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21km (13 miles) NW of Sintra; 50km (31 miles) NW of Lisbon

This fishing port is nestled on the Atlantic shore. Whitewashed houses accented with pastel-painted corners and window frames line its narrow streets. To the east rise the mountains of Sintra.

The sea gives life to Ericeira, as it has for some 700 years. Fishermen still pluck their food from it. The beach lures streams of visitors every summer, giving a much-needed boost to the local economy. Along the coast, cliffside nurseries called serrações breed lobsters. Lobster is the house specialty at every restaurant in Ericeira.

In 1584, Mateus Álvares arrived in Ericeira from the Azores, claiming to be King Sebastião, who had reportedly been killed on the battlefields of North Africa. Álvares and about two dozen of his chief supporters were executed after their defeat by the soldiers of Philip II of Spain, but today he is regarded as the king of Ericeira. In October 1910, the fleeing Manuel II and his mother, Amélia, set sail from the Ericeira harbor to a life of exile in England.

The crescent-shape, sandy Praia do Sol, the favorite beach of Portuguese and foreign visitors, attracts many travelers here. There are three other good beaches: Ribeira Beach, North Beach, and St. Sebastian Beach. All are suitable for swimming, unlike the beaches at Estoril and Cascais.