Aveiro is the Portuguese Venice, for sure! Very close to the sea and the ria grow several canals inserted in an urban environment. This is one of the cities you must have in your tourist itinerary. José Saramago defines it as “a living body that connects the land to the sea like a huge heart.” Wise words from this writer describe Aveiro as an authentic city where the narrow and colorful moliceiros boats sail.
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An enchanting city mirrored in the clear waters of its ria. Natural landscapes, 19th century architecture and moliceiros sailing by. Situated in the center of Portugal, this city will fall in love with you right from the first corner. The ideal place for a getaway and to contemplate the best of its natural landscape, gastronomy and confectionary. The best soft eggs are from Aveiro and there is no better candy than this! A truly sweet trip through the beauty and corners of this typically Portuguese city awaits us.
WHERE IS IT AND HOW TO GET TO AVEIRO?
Aveiro is located in the central zone more precisely on the west coast of Portugal. It is 75 km from Porto and 60 km from Coimbra and is a mandatory stop mainly in the summer for its beaches and good weather. To the capital it is 254 km and the trip takes about 2h30.
The most effective and practical alternative to get to Aveiro is to go by car, train or bus. In the city’s station the Alfa Pendulares and Intercidades buses stop very often. The buses also allow a quick connection to other Portuguese cities such as Lisbon. Train tickets from Lisbon are around 28€ and bus tickets 17€.
HOW DO I MOVE AROUND IN AVEIRO?
The best way to get to know Aveiro is on foot. The city is relatively small, so it will be very easy to get around without needing public transportation. By walking you will get to know the city much better or you can choose to rent Bugas (bicycles) for free. This is a totally environmentally friendly option and you can get to know the city with an ecological means of transportation.
WHEN SHOULD I VISIT AVEIRO?
As the city is located near the Portuguese coast it can be visited at any time of the year. The city is neither too hot in the summer, nor too cold in the winter. It has mild temperatures that are perfect for visiting the most beautiful places. For nature lovers, springtime invites you to stroll through its natural landscapes. In summer, the beaches and clear waters invite you to take a refreshing dip in the sea.
Aveiro also has a strong tradition of festivals and fairs that deserve the attention of the most curious. The grandiose festivities in honor of São Gonçalinho take place in January and last for 5 days. This is a good time to get to know the city, as many devotees travel to celebrate and praise this matchmaker saint. The festivals are considered intangible heritage and an important contact with the people.
WHAT TO VISIT AND DO IN AVEIRO?
Aveiro is not a big city. Still it is convenient to organize your tours to better enjoy your leisure time. Below is a map with the location of the city’s main attractions. We hope it will be useful to you!
STREETS OF AVEIRO AND GENERAL HUMBERTO DELGADO SQUARE
It is not only the “moliceiros” and the “ovos moles” that characterize the city of Aveiro. In its streets you can see the traders and businesses that renew themselves. The city follows modernity without ever truly losing its identity. There are choices for all tastes such as cafes, handicraft stores, places of worship and unique natural landscapes. The General Humberto Delgado Square or “Pontes” is one of the city’s must-see places. It was built in the form of a traffic circle replacing the connection that was made by two bridges. Its proximity to the historic center makes most tourists visit it. In this place are also organized large events such as sports competitions and commemorative festivals like New Year’s Eve.
The Beira Mar district is the most popular and typical district of the city of Aveiro. It is where you can find all the traditional commerce and where you can also taste the typical Aveiro delicacies in the best restaurants. For meetings with friends on a esplanade is also one of the places of choice for those who visit. The houses in this neighborhood have a very traditional style, with colorful facades and all the surrounding area is of great friendship and mutual help. Visit this charming neighborhood and let yourself be dazzled by the soul of its people.
A RIDE ON THE MOLICEIRO
The traditional boats of Aveiro are called moliceiros. These boats circulate through the Ria and were used for harvesting the moliço and are now used for sightseeing. The experience of sailing in a moliceiro is unique and you can have an incredible view of the city from the main tourist points. The tour allows you to visit the city center and navigate through the 4 channels that exist in the ria. This moliceiro ride lasts 45 minutes, is very safe and the navigation is tranquil and very stable. Everyone can take this ride when visiting Aveiro. It is a mandatory trip!
Nature also exists in the center of the city of Aveiro. To find some peace of mind and contact with natural landscapes the Jardim das Oliveiras is a perfect place. Great for relaxing and with a spectacular view over the Ria channels. The garden is located on top of the Forum Aveiro shopping center!
GET TO KNOW AVEIRO’S FISH MARKET
Our Portuguese coast always offers the freshest fish with spectacular quality. And Aveiro is no exception! We suggest a visit to one of the best known places in Aveiro, the Aveiro Fish Market. Here you will find the traditional stalls and vendors hawking the best fish. The quality of this food is immense and you will find the largest variety of fresh fish just arrived at the dock. After choosing a good fish you can go up to the 1st floor and enjoy a gastronomic experience in the restaurant Mercado do Peixe where you will find the best fish dishes. You can also socialize with friends and enjoy the bars and cafes around this place.
WALK ALONG THE SÃO ROQUE CANAL
A walk along the São Roque canal to charge batteries and clear your mind. You will find on one side the Ria and on the other the Beira Mar neighborhood. With more than 8km long this place is perfect for long runs, for cycling, contemplating the green area around it or enjoying a magnificent sunset. The Canal de São Roque itself is where many moliceiro rides take place. A tourist spot that you really can’t miss!
SAINT GONÇALINHO CHAPEL
This emblematic chapel in memory of São Gonçalo was built between 1712 and 1724 and in it is represented the patron saint of Aveiro. This chapel is located near the channels of the Ria de Aveiro and the Bairro do Beira Mar having a huge meaning for those who live there. It is in the month of January that the inhabitants gather here to celebrate in honor of São Gonçalinho. From the top of the chapel’s tower are thrown chips that people try to catch from below. This chapel was built in Ançã stone and the façade area has limestone, where there is a statue of São Gonçalo de Amarante that dates back to the 17th century. It has been classified as a Property of Public Interest by IPPAR since 2003.
VERA CRUZ CHURCH
A 17th century church built over a chapel in honor of São Gonçalo stands out for its tiled façade. It underwent restoration work in the 18th century. A note also to the magnificent gilded carving in its interior.
VALENTINE’S BRIDGE (PONTE DOS NAMORADOS)
A bridge built over the São Roque canal in 1953. It is one of the oldest and most emblematic bridges of Aveiro also known as Ponte dos Carcavelos. It has a yellow color and is ornamented by the city coat of arms represented by the eagle. This bridge can be visited during a walk along the canal and through Bairro do Beira Mar. You can also contemplate it on one of the moliceiros (traditional boat trips) that go along the Ria de Aveiro.
AVEIRO CULTURAL CENTER
This Cultural and Congress Center is located in an emblematic building of industrial architecture. Designed by architect José Olímpio the factory Jerónimo Pereira de Campos was the designation of this building giving way to this fantastic space. This Cultural and Congress Center opened its doors in 1995 and is the place of excellence for holding concerts, plays, exhibitions and congresses.
CATHEDRAL AND CHURCH OF SAINT DOMINGOS
The church of S. Domingos is the current Sé. It belonged to the former Convent of S. Domingos. It was founded in the year 1423 and from that time only the carved stone walls and the image of a gothic virgin remain. We recommend a visit to this place full of meaning and memories of other times.
OLD TRAIN STATION OF AVEIRO
A place you can’t miss is the old train station of Aveiro. Its tile panels dating from 1916 show the people of this city as the fishmonger, the fisherman, the Barra Lighthouse and the salt marinas. An authentic work of art in blue and yellow tones truly represent the spirit of Aveiro. This space is composed of three large parts: a central part with three floors and two very similar parts with two floors. With a typically Portuguese style, it is an obligatory stop in Aveiro.
WATCH THE SUNSET AT THE AVEIRO SALT PANS
After a full day exploring the most beautiful corners of Aveiro you must finish in beauty with a sunset in the salt pans. The pyramids channel is a truly magical place where you can be dazzled by the pyramids of white salt collecting this precious commodity. Salt is reverted as one of the most valuable elements for the Aveiro region and with an enormous economic importance. The best end of the day in the city of Aveiro and with the best stops. A diversified city with so much to offer to those who visit it. A visit to our Portuguese Venice is a must!
HISTORY OF AVEIRO
Aveiro has always been linked to economic activities. It stood out for its growth and evolution in the areas of naval trade and with the production of salt from its salt pans. As part of the history of Aveiro there is talk of the donation made by the Countess Mumadona Dias, a very rich lady of the nobility. She donated properties to the Monastery of Guimarães on January 26, 959, where it is stated that Aveiro is highlighted by the existence of fields and the production of salt. In the thirteenth century, Aveiro is elevated to the category of town growing rapidly, increasing its population and economic growth.
In 1759, Dom José elevates Aveiro to city. Thus, it continued to grow and its excellent location caused more people to settle and engage in activities such as salt production, fishing and industry. The ceramic industry is also a reflection of the innovation of the times but also of the traditions and past periods. Currently this city stands out for its innovation and a path towards knowledge and science involving large industries and prestigious educational institutions such as the university.
VIRTUAL TOUR TO AVEIRO
WHAT TO VISIT NEAR AVEIRO?
The Portuguese Venice continues to surprise those who visit. Incredible landscapes make the city the perfect setting for an unforgettable trip. If you have some time left, be aware that there are many other attractions nearby. Below is a map to help you decide!
VISTA ALEGRE MUSEUM
Vista Alegre is a Portuguese brand known by Portuguese families and that spans several generations. Known for the quality and prestige of its china and porcelain does not leave anyone indifferent when visiting the city of Aveiro. Besides the several stores spread all over the country you can visit the Vista Alegre Museum, totally renovated. You will learn more about its history, the manufacturing process, see the artisans and all the Vista Alegre collections.
ILHAVO MARITIME MUSEUM
Founded on August 8, 1937, the Ílhavo Maritime Museum holds the best of what Aveiro has: its memories and its people. In this huge space you can visit a giant codfish aquarium, the Santo André museum ship and the CIEMar-Ílhavo research center. In this space you can feel the true connection of the people of Ílhavo to the sea and to its Ria de Aveiro. From cod fishing in the sea to innovation, these three large units are related to all the surroundings.
To recharge batteries nothing better than a walk along the city’s walkways. Challenge your whole family and walk the 7.5 km of the Aveiro walkways. Start at the São Roque Channel and finish by the Vouga river and contemplate woods, pine forests and the natural beauty of the Ria de Aveiro. Along the way you will also find small deserted islands, shipwrecks and its very special fauna and flora.
VOUGA’S HISTORIC TRAIN
If you’ve always wanted to travel on a steam train and never had the chance, the Vouga’s historic train is the perfect tour. You will have the opportunity to see the Vouga Line and board one of five 20th century carriages towed by a historic diesel locomotive. This train will take you from Aveiro to Macinhata do Vouga. You can then visit the Vouga Railway Museum and on the way back you can also visit the historical center of Águeda. In the summer period this itinerary will be ideal to travel back in time and enjoy the most beautiful landscapes.
BEACHES NEAR AVEIRO
If you are visiting Aveiro and if you like the beach, this map is for you!
COSTA NOVA BEACH
With a vast sandy beach and clear water, the Costa Nova beach is the summer choice for many tourists. The surrounding landscape stands out for its red, blue and green striped huts that welcome several families in the bathing season. The ideal beach for good sunbathing or for a walk by the sea.
Where the Ria de Aveiro flows into the sea, Barra beach is the ideal place to practice several sports such as surfing or sailing. The good weather conditions allow excellent bathing or a night out during the summer. Entertainment in bars and other parties are not lacking in this beach. You can also see the Aveiro Lighthouse that marks the presence of this beach from afar.
SÃO JACINTO BEACH
The beach of S. Jacinto is located next to the Canal da Barra. It is not always a watched beach but offers spectacular conditions for water sports. With a long sandy beach, it is the perfect place for long walks with no end in sight. To get to S. Jacinto’s beach you can do it by ferry boat (in Barra’s fort) or you will have to travel more than 30km by road.
The Portuguese coast offers the freshest fish and seafood. And of course Aveiro as a fishing area stands out for its delicacies to eat and cry for more. But not even the sweets escape! But let’s start with the main dishes like the eel stew. In the riverside areas you will find restaurants that serve eel stew as a main dish. Each place has its own secret, but it is the real eel that delights the most curious. The experts say that the eels caught in the Ria de Aveiro are the best because of their high salt content.
Cod, the faithful friend of the Portuguese, is also one of the typical dishes of Aveiro. There are 1001 ways to cook codfish and it is in Aveiro that you can enjoy this experience. You cannot leave the city without eating the real dessert: ovos moles. This delicacy made of eggs and sugar is spread all over the streets. But it has secrets! You can delight yourself with the ovos moles and take it home in a box or in wooden barrels.
RESTAURANTS IN AVEIRO
There are many good restaurant options in Aveiro. After careful research, here is our suggestion.
MARÉ CHEIA RESTAURANT
It has over 2000 reviews and an overall rating of 4.6 (out of 5). One of the most sought after restaurants in Aveiro. Those who know it and have visited it refer insistently to the quality of the food and the friendliness of the staff.
HOTELS IN AVEIRO
If you have decided to visit Aveiro, you will like to know that in the “Portuguese Venice” we can find options for all tastes and all pockets. Our suggestion is the most emblematic accommodation in Aveiro.
4 star hotel with over 550 reviews on google and an overall rating of 4.5 stars (out of a maximum of 5). The most complimentary comments refer to a great location in front of the Ria, very clean and spacious rooms and a staff that is always available.