Facing what the town claims to be Europe’s widest beach, FIGUEIRA DA FOZ is the largest and busiest seaside resort on this coast, its fabulous beach attracting a vibrant holiday crowd throughout the summer. It’s not an immediately attractive place – ugly high-rises blocks line up along the seafront – though the tight grid of central old town streets around the ultra-modern casino brim with shops and pavement cafés that give this seaside settlement and working port its own distinct and rather pleasant identity.

The town has a diverting municipal museum, but most visitors, however, are here for the enormous sandy town beach, which is 2km long and very wide – it takes a good ten minutes to reach the sea across the sands. Waves here can be pretty huge, making it a popular spot for surfers, who also frequent the nearby Praia do Cabadelo, on the other side of the Rio Mondego. The seafront suburb of Buarcos, around twenty minutes’ walk northwest of the centre of town, has some interesting restaurants as well as a diminutive maritime museum.

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