Faded, withered and decidedly rough around the edges, Mozambique’s second-largest city seems like a place that’s been left behind. Navigating the entrails of its shadowy port area, one half expects a modern-day Fagin to jump out of a concealed doorway singing creepily about the need to pick pockets. Yet, even seedy Beira has its highlights. There’s Macuti Beach, an unkempt but broad swathe of sand commandeered by weekend footballers and haunted by shipwrecks, some glorious if grimy examples of colonial architecture and a few eating surprises if you know where to look.
The heart of the city is the area around the Praça do Município and Praça do Metical. To the north is the old commercial area of the baixa, while about 1km east is Praça do Maquinino, the main transport hub. From Praça do Município, tree-lined streets lead south and east through shady Ponta Gêa and on to Macuti Beach.