Ericeira

Picturesquely dotted across sandstone cliffs above the blue Atlantic, sunny, whitewashed Ericeira is our next  stop.

It’s a small fishing village whose name derives from sea urchins.

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The town’s main beach is Praia do Sul and while quite deserted in May it does get very hectic mid season.

The beach is also known as Praia da Baleia as a whale once washed up here. The bones can still be seen in the local museum in the Largo da Misericórdia.

In his guidebook, published in 1910, Baedeker described Ericeira as ‘a fishing village with excellent sea-bathing’.

In spite of burgeoning tourism this description still pretty much holds true today

The old village is a warren of whitewashed wall, intricate tiling and blue shutters.

Ericeria, although small, is making an impact on the world stage in terms of surfing.

The national champion, Tiago Pires, and many other surfers were born here. It currently hosts world championships such as the WSL World Surf League Tour and Quik Silver Pro Portugal.

Colourful Cascais

We head to Cascais’s market to check out some local produce but as it’s a quiet day I spend more time looking at the ornate tiling on the exterior.

These countryside scenes are examples of Azulejo – a form of Spanish and Portuguese painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework.

Azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, ordinary houses, schools, and nowadays, restaurants, bars and even railways or subway stations.

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After checking out a few fish we head out to the town again to scout for more architectural details.

There’s plenty of them to be found, mainly in shades of blue.

Legend has it that it was a Cascais fisherman, a certain Afonso Sanches, and not Columbus who discovered the New World ten years before the famed date of 1492.

So it’s only apt to feature some of the many boat themed tiles that can be found around the town.

Succulent plants contrast beautifully with this deep shade of blue on a back street house.

Azenhas do Mar

A short drive away from Cascais is the tiny hamlet of Azenhas do Mar.

That’s our destination for the day and we set out, all packed into the hire car, stopping to snap some decorative tiles onroute.

Azenhas do Mar is a picture-perfect village located by the Atlantic Ocean with white houses tumbling down the cliff sides.

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The main attraction of this tiny little hamlet is the wide and windy beach located at the bottom of a step hill.

It’s overlooked by a lovely restaurent and has a natural swimming pool that fills and empties with the tidal ebb and flow.

Even though the beach is fairly small, what it lacks in stature it more than makes up for in majestic nature.

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The pounding of the waves gets the adrenline pounding, creating a natural spectacle that we were spellbound by.

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We spent an hour just paddling, surf watching and getting covered in salt and sunlight.

If you take a climb up the cliff side you’ll get a wonderful view of the white houses clinging to the hillside.

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Even months later I can still smell the ocean and feel the sunbaked salt on my skin. For such a tiny place it packed a huge punch.

Sand, sea and sculptures

The sun’s out so we make the most of exploring the seaside town of Cascais.

There’s a nice town beach with plenty of sand and sea for the whole family to enjoy.

However I’m far more interested in knackered old buildings instead!

There’s a beautiful blue pallette to be found all over the town as well as this cute dog themed tile.

Here’s a view of another of the beaches further along the coastline.

Shivering in the depths of a British winter as I write this, I wish I was back there!!

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Naturally I am on the hunt for old, crumbly, graffitted things and I am not disappointed!

There’s so much colour, street art and tiling to snap away at.

And of course the obligatory magnet store that will add to the weight on my fridge!

The traditional Portageuse Cockeral can be found all over the tourist souvenirs.

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Texture and quirky details festoon the walls and tempt you into eateries.

Below the man stands in the square which boasts some typical wavey Portuguese black and white stone mosaic “calcada” pavement – this might make you feel a little bit seasick though!

Below are some of the detailed azulejos, tiles with different motifs, that decorate the town hall facade.

Meanwhile on the beach sand sculpters have been busy at work creating little works of art that will only last for a day.

All in all Cascais is a pleasant place to while away the hours, baking on the beach and exploring the little back streets and squares.

 

Cascais

Our final stop of the trip is Cascais, a bustling seaside resort with lots of restaurents, bars and shops.

Cascais has been  a favoured holiday destination since the early 19th century.

Historically Cascais was a minor fishing port but this forever changed when King Fernando II (1816-1885) proclaimed Cascais as his favoured destination for his summer retreat.

The royal seal of approval  encouraged the 19th century high-society of Europe to flock to Cascais as well.

This influx of money and political power funded the construction throughout the town of grand residences, lavish entertainment venues and fine parks.

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Modern day Cascais has plenty of impressive old architecture but it also has flashes of modernity around every corner including some impressive wall art.

On our first day we simply stroll around the town, aclimatising and enjoying hidden nooks and crannies.

As usual I am attracted to wall art and colourful urban paintings.

Luckily there’s plenty for me to chose from and I’m kept busy snapping away!

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