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Discovering Aveiro: the “Venice of Portugal”

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Recently, I had the delightful opportunity to explore the charming little town  of Aveiro, affectionately known as the “Venice of Portugal.” Situated gracefully along the central coast of Portugal, Aveiro beckons with its unique charm and captivating beauty.

Barcos Moliceiros in Aveiro

Its lovely canals, colourful buildings, charming bridges, and rich history and culture make it a must-visit destination for travellers who wish to explore Portugal’s authenticity and beauty.

Aveiro’s canals, originally built to facilitate the transport of salt and goods, are now the city’s highlight, where traditional moliceiro boats glide smoothly through the waters, providing a unique way to explore the sights.

Capitania do Porto de Aveiro
Capitania do Porto

We chose not to take the moliceiro boat tour and preferred to explore the city on foot, as I love walking through the alleys and avoiding the more touristy areas.

After all, the local architecture in Aveiro is a show in itself. Its elegant buildings display a charming mix of styles, from baroque to art nouveau, with facades adorned with colourful tiles that tell antique stories and give the city a unique charm.

As the city is small, you can get to know it well and enjoy it in just a few hours. I created a map here to help with the itinerary here.

Obelisco da Liberdade, Aveiro, Portugal
Obelisco da Liberdade

With its stunning Town Hall, the “Praça da República” square captures the city’s unique architectural essence. It is right in the city’s heart and is a lively meeting point surrounded by cafes, shops, and impressive historic buildings.

Praça da República, Aveiro
Praça da República

The Aveiro Museum, located in the old Convent of Jesus, is also a popular destination. It displays an impressive collection of sacred art and historical artefacts.

In the old Dominican convent, Aveiro Cathedral was the city’s first religious community. Its façade boasts images of Human Virtues and a tall bell tower. Inside, white limestone dominates, with chapels adorned in various decorations.

Also, don’t forget to visit Aveiro Fish Market. Dating back to the late 18th century, it offers fresh fish and recently underwent redevelopment for improved facilities.

Praça do Peixe de Aveiro
Fish Market

Aveiro’s railway station is an iconic landmark adorned entirely with blue and white tiles portraying regional scenes. This remarkable structure boasts the city’s most notable collection of outdoor tiles, which showcase Aveiro’s cultural heritage in stunning detail.

Furthermore, Aveiro is famous for its salt production. The city boasts historic salt flats, where visitors can learn about the salt production process and enjoy breathtaking views of the nearby estuaries. At the Troncalhada Ecomuseum, an open-air museum, you can see the showcasing of traditional salt production, with guided tours available.

Praça Marquês de Pombal, Aveiro
Praça Marquês de Pombal

Other places to visit are Carmo Convent, Misericórdia Church, Saint Anthony Convent, and Capitania do Porto de Aveiro.

Aveiro also offers a variety of cultural activities, including traditional festivals, music and theatre events, such as the Aveiro Canals Festival, which takes place every July.

What to eat?

Aveiro’s “ovos moles” are a local delicacy made with egg yolks and sugar. They are shaped into creative forms that reflect the city’s maritime heritage. I personally didn’t like them much, but I think it’s worth trying.

Other delights include fresh fish and seafood prepared according to traditional recipes that highlight the region’s authentic flavours. And here I can’t fail to mention the restaurant “O Batista do Bacalhau“, which has fantastic food.

They’re a bit off the city centre – Rua Padre Américo Areias de Vilar, but without a doubt, it was the best-grilled cod I’ve ever had, besides trying and loving “Migas de broa com couve” (a traditional dish).

Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal

Nearby

Near Aveiro, visit the Vista Alegre Factory for iconic porcelain and the Aveiro University Campus for contemporary architecture. Explore Costa Nova‘s colourful coastline and Barra beach with Portugal’s tallest lighthouse.

Aveiro Architecture

How to Get There?

Aveiro is easily accessible in various ways, making it a convenient destination for travellers.

By Plane
The nearest airport to Aveiro is Francisco Sá Carneiro International Airport, located in Porto. From there, you can take a taxi, rent a car, or opt for a bus or train to Aveiro, taking approximately one hour.

By Train
Aveiro is an important railway hub in Portugal, directly connecting several cities, including Lisbon and Porto. Aveiro train station is located in the city centre, making accessing major tourist spots on foot easy.

By Bus
There are several bus companies operating routes to and from Aveiro from various cities in Portugal.

By Car
If you like the freedom to explore, renting a car is the right choice. The roads are excellent and well-signposted, so just hit the road and enjoy the journey to Aveiro.

Visconde da Granja

In summary, my visit to Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal, was delightful, and I highly recommend it. If you plan a trip to Portugal, include this charming city in your itinerary!

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