A recommended excursion in the north of Portugal
Aveiro, Portugal’s small Venice.
Aveiro is a small city, known for its canals and its recent urban developpement. It is an ideal place to visit both in summer and winter thanks to its mild climate during most of the year.
Traveling to Aveiro from Porto
Aveiro can be easily visited in one day, mainly because it is not a big city and its main attractions are close to each other. It is an ideal excursion from Porto or from other nearby cities.
What to do in Aveiro
The city has three canals that divide the city in two parts. The northern part of the main canal leads to the old fishermen’s houses of another era. To the south you can find the historic buildings of the city.
The canals were used until recently to transport salt and edible seaweed in the “Moliceiros”, a kind of gondola that is now used for touristic rides. These waterways are certainly far from being a world heritage site, like the ones in Amsterdam, but you will find that they are unique and have an allure of their own.
The good thing is that like the Dutch capital, the city is completely flat, ideal for walking or cycling.
You can also go to its extensive and beautiful beaches which we talk about below.
What to see in Aveiro
A recommended route in Aveiro is to walk through the center, along the banks of the ria (the coastal inlet). Starting at the Jardim do Rossio (click to see it on the map) and continue following the canal path towards the Forum Aveiro Shopping Center area.
You can stop at the traditional bakeries and taste the local sweets, rest on the benches, admire the art-deco buildings and see they Moliceiros passing by…
Follow the route to the beautiful Hotel Ría Meliá Aveiro, where you will also find an eye-catching red brick building that once functioned as a ceramics factory.
One of the main buildings in the city is the Convento de Jesus, which now houses the Museum of Aveiro. This old church, belonging to the 15th century, has a Baroque interior decor.
In front of the city museum is the small Cathedral da Sé de Aveiro. It is a building without much detail, where you can appreciate its ornamental tiles and an organ from the 17th century.
Vista Alegre Museum
Not far, there is the option to visit the Museum of Vista Alegre, one of the best-selling porcelain brands in the world. It is so prestigious, that the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, and the King of Spain, Juan Carlos, have ordered pieces from this house. The place is very nice, but has a ghost town character, because it used to be a closed villa that housed the factory workers.
Infante D. Pedro Park
The main and most pleasant park in Aveiro is the Parque Infante D. Pedro. It is just a few feet from the Aveiro Hospital and can be reached on foot from the Aveiro Museum or from the Forum Shopping Center area in less than 10 minutes.
This city park has a lake, shaded green areas and a children’s playground.
There are two good nearby options to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean. These are the beaches of Costa Nova and Praia da Barra. They are beaches with wide sandy areas where there is space for everyone. Most of the visitors tend to concentrate near the cafes and the main streets. However, in the more distant areas, lovers of naturism or nudism can find privacy.
Praia da Barra beach features a nice boulevard, beachside restaurants and cafes and a very extensive sandy beach. It is known for having the second highest lighthouse in Europe.
Costa Nova Beach
Costa Nova is famous for its picturesque colorful houses called Palheiros.which are located on the main street. Yearound, there are nearby kiosks selling something called “Bolacha Americana” and the famous”tripas”, very similar to crepes, but filled with some sweet flavor.
We recommend renting a car in Porto and driving here so you can get to know this region better.
Where to Stay in Aveiro
Undoubtedly the best area to sleep in Aveiro is the city center. We only recommend going to the surroundings if you travel by car, because public transport in the city is not well developed and its routes do not reach every district.
If you prefer to be close to the sea, in Costa Nova and Praia da Barra there are many apartments for rent.
Excursion to Aveiro from Porto
If you prefer to be accompanied then you can book a visit to Aveiro from Porto.