Ericeira, known for its stunning coastline and vibrant surf scene, is a magnet for travelers from around the world. Many of them want to explore Ericeira with their campervans – just as they do in other parts of Portugal. However, this small but very popular and hilly town isn’t as campervan friendly as some other regions in Portugal. Whether you’re an enthusiastic surfer or simply seeking a seaside escape, finding the right campervan spot in advance can greatly enhance your Ericeira vanlife experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the official campervan spots, wild camping options, and suitable parking lots to help you plan your campervan trip to Ericeira.
Note: when choosing a spot to stay overnight make sure to check the local laws and respect the local community!
Camping is mostly not allowed in not designated areas. Camping = opening the owning, leaving anything outside the campervan (incl. shoes, steps, etc.), using chairs or tables outside, using levellers.
What will you find in this article?
Official campervan spots in Ericeira
While wild spots might be the most attractive way of camping, they may not always be the ideal choice. There are times when you simply want to be near the center or have a secure parking spot, even if it means temporarily trading the natural surroundings for a few days and perhaps spending a few euros. If you’re considering a trip to Ericeira and require a convenient campervan parking spot close to the town, you’ll find the official campervan options listed below.
This is the primary and only campsite in Ericeira. If you’re looking to be near the surf spots and the town without worrying about water, electricity, or issues with the police related to wild camping, then this is the spot for you. You’ll have access to sanitary facilities (although they are not in the best condition), and you can park your campervan in a pine forest.
The Matadouro surf spot is just across the street, and you can easily go from the campsite into town without concerns about parking in the city center. Moreover, you will meet other vanlifers and can have the feeling of a small community.
Note: at the beginning of 2023, the campsite underwent renovations, and currently, only the left side of it (behind the 58 surf shop) is open for campervans. Additionally, prices have increased significantly since then. You can check the pricelist here.
|within walking distance to the beach surf spots, and town
direct access to toilets, showers, water, and electricity
other vanlifers = community
restroom facilities are not in the best condition
can get noisy if there are parties at the 58 surf shop
Intermarche campervan parking
This is a great campervan spot in Ericeira if you plan to spend a few days exploring the town. Situated next to the Intermarche petrol station it’s surrounded by some trees and offers a picnic area with a sea view. You can use it without paying which is why during the peak season it can be quite challenging to get a spot there. Facilities include access to fresh water and a waste water station. Tokens are only available at the petrol station.
a touch of nature
| limited spots
often quite crowded
Area Servico Autocaravanas at the bus station
Big, paved parking lot next to the bus station. Not very charming but you can stay there for a night or two. It offers access to fresh water and a wastewater station (paid with coins).
a lot of space
|can be busy
might be hard to find a flat spot
Parque de autocaravanismo next to BP
This is a small campervan parking area that can accommodate approximately 15 vehicles. It’s situated right next to the BP petrol station. It’s worth noting that it’s quite exposed to the noise from the main road since it’s surrounded by it on nearly every side. While it may not be the most picturesque campervan spot in Ericeira, if you’re in need of a place to stay for just one night, it’ll serve its purpose.
|a quite good location (close to Riberia de Ilhas)
next to a super busy road & roundabout
Lidl campervan parking
At Lidl, there are three spacious parking spots located behind the store that can accommodate campervans. While these spots are not perfectly level, and there are no amenities provided + it’s allowed to park there only for the duration of the shopping time it might be your last option on a sunny summer weekend when all other campervan spots in Ericeira are full.
|close to the center
located beside the main road
next to Lidl’s waste bins
Wild spots in Ericeira
If you had envisioned parking your campervan on the top of a cliff in Ericeira with stunning views, I’m afraid that this won’t be possible – not if your car is higher than 2.2 m. Unfortunately, all of the appealing parking areas near the beach have height barriers, preventing access for larger vehicles like campervans (examples: Pedra Branca, Foz do Lizandro, Praia do Sul, Riberia de Ilhas etc.). This makes Ericeira a less friendly destination for campervans. However, there are a few villages nearby where you can fully embrace nature and enjoy a relatively peaceful night in your campervan close to Ericeira.
Sao Juliao is the largest and most well-known wild camping spot in the vicinity of Ericeira. It’s essentially an off-road parking area situated right next to the beach. You’ll always spot some campers parked there, and there are no signs indicating that overnight stays are prohibited. The nearest campervan station is located in Santa Susana, where you can access facilities for fresh water and wastewater disposal. While it’s a bit farther from Ericeira, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the nature in a tranquil setting.
|a lot of space with plenty flat spots
direct beach access
surrounded by nature
|can be somewhat noisy and crowded at times
(weekends, good surfing conditions, etc.)
Foz do Lizandro
→ Google Maps
This spot is situated at the end of the road, leading to a small settlement by the river. You’ll discover some parking space there, although finding an even spot might be a bit challenging. It’s a tranquil and serene location with direct access to both the river and the beach. Keep in mind that it’s very close to residential houses, so it’s essential to be respectful to the locals. This means taking your trash with you, refraining from urinating or defecating outside your camper, and keeping music volume low, among other things.
immersed in nature
proximity to the beach and hiking trails
|limited parking spaces
the locals might not be happy to see you in front of their door
The road that takes you to this location begins right in front of the campsite entrance. As you approach the end of this road, you’ll encounter a height barrier that prevents access to the primary Pedra Branca parking area. Just before this barrier on the left side of the road, there’s enough space for two larger campervans. It’s worth noting that this is the only campervan spot of its kind in Ericeira. However, it’s not an officially designated campervan area, so keep in mind that overnight stays are prohibited here, although some people may still choose to sleep there.
proximity to the beach
|prohibited to stay overnight
dust from the road
cars passing by frequently
Wild spot on the cliffs
If you choose not to head to the Sao Juliao spot and continue driving further south, you’ll come across a picturesque spot located on the cliffs where wild camping is possible. This location offers a breathtaking view and direct beach access but it might be hard to find a relatively flat area. Be cautious when descending to the beach, as the path can be quite steep and occasionally dangerous. You can also explore some fantastic hiking trails heading south or north from here. Keep in mind that due to its clifftop position, this campervan spot is vulnerable to strong winds.
surrounded by nature
|exposed to wind
20-minute drive from Ericeira
Parking lots for campervans in town
Ericeira’s terrain features many hills, and its town center has narrow streets, which isn’t ideal for larger campervans. Moreover, the local community can become quite frustrated when campervans park in the center, occupying a significant amount of space. That’s why it’s advisable to park your campervan outside of the center. Below, you will find some suitable parking lots for campervans in Ericeira. Some of them are also a good alternative for 1 or 2 nights but mostly in the off-season (and at your own risk).
At times, usually during winter but not as a strict rule, you may have the opportunity to park your campervan by the Sao Sebastiao promenade. This spot is ideal if you’re into surfing, as Matadouro, Sao Sebastiao, and Norte surf spots are all within walking distance. It’s also convenient for exploring the town. However, do be aware that you’ll be quite exposed to the wind, and there will be plenty of people passing by.
|beautiful sea view
proximity to the town and the beach/surf spots
|exposure to wind
proximity to the main road
Big parking next to Cintramedica
There’s a large parking lot located next to Cintramedica clinic. During the peak season, you’ll need to pay for parking here. While staying overnight with a camper is not allowed, some people do stay there, especially during the quieter low season. It’s conveniently close to the town center and most of the spots have relatively level ground.
|plenty of flat spots
very close to the center
free of charge in off-season
|very busy during summer weekends
payment required in high season
Praia do Norte
Near Praia do Norte, close to Pastelaria 7 é Diferente é Especial, you’ll find a parking area that doesn’t have a height barrier. The available spots are limited, and it can often be challenging to find a free space. However, it’s worth giving it a try, especially because it’s situated right next to the town center.
|very close to the center
next to Praia do Nort surf spot
|very limited number of spots without a height barrier
Parking at Boardriders
There’s a large parking lot situated between the campsite entrance and the Boardriders surf shop. You can park your campervan there and easily access the town, the beach, or one of the parties at Boardriders or 58. Overnight stays are not allowed, but many park there anyway. It’s important to note that it might be hard to find an even spot.
|a lot of space
close to Matadouro surf spot
|a bit hard to find a flat spot
busy and loud during weekends
Where to park in Ribeira de Ilhas
If you plan to visit Ericeira with a campervan you will surely visit the most famous surf spot: Ribeira de Ilhas. When heading there with a campervan taller than 2.2 meters, finding parking might be challenging. The main parking areas at Ribeira all have height barriers. So, what are your options? You can consider one of these solutions:
On the right after the bus station
Just before you make a left turn from the main road to Ribeira, you’ll notice some cars parked on the right-hand side. It’s not an official parking area, but cars are typically allowed to park there without issue. However, be careful when entering because there’s a significant difference in height between this spot and the main road. Drawbacks include being situated right next to the super busy road and having to cross it with your surfboard. Additionally, manoeuvring a large van to exit this area can be quite challenging since visibility is limited when going backwards.
Before the height barrier
If you decide to make a left turn from the main road, you’ll notice a big, paved parking area on the left side – an ideal spot for parking your campervan. However, there’s a sign indicating that only surf schools are permitted to park there. I would advise against parking your vehicle there during peak hours when many surf schools are heading into the water with their students – they can become quite frustrated if your car limits their space. Nevertheless, you might consider leaving your vehicle there for a few hours when it’s less crowded and there’s plenty of space available. This option is the riskiest but it’s also the most comfortable place to park a campervan in Ribeira.
If you notice that the surf school parking lot is crowded, you can try to park your car at the very end of it, on the left side near the cliff. There’s space for a maximum of two larger vehicles. However, you’ll need to park extremely close to the cliff. Please be aware that the local police may approach and request you to leave. This is because the road you’d be parking on serves as a route for firefighters, and larger vans could potentially block their access.
Next to the wastewater treatment station
The most stressless but least comfortable parking spot is next to the wastewater treatment station. To get there, continue driving down the main road (avoid taking the left turn to Ribeira) and take the first right turn. There’s enough space for approximately 10 cars. The drawback is that you’ll need to walk to Ribeira for about 10 minutes and it can be a bit smelly.
Long term solution
If you’re considering an extended stay in Ericeira with your campervan, more than just a few days, the Ericeira Campsite could be your top choice. Here, you can stay for up to a month without needing to check out. After one month, a brief one-day check-out is required, and then you can check back in for another month.
In 2022, we called this campsite home for several months. Combining it with a nearby coworking space, such as Kelp (within walking distance), offers an excellent opportunity for a safe and stable vanlife setup. This setup allows you to work remotely, enjoy surfing, and take part in the daily life of Ericeira. One significant advantage for us was the affordability of this campsite in 2022. However, please be aware that prices have risen considerably due to recent changes at the campsite.
Alternatively, you can explore the option of joining a community and renting a piece of land around Ericeira. Some communities exist in the Santo Isodoro and Ribamar areas where you can rent a plot for long-term parking. Occasionally, private individuals (not part of communities) also offer their land for long-term stays to vanlifers. To find such options, it’s best to search on Facebook or WhatsApp groups.
Conclusion: Campervan spots in Ericeira
While Ericeira may not be the most campervan-friendly town in Portugal, it offers some nice campervan spots, whether you prioritize convenience, proximity to nature, or an extended stay. However, careful planning is advised to align the expectations with reality and be considerate of the locals. Thanks to this you will have an unforgettable campervan adventure in this captivating Portuguese coastal town.
❓Frequently asked questions❓
The answer depends on what you expect. If you are looking for wild spots on the cliffs with sea view (like in other parts of Portugal) then Ericeira is not the best place to visit. However, if you are fine with staying at the campsite or an official campervan spot then Ericeira could be a good stopover place during your campervan trip. However, be aware that it’s quite busy in summer so driving and parking might get stressful. If you want to skip the crowds visit Ericeira with your campervan off-season.
Most of them yes, if you follow the official (and unofficial) rules of course. If you don’t you might experience some unpleasant situations (e.g. doors scratched with a key, loud arguments in the public – we experienced both of them). What’s an unofficial rule? An example could be not to drive into and not to park inside the old town. The streets are very narrow so big cars can block the traffic (especially inexperienced drivers with foreign licence plates 😉).