 40 minutes by train from Porto. And if you didn’t guess it yet, we did spend some time in the two cities in between tuning our surfing skills.
But for now, back to the beach.
Surfing Holidays in Ericeira
On approaching Ericeira it looked like any other touristy over developed coastal town, found especially on the Spanish side of the border. But then we ventured into the town and got momentarily lost (the place is not very big, hence you should not get lost for too long) in the older part of the town and I could not contain myself. Everything was charmingly picturesque. The houses, street signs, pavements, intense sunsets. I ended up constantly trailing far behind with my camera, while the two more impatient members of our family marched on in the quest of finding food and drinks.
But the beauty of the village came with the drawback of the numerous beaches being protected by high cliffs with steep steps leading to the beach and sea. Which for us meant that every beach day was bit of a mission with the baby and pram, surf boards, picnic lunches and other beach essentials.
Would I go back? Probably not with the baby, and especially not without a rental car. If the surf is not happening right there and then at your “home” beach, you do have to walk around or get a ride to another beach. And with the baby and pram and rest of the kit this was not so easy. But for party, YES. Ericeira is definitely a surfing spot where you can party all night long if you want to, not that I could do that anymore, I think. Yes, I admit it. I am a lightweight these days!
Praia de Barra
Praia de Barra was a different kind of fish altogether. Long sandy beach filled with colourful beach umbrellas and wind shields. Families on beach holidays eating ice creams. And if the surf was not happening right there and then, you had to only move a little to south or north without getting off the water.
The town itself lacked charm for sure. But you can’t beat a rental property right by the beach. I mean 20 meters from it. Right after quick breakfast I would hurry barefooted across the sandy beach for a morning surf kayaking session, surf to my heart’s content and then join the rest of the family for a fresh cup of tea before it was my husband’s turn to hit the water. And this was repeated again in the evening, this time with a surfboard.
The town’s breakwater with its smooth surface was perfect for bit of off-the water boarding practise. And it also served as the place to enjoy evening sunsets and check out the surfers who were catching the last waves before the darkness of the night.
Despite the lack of cozy cafes and amazing little restaurants, Praia de Barra is somewhere I could go back to. Although with Portugal’s long coastline, I think we still have the perfect spot to discover. Combination of Ericeira’s old fishing village charm and Praia de Barra’s accessibility to the beach is something that I will be looking for on our next trip over to the southwest corner of Europe. But until then, I think it’s time to think about digging the skis and snowboards from the storage and get ready for the winter!