Monday, June 18, 2018

Rail Trip Portugal - 2nd Whistle Stop: FIGUEIRA da FOZ

It's been about ten years that I haven't been to a European beach. I was thinking that e. g. Asia and Latin America are the places to be(ach). Arriving at Figueira da Foz, about two hours south of Porto and the second stop on my rail-trip along the Portuguese west coast, I stand so corrected: This place is the epitome of a South European vacation destination.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
As if the beach wasn't desert-like enough, they have these makeshift shelters that remind me of Beduin tents.

Mundane palaces, loads of cafés, bars, and restaurants - and a beach of the size of a desert!

Talking 'bout desert: It's deserted! It's June, the season just started, and I'm here on a Monday. This means that I have to share this fantastic, clean desert with about a dozen other wastrels.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
The beaches were much more crowded where these two came from.

While the beach is nice and serene, the water is wild and obviously dangerous - even when you just stand at the shore, you feel how strong the waves and the currents are. No wonder there were noticeably many lifeguards on duty; almost as many as sunbathers.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
Not many swimmers he might save.

And there is another natural force raging - the strong wind. They have umbrellas - to protect you against a sunburn - with attached windshields - to protect you against the sand covering you while you are reading or sleeping or doing whatever you please.
By the way, I'm reading a very nice book: The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma, a very intelligent and intriguing, yet airy and witty coming of age story; just perfect for a lazy hazy summer trip!

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
Figueira da Foz is not only a beach,....

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal's also a very beautiful town with gorgeous buildings topped by grand statues.

This place is a summer vacation you wish will never end - like these impressionist paintings by Max Liebermann or Joaquin Sorolla depicting bourgeois, maybe even wealthy families enjoying their summer retreat.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
There is this photograph in the Universal Boutique's hallway - and that's exactly the way I feel.

My hotel is located one short block from the beach. They put me in a room on the fourth floor, so I even have a beach view from my lovely balcony.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
Bem vindos tothe Universal Boutique Hotel in Figueira da Foz - Portugal's oldest hotel (although meanwhile completely renovated)

So the location is great. How about the rest? Let me explain it to you in fewer words and more pictures:

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
"Welcome to your tastefully furnished room,...."

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
"....we presumed you were an alcoholic, so we took the liberty to leave a small bottle of port wine next to your bed"

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
What a sundowner!

Got it? It's magnificent!

I'm a travel blogger, so I've stayed at I don't know how many hotels and guesthouses, apartments and hostels. And I must say that the number of stars never impressed me much. If a hotel is super-fancy and posh but it's leaking atmosphere or some special details, I leave it to others, even if it has five stars.

The Universal Boutique here in Figueira has 'only' four stars, but they are killing me with all these lovely details and courtesies - the bottle of free water, the - much smaller - bottle of port wine served with two petit fours, the posh coffee maker.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
For the few moments, I'm not in the mood for Vinho Verde or Port Wine.

There are not only the thickest and softest towels you can imagine in the spacious bathroom, no, there are also cloud-like robes to snuggle in after a good soak.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels / Figueira da Foz Portugal
It's all these small details: The wrapper of the lollipop matches the stripes of the pillow cover. And it's not by chance, the second one matches the green stripes.

I wrote about this dilemma already in my post on Kampot in Cambodia: It's terrible to be in a great place and to stay there at a wonderful hotel - I know what The Clash meant by asking: should I stay or should I go?

I tried to divide this great day of my life in two fair parts.

Did you miss this train? Here you can read what happened at the first whistle stop:

Note to the curious reader: Like I did during my former trips like e. g. Brazil, while travelling, I'll be posting little stories and reflections on my stay. At the end of the entire tour, there will be an extended travel guide with all the relevant information including addresses, links etc. 
Until then, just enjoy some special moments with me.

If you choose to pin this post, please use this picture:


This article contains affiliate links. By purchasing items through my affiliate links at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission that helps to run this site.

I was very lucky to be invited to stay at the Universal Boutique Hotel in Figueira da Foz.

However, all opinions on their facilities and services are mine.


  1. Any hotel that gives me free wine and desserts is ok by me! Looks like a great place to vacation.

    1. Agreed - but they do it in style, that's nice ūü§©

  2. I always base a hotel on the towels and sheets. That is so funny you mentioned this! It truly is the little things that matter.

  3. Jennifer SeiglerJune 20, 2018 at 2:38 AM

    Friendly staff, good location, and comfort are what brings me back to the same chain of hotels everytime I travel. However, this hotel you stayed in is fantastic! The free wine offer is awesome!

  4. Hola, que bonitas fotos de la playa cerca de Oporto, yo también he estado varias veces en Portugal y me encanta. Que buena elección de hotel has tenido, los hoteles boutique se caracterizan por su atención y sus bellos detalles. Lo tendré en cuenta para un próximo viaje con mi familia! xoxo

  5. Hard to say no to any hotel that gives free wine plus an ocean view! Looks like a fantastic place to visit if you want to get away from the craziness in the day to day life!

  6. You seem to have such a great time here! Thanks for sharing this one. I will take note of this for my future visit! :)

  7. Whilst the beach my have harsh seas, the city certainly does look beautiful. very colourful too.


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