Perched on a rocky ledge 30m above a series of fine sandy beaches, ERICEIRA offers one of the few natural harbours between Cascais and Peniche. During the nineteenth century boats left from here to trade with countries as far away as Scotland and Brazil. Later, it provided a welcome escape route for Portugal’s last monarch, Dom Manuel II – “The Unfortunate” – who hightailed it to the harbour at Ericeira on October 5, 1910, fleeing into exile as Portugal finally jettisoned its monarchy.
Although it’s now much more built-up on the outskirts, and a busy resort in peak season when people flock here from Lisbon, Ericeira remains a laidback place of narrow lanes and whitewashed houses picked out in cobalt blue. It’s also renowned for excellent seafood – the town name is said to derive from the words ouriços do mar (sea urchin).