Ericeira, Nazaré & Aveiro

After a good night sleep, we regrouped for a coffee before heading to Ericeira. The day before, a man in Sintra told us about this little seaside town and how it was well known for great seafood (the best in the world according to him!), fresh each morning.Ericeira was very pretty. The architecture was kind of Greek looking, with white houses and blue door frames.After some looking around, we settled for a lunch at Mar d’Areia for a seafood feast (recommended by a local we met whilst parking the car).My mum and Jean-Claude opted for sardines (they were truly amazing), and Nick and I got some mackerel, vegetable soup, sardine pâté and a capsicum salad. All very tasty and worth the trip up the coast. Their goat and cow milk cheese is to die for. This was a very mature one that we just couldn’t stop eating!After lunch we made our way to Nazaré, a quick 1h15 drive.Our accommodation was so lovely. It was the owner’s grandma’s old house that he renovated as a B&B. Bedrooms were really big, nicely decorated and well located in the higher part of the city, very close to the lift heading down to the beach.We got to visit the tiniest lighthouse we’ve ever seen, but a very important one.It is located at the well known spot where the world’s largest waves occur, and they can reach up to 80ft! You’d need to be here December/January to see this spectacle; it was very calm when we visited.In the lighthouse there is also a surf museum that explains the reasoning behind the monster waves – it’s because of a 4km canyon that is located close to the cliff, combined with water pressure from the other direction and strong winds. They hold here international surf competitions in extreme conditions – those guys are crazy.Then we headed down to the beach using the fenicular, handily located on the mountain side. Easiest way to reach the beach: 1.50€ each way and a 5 minute ride.We went for a little stroll and saw the famous drying fish racks, where fishermen cut open the fish and let them dry in the sun before selling them to customers. Nazaré is well known for these racks.There are all types of fish available: sardines, mackerel, octopus, dori etc.Our host said to buy some and then pan fry the fish in olive oil quickly for maximum taste (although some people do eat them as they come which seems pretty gross).After putting our feet in the freezing ocean, we then enjoyed a nice cold beer at A Deriva Beach bar on the nazaré beach, before heading to Taberna da Praia to celebrate Jean-Claude’s 60th birthday.The food was delicious, the wine nicely fresh and dry, and the restaurant atmosphere was perfect with a nice outdoor table overlooking the beach.The next morning, we left Nazaré to make our way to Aveiro, over 1h30 drive away.Aveiro is a small town filled with canals where you can find gondolas (Venetian style) that take you around.It’s pretty small, with not too much to do or see, but the town is very pretty and home to a local sweet delicacy, Ovos Moles.We obviously had to try them, so visited Confeitaria Peixinho, the iconic place to try them in Aveiro. Again these are sweet egg related small desserts, again very tasty!We visited Costa Nova, a beautiful coastal town about 20min drive from Aveiro where you can find colourful fishermen’s houses, the fish market, and the old town.For dinner, we went to O Arco da Velha and enjoyed another Portuguese specialty: the shrimp rice. A traditional dish with onions, shrimps (ours had angler-fish as well), tomatoes and rice cooked with water to make the tasty broth. A real delight.Tomorrow we’re heading to Porto, where we’ll stay for a couple of days.#TheDexplorers

TIPS

  • Ericeira is the perfect lunch stop on the way to Nazaré. Very pretty and probably worth an overnight stay if you have time.
  • Our B&B in Nazaré was great. We really enjoyed it. Link here.
  • Aveiro is very small with not much to do. It would have been better to do it as a day/lunch stop rather than overnight.

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