Aveiro Best Things to Do | The Venice of Portugal

Bell   |   25 October 23

Located only an hour from Porto, right on the Portuguese coastline, you will find Aveiro, a beautiful relic of the Art Nouveau movement. Canals wind all throughout the city, carrying the beautiful barcos moliceiros, colourful boats that resemble Venetian Gondolas. The perfect day trip from Porto starts here.

The name “Aveiro” is said to stem from the Celtic word for river mouth, “Aber”, based on the fact that Aveiro is embraced by the Ria de Aveiro. The lagoon spans Aveiro and it’s surrounding neighbourhoods and created the well-known canals that carry the brightly coloured moliceiros.

The city also features countless buildings in the Art Nouveau style, made popular by German Art dealer Siegfried Bing in 1895. Art Nouveau is a very energetic style, featuring many geographic shapes, asymmetrical compositions, and a bold synthesis of structure and decoration. You can imagine the stunning display this makes when applied to architecture and city design. 

This article will lay out the top things to do in Aveiro, delicacies to try and how to get there from Porto. Don’t miss the Venice of Portugal!

Best Things to do in Aveiro

1. Check out the canals and barcos moliceiros

While locals are said not to be fond of the nickname “the Venice of Portugal”, strolling alongside the canals and watching the barcos moliceiros go by does undeniably feel similar to the famous Italian city.  They pass bridges covered in small strips of fabric, making for a colourful facade to the just as colourful boats. It’s simply beautiful.

 You can ride on the boats for around 15Euros on the day or for a little less if you prebook online. 

The bows are what makes each boat unique, often depicting religious scenes or sometimes straight up sacrilegious. They got their name from their original use as algae harvesting vessels, but were also used for fishing in the sea and canals. 

Prebook your boat tour here:

2. Admire the stunning Art Nouveau style houses

Art Nouveau Buildings Aveiro 2 - traveloffscript
Art Nouveau Buildings Aveiro - traveloffscript

Art Nouveau was originally brought into Aveiro as a display of wealth and power and only really applied on the façades of buildings, not the interior. 

I recommend just strolling through Aveiro’s center, especially along the canals, where you will discover many Art Nouveau style gems. They are truly a relic of the past and each house is so wonderfully unique and beautiful. 

3. Try the delicious tripa de aveiro and ovos moles

We stumbled upon the Tripa de Aveiro by accident, but later found out that we had tasted a pretty rare, local confection.  Its name comes from “tripe” and the similar consistency it has.

I found the texture to be like a Crepe but thicker and chewier. They can be filled with all types of chocolate and even savoury fillings. A truly delicious sweet treat.

Aveiro is also famous for their Ovos Molesa wafer dumpling filled with sweet, vibrant yolk. This is one of the special dishes that has Protected Geographical Indication by the European Union (the first Portuguese sweet to do so), meaning it can only be made in Aveiro. 

4. Explore part of the Porcelain Route

Aveiro porcelaine - traveloffscript

Aveiro is the start of the Porcelain Route – a trip through Portugal’s most beautiful porcelain tiles locations. The wonder already starts at the incredible train station, covered in the famous blue and white tiles that tell of stories long gone. 

More tiles can be found all throughout the city, from covering entire buildings to small art pieces on the walls of shops.

5. Visit the famous Costa Nova Colouful Houses

Costa Nova is a short 10 minute drive (~7 Euros Uber)  from Aveiro or about 45 minutes on the bus (2,65 Euros). The area is famous for the striped beach houses, also referred to as “Palheiros“. 

The name translates to haystacks and the houses were originally built by fishermen looking to store their nets and other fishing gear. Nowadays, they attract holidaymakers from all over the world.

Personally, I found they had a bit of an eery vibe, almost too perfect. They reminded me of the houses in the beginning of horror movies with their too perfect lawns. They kind of just looked like fake doll houses. Definitely worth a visit though and they make for amazing photo spots!

6. Watch the sunset with a Sangria at Costa Nova Beach

Sangria on Costa Nova Beach, Aveiro - traveloffscript

End your time in Aveiro right with a Sangria on the beach.  Bonus points if you are there around sunset.

Costa Nova Beach is beautifully tranquil and pristine, with cute bars nestled between sand dunes. Honestly one of my favourite spots of the day! I would highly recommend visiting whether during the day or evening time and strolling along the boardwalks.

How to get to Aveiro?

There is a direct train from Porto City Center (Campanhã) to Aveiro. It takes about 1 hour and costs €3,55 if you take the U train. 

I recommend checking the official train website for departure times and ticket prices. You need a refillable card for the journey which you can buy at the train stations. You can refill them at stations or even on the train. 

If you have rented a car, Aveiro is roughly a 50 minute drive from Porto. 

How many days do you need in Aveiro?

You can definitely see the highlights of Aveiro in one day. If you’d like to spend a bit more time exploring the streets, taking tours and relaxing on the beach I would recommend 2-4 days.

Is Aveiro worth visiting?

If you have 3-4 days in Porto, I would highly recommend a visit to Aveiro. It’s really beautiful and quite different to a lot of the other towns along this stretch of the Portuguese Coast. Aveiro has this really relaxed atmosphere where you can just enjoy your day, eat great food and see some gorgeous architecture. So yes, Aveiro is worth visiting.

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Hi, I'm Bell

Bell from Travel Off Script

My blog is here to show you that there isn’t one correct way to travel the world. Together, we can figure out what that means for you. Learn more about me here!

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