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Beaches at Ericeira and a vineyard in Mafra

This is the travelling story to Mafra Council, highlighting its gastronomy, Ericeira beaches and the wine tasting at Gradil village.

The starting point, was at Águalva-Cacém city, part of Sintra Council, towards the Ericeira. Firstly, we have opted having lunch and while the travel has been taking place we have chosen O Cantinho da Rosa restaurant distancing 7 Kms south to Ericeira center. The restaurant has a fantastic landscape view to Mafra monastery.

Mosteiro Mafra Landscape of O Cantinho da Rosa restaurant with view to Mafra monastery

As starter we have ordered mushrooms with sausage, and to main meal portuguese Saloio stew, Octopus lagareiro and portuguese picanha steak. There is a popular saying “the eyes also eat”. And it’s so true, the dishes were visually well presented and they were a delicious.

Linguiça cogumelos EriceiraMushrooms with sausage
Cozido a portuguesa EriceiraPortuguese Saloio stew
Polvo a Lagareiro EriceiraOctopus lagareiro
Picanha a portuguesa EriceiraPortuguese picanha steak

After lunch, we went to Ericeira, visiting some of its famous beaches. Ericeira is about 30kms Northwest from Lisbon.

Praias Ericeira MapaMap with visited beaches (without scale)

Ericeira beaches and its scenic coast, attract many surfers whole over the world. It´s considered World Surfing Reserve by the internacional Save the Waves, as the first in Europe and second in the world.

So, with clear sky full of light in a perfect scenary, with the Atlantic sea always in sight, following the coastal landscape we have visited some beaches:

Foz do Lizandro beach

It is one the beaches of Ericeira with the largest extension of sands. It´s unique in beauty due the mouth of the Lizandro river where is allowed to bathe. We have taken some pictures from the viewpoint where stands out the stair steps to the beach with the surrounding vegetation.

Praia Foz do Lizandro EriceiraIn the stair steps at Foz do Lizandro beach
Praia Foz do Lizandro Ericeira escadasUs coming down the stair steps
Miradouro Foz do Lizandro EricieraAt top of the hill at Foz do Lizandro
Praia Foz do Lizandro EricieraThe blue sea in the beach of Foz do Lizandro

South beach (or whale)

It´s one of the calm beaches, more wind protected and it has a shape of a bay. It has a pedestrian walk for a pleasant walk with the connection to the Vila Galé hotel.

Praia Sul ou Baleia EriceiraIndications to South beach
Praia Sul ou Baleia EriceiraThe bay shape at South beach
Praia Sul ou BaleiaThe north side of South beach Praia Sul ou BaleiaThe south side of South beach

Algodio and São Sebastião beaches

They are close to each other, although with different characteristics. Simply,the Algodio beach has a good areal extension.

The access of areal beach of São Sebastião is done by step stairs very pretty from the portuguese pavement

From the pedestrian side at top, we can observe many amateurs and professional surfers waiting to “grab” the best wave.

Praia de São Sebastião EriceiraSão Sebastião beach
Surf praia São Sebastião EriceiraSurfers at São Sebastião beach
Praia de São Sebastião EriceiraSight along São Sebastião beach
Praia de São Sebastião EriceiraStep stairs to São sebastião beach

We also haven´t resisted to take a picture to the beautiful chapel of São Sebastião with tiles from XVII century and the mark about the history of Ericeira village.

Capela São Sebastião EriceiraSão Sebastião chapel
História EriceiraStone with the history of Ericeira

Empa beach

It has a fantastic landscape, with a planar rock into the sea. This beach is part of two waves awarded to Ericeira as World Surfing Reserve naming Pedra Branca e Reef. Click here to know more about surfing waves.

Praia da Empa EriceiraOne of the accesses to Empa beach

Praia da Empa EriceiraEmpa beach

Calada beach

Then, we went further North to the Encarnação parish at Calada beach.

The beach has a beautiful natural landscape bounded by two great cliffs. It also has a viewpoint with a fantastic view.

Praia da Calada EriceiraThe viewpoint at Calada beach

Praia da Calada Ericeira Cliff at Calada beach

Then we left for the wine tasting tour at Gradil village at quinta de Santana. From Ericeira to quinta de Santana is about 20kms east.

The farm backs since 1630 and had several owners. Since 1969 Mr. James family is the owner of the farm with an extension of 40 hectares. At the entrance, the yellow house with green windows and a creeper plant is part of its story.

Quinta de Santana MafraFarm main house

The farm produces white and red organic wines in small quantities, resulting in complex and varied wines.

We started our experience in a relaxed atmosphere at the courtyard, tasting the first white wine. It was a 2019 wine with two varieties of Fernão Pires and Verdelho, a light wine and aromatic. Then the tasting followed other white wine, this time a 2018 Sauvignon with elderberry flavor, also aromatic, with good texture and long finish. Both of good quality.

Vinha Mafra quinta santanaThe wines preparation
Prova Vinhos Mafra Quinta SantanaRelaxation of visitors

According to Mr. James, as we progressed in wine tasting the intensity of the wine increases that is, from light to more round.

Then, we moved to other farm location. Between hills and valleys, a space opens with a natural landscape to one of vineyards.

We tasted more two white wines. One of them was the Arinto of high acidity, aromatic predominantly with apple flavor at least in my mouth.

Vinha Quinta de Santana MafraView of one of vineyards
Quinta Vinha Santana MafraObservation and wine tasting
Quinta de Santana Vinhas MafraThe interaction of wine admirers
Quinta Santana Mafra VinhaFarm natural space

We have approached to the vineyard for a better observation of the grape. According to the explanation the grapes give two harvests. The normal harvest from the “good” grape ” to the main wine production and the other for the latest harvest called “noble rot” of grapes to the sweet wine production as Riesling for example to dessert.

Cachos uva quinta santana MafraBunch of grapes
Quinta de Santana Uvas Mafra VinhoIn the vineyard observing the grape
Cachos uva Quinat SantanaLatest harvest noble rot
Prova vinho MafraEnjoying wine

After, we have visited the wine cellar, where the wine production processing takes place. This involves, the collection and grape treatment. Very briefly, grape treatment is related to quantities of sugar, acidity and the fermentation process where pneumatic tanks give rise wine. As a curiosity they are still treading grapes by foot in water tanks.

Cubas VinhoPneumatic tanks to wine fermentation
Lagares VinhoWater tanks for treading grapes by foot

Then we went to other room, where we have tasted three reserve red wines with three variations: Touriga Nacional, Merlot e Aragonez. We can say, they are mature elegant wines with good acidity.

Sala Prova vinhos MafraWine tasting room

This experience gave us a tremendous satisfaction and knowledge. We have learnt a little bit more how the wines are produced and how they reach their freshness, elegance and their different personalities in varieties.

There was still time to feel the calmness of Gradil village, walking by its alleys and taking a picture of its church.

Igreja Matriz Gradil MafraChurch of Gradil village
Vila Gradil MafraGradil village

The beautiful Ericeira beaches, the wine tasting at Gradil village, its tranquility and pleasures connected to nature are an unique experience of this travel. Obviousley the delicious lunch where we have enjoyed in Mafra Council couldn’t be more than a reference.

Travelling is wonderful!

Thanks to Manuel Manero for blogging recommendations and the visitors for their photos permission

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Rui Vasconcelos

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