Leaving Ericeira we go in direction of Foz, or the beach at Foz do Lizandro. .
If the tide is out we are able to go on foot along the coast. If the tide is in then we can walk the1.5 kms on the large pathway that follows the coast road. Why Foz? It is here that the Lizandro river, which springs in the urban district of Venda do Pinheiro, enters the sea. The river meanders some 30kms down to the sea passing by Cheleiros, Sta Suzana, Carvoeira and Sra do Ó before entering the sea.
An extense area of white sand with long waves, where many of the local surf schools give their first lessons to beginners, who love this radical sport. It is not without reason that Ericeira is the first European area to be voted into the international Save the Waves Organisation. This beach is pure fun. It has several bars that are restaurants and support for the surf schools during the day and at night are bars with karaoke and live concerts. There is always joy when youth is present. And here there is no lack of young people. .
It is also possible to take out small boats on to the river and pass the poplars and listen to the nightingales. Charming! Such a sense of Peace.
On fine winter´s days we can see some people out on parapents which take off from the cliff tops above the beach. An invitation to a day well spent! There is a large parking area right next to the beach.
After leaving the beach called Matadoro we go up the slope to the main road and continue. We soon come to a leisure area , where we can take advantage of the machines installed by the local council and try to get into shape, whilst the youngsters go to the playground to have a go on the swings or use the slide. Next stop is São Sebastião`s beach, former outskirts of the town and location of small factories among them the fish cannery and the “Pirolito” factory, manufacturers of a well known local fizzy drink of either lemon or orange flavour. A little farther north there was a factory which produced fishing nets, all made by hand for the local fishing fleet. This place was also the site of the annual garlic fair or Saint James´s Fair on the 25 th of July each year. This fair has been greatly reduced and now only a few local producers turn up each year to sell their goods. Actually the area is a hugh parking lote with landscape gardens and a children`s playground. The area is above the beach , which is reached by way of a steep and narrow stairway. .
In the square you must visit the chapel, built in hexagonal form and the interior of which is completely covered with XVII th century tiles. There is a a festival each year on the 22nd of January, dedicated to São Sebastião and São Vicente.
We then go down to the beach of Algodio or North Beach, a very pleasant beach greatly appreciated by the summer holiday-makers. In the miradouro or view-point in the Fontainha square there was a small fountain that collected water from the Calvo stream and was used by the local people for domestic use.
We continue walking along the road that is followed by the procession in honour of our Lady of the Safe Journey in the summer. We then come to Ribeira beach also known as the fishermen`s beach, used by families with children, since it is protected from the the north winds. In December of 2010 a new sea wall was inaugarated to protect the fishing harbour and at the end of the wall a warning light was erected and a small tiled panel in honour of Our Lady of the Safe Journey was afixed beneath it.
“Our” boats arrive daily from the sea, bringing the good fish caught in their nets. The fish is taken to the auction shed where the fisherwomen and local restaurant owners bid for their fish. It is an interesting event to watch. Then of course if we want to eat the fish we need to go to the local fish market or better still sit down in one of our many excellent restaurants.
Leaving São Lourenço and going south we arrive at Ribamar. When we go down to the sea we come to the beach named “Coxos”. Rich in iodine, it formerly attracted people suffering from bone related problems, many of whom had difficulties in walking , thus originating the name “Coxos”, which in portuguese means “cripple”.
Today it is a favourite of surfers. They have their reasons! They paddle out to sea on their boards searching for a good set. There is nothing crippled about them!.
Walking along the coastline you first pass “Praia do Cavalinho”and following that the beach at Ribeira D`Ilhas, a true Mecca for those, who love to surf. The rocky bottom of the sea means that the waves are much more uniform ,so making this beach one of the best in the world, where you can practise surfing or bodyboard. Since February of 2011 it has been included in the first european resort to be named as member of the worldwide surf reservation by the Save the Waves organisation.
For several years many national and international championships took place there, with great names in the surfing world like Kelly Slater and our “own” Tiago Pires.
Continuing about another 1km we can turn to go down to the Empa beach, where we can always see youngsters with their boards under their arms descending the cliffs.
Nearby we can find the Milregos Fort, this too built during the period of the war of restoration after Portugal`s separation from Spain. Originally to protect the coast it was later abandoned as was the fort above São Lourenço`s beach. During the 1940`s there was a plan to convert the fort into a hotel and tea room, but owing to lack of funds this idea never went ahead. The coast continues with small extensions of sand which are difficult to access. Nevertheless our athletes still manage to go there and have even baptized them, one I do remember is called Reef, the others unfortuneately I cannot remember. Then we arrive at the beach called Matadoro (formally the site of the local slaughter house). Here we can bathe, look for mussels, barnacles and goose-neck barnacles(all local specialities), practise surf and windsurf. This beach has been chosen by many of the local surf schools, that have sprung up in recent years, where they teach youngsters the first steps in the sport.