O artigo de opinião transcrito abaixo reflecte a opinião de um agente imobiliário britânico. Um retrato impiedoso sobre o "desenvolvimento a mais" a que a nossa cidade tem sido submetida.
Country Article / Postcards
Figueira da Foz: Too much development?
Figueira da Foz is one of the largest resorts on Portugal's Atlantic coast. Stretching north toward the fishing village of Buarcos (now more a resort suburb than a village), Figueira's fine golden sands are vast-it takes almost five minutes to walk from the promenade to the shoreline.
The town center is a mix of new-build apartments, brutish 1970s-style concrete blocks, and dilapidated old houses. A hypermarket is on the outskirts-but all I can find downtown are dowdy mini mercados. While many bars and restaurants are open, most are empty. The busiest place seems to be the Boa Sorte Chinese restaurant on rua Bomneiros Voluntarios. It looks inviting, and prices aren't bad: roasted duck with orange ($8), a bowl of rice ($1.30), and half bottle of local Dao red wine ($4.60).
Low season, low prices
Temperatures are lower than on the Algarve, but so are property prices. Just a 20-minute stroll from the beach, one recently built 86-square-meter apartment is $123,500 through www.habitatglobal.com. Though she speaks good English, Isabel Clara couldn't give me any square meter average. However, looking at prices, you can certainly find apartments for the ?1,000/$1,300 per square meter mark in the non-seafront part of Figueira's central parish of Sao Juliao and also in Tavarede parish.
For ocean lookouts, the main areas are along Avenida 25 de April, Avenida do Brasil, and in the expanding village of Buarcos. Here rates are more like $2,000 per square meter and upward. A 116-square-meter (1,248-square-foot) condo apartment in a Buarcos development with sea view and communal pool is ?195,000 ($253,000).
There's plenty for sale everywhere, including bars and shops as well as apartments. Maybe too much. The resort gets jam-packed in high summer, but right now, off season there's a strangely distressed air to the place, almost a ghost town feel.
Figuera da Foz has a casino, but it's not crowded either. It may well be busier at weekends-this is a Thursday night-but unlike Las Vegas, there are no free drinks and some of the clientele look truly desperate. (Is this why so many businesses are for sale?) One old boy is actually asleep at one of the equally tired-looking slot machines. It's only 10:30pm, but for once I don't feel like lingering.
Maybe I'm being a bit unfair to the town. Summer may have a very different buzz, and you might well enjoy having a vacation home here. So go check it out. Of course, the same applies to Figueira da Foz as anywhere else: It makes sense for property buyers to get a feel for a place in the low season as well as during the busy months.
P.S. The name apparently translates as "fig tree at the mouth of the river." One folklore snippet says a fig tree that once grew at the water's edge was where fishermen tied up their boats. Obviously it must have been a very large fig tree…