Discover a unique blend between a real fishing port and the cosmopolitanism inherited from the Belle Époque when the seaside resort of Figueira da Foz was the most visited in Portugal.
Bairro Novo: Art Nouveau in Figueira da Foz
If you are strolling through Figueira, you should visit the block which was built during the 1860s and, inspired by some French resorts, faces the sea. The “Bairro Novo” (New Block) was the city’s reaction to the increasing number of summer visitors who would come to Figueira da Foz and some of the most beautiful houses of the turn of the century, with many Art Noveau and Art Deco elements, were built there.
History and Culture
Admiring Figueira da Foz historical heritage is also a reason to discover the city. You can start by visiting Dr. Santos Rocha Municipal Museum where you will be able to admire great archaeology, African and Oriental ethnography, numismatic, painting, sculpture, ceramic and furniture collections. You can then visit Casa do Paço which will inspire you with its tile collection. You can then take a tour through the local churches, admire the Saint Antony Convent paintings or the 15th century stone retable at Saint Julian Church, the oldest in the city. You can still visit the Sea Museum which keeps the memory of local fishing communities, the Maiorca Palace or the Saint Catherine Fountain and its little chapel which are mandatory sights in the city paths.
Figueira da Foz beaches
The city of Figueira da Foz will strike you with the unrivalled beauty of its fascinating beaches.
With unique brightness, Claridade Beach became famous during the 19th century when the extraordinary development of Figueira da Foz and the natural conditions of the landscape attracted bathers from all over the country. The beaches of Figueira, made famous by Ramalho Ortigão who wrote that bathing was “a general rendezvous for all the seaside population” which demanded certain “apparatus and toilette”, were definitely included in the summer map of Portuguese bathers.
Nowadays, garment demands are not so strict but the beach is still a meeting place where unforgettable days are spent among terraces, awnings and parasols. Whether you are looking for a sweet far niente or want to try surf, windsurf, sailing or rowing, Figueira da Foz is still the “Queen of Portuguese Beaches”.
This long (up to several 100 metres) high quality right point break is mostly more of a carving wave, but there are some steep tubular sections. Actually, there are at least 3 point breaks that can connect with the right swell and form a really long wave.
The Buarcos wave is considered Europe’s longest right point break.
This is one of Europe’s widest beaches with easy waves.
The jetty generates fast hollow waves, the beachbreak too, but not as consistent. It only takes around 10 minutes to get to Buarcos from Cabedelo.
Figueira da Foz does have great waves, including an unbelievable mile-long right hand break. There are even Aussie and Californian surfers that travel across the world to ride it! Just like worldwide surf legend Kelly Slater said: “Surf is a mafia. Once you’re in, you’re in”!
Figueira da Foz by night
Figueira da Foz is more than just beach days. The seashore is the city’s ex-libris, but there is another milestone which is just as popular: the Figueira da Foz Casino. It was inaugurated in the final years of the 19th century with the name Theatro-Circo Saraiva de Carvalho, and it added a cosmopolitan touch to Figueira which still lives on until today. Nowadays, it has daily shows, game rooms, bars and traditional Portuguese food restaurants and is still one the greatest entertainment centres in Figueira da Foz at night, along with its wide variety of bars, clubs and terraces. If you prefer a quiet night, you should try a stroll along the seashore.
Figueira da Foz surroundings
Home of one of the most ancient and prestigious universities in Europe, Coimbra is a truly gem that you can not possibly miss! One of the most important cities in Portugal, Coimbra, beautifully embraced by the Mondego River, was once the capital of the Portuguese kingdom and continues to be a deeply fascinating city, owner of a glorious History, magnificent monuments and historical landmarks.
It is quite easy to get from Figueira da Foz to Coimbra, either by highway A14 (43 minutes) or by train (39 minutes).
Also worth-mentioning is the stunning Lighthouse of Cape Mondego, the place to understand the formation of the Atlantic Ocean; spotting flamingos in Morraceira island or even learning about Dinosaurs in Figueira da Foz! Don't miss the chance to visit the magnificent Castle of Montemor-o-Velho.