There are various theories as to the origin of the name Figueira da Foz. Locals at this seaside town’s busy fishing harbor favor the literal translation: "the fig tree at the mouth of the river." The belief is that when this was just a small settlement, oceangoing fishermen and traders from up the river would arrange to meet at a big fig tree to conduct business. Although there are no fig trees to be seen now, the name has stuck.
Shortly before the turn of the last century, with the improvement of road and rail access, Figueira, with its long, sandy beach and mild climate, developed into a popular resort. Today, a broad four-lane divided boulevard lined with palm trees runs along its length, and large parts of the beach have been designated to tourist activities.
Families with young children love Figueira because of the wide range of activities. Couples and solo travelers may prefer to be based in the nearby fishing village of Buarcos with its largely unspoiled beach, colorful tiled buildings, and sophisticated bars and restaurants.