Ericeira, an old fishing town tucked into the rocky coast, is a popular seaside resort. Its core fans out from the sheer cliff, beneath which boats are hauled up onto a small, sheltered beach. The growth of summer tourism has caused a proliferation of bars, pubs, discos, pizzerias, and the like in the increasingly gentrified but still-attractive town center. But along the waterfront are a number of traditional seafood restaurants that are popular with both locals and visitors. Either end of the town has good sand for sunbathing; the south end is preferred by surfers, but about 2 km (1¼ miles) north of Ericeira is Ribeira d'Ilhas, one of Portugal's best surfing beaches. In 2009, Ericeira was declared Europe's first World Surfing Reserve by a global campaign to protect such destinations.
Perched atop the cliffs, the town's historic center is a beautiful place to walk around and explore, as it has completely maintained the traditional Portuguese coastal architecture that was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries when the fishing village really thrived. The buildings are all sandblasted white and framed with deep sea blues. The main fishing port in the center is also where the Portuguese royal family departed to exile in 1910 after the Republic was declared, not to return for a couple of generations.