The Ericeira coast is famous as the heartland of Portuguese surfing, and was named a World Surfing Reserve in 2011, which aims to preserve the globe’s coasts and surfing culture. The first in Europe, it was awarded reserve status because of its high density of surf breaks and its established surfing culture. The reserve actually starts four kilometres north of Ericeira at Praia da Empa and continues north to São Lourenço. Surfers rate the biggest challenge to be the so-called Cave off Praia dos Coxos, while the World Surfing Championships have been held at Praia da Ribeira d’Ilhas (5km north), which also hosts the annual Quicksilver Pro Portugal professional surf event. To get an idea of the cliffs, bays and waves along the coast, visit the small surf museum space above the Ericeira tourist office, which has interactive displays.

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