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

Most summer 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. At the southern end of the beach are the remains of an old sea fort, Forte de Santa Catarina, and the Mercado Municipal, good for fresh produce as well as beachwear, lace, embroidery and other crafts.

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