With its charming, picturesque feel, it is easy to understand why Aveiro is often referred to as ‘The Venice of Portugal’. This quaint little fishing town is only 40 minutes south of Porto with regular bus and train links. It is small and easy to walk around, you could cover the centre in just a few hours.
The town is divided by scenic waterways with beautiful brightly coloured gondola style boats frequently seen travelling on them! The buildings also create a beautiful mosaic story in colour and pattern! There are also an array of incredible cathedrals and museums to view.
Here are just some of the amazing sights you can view during one day in Aveiro:
Aveiro Old Train Station
This is a beautiful iconic building, covered in azulejos (blue and white) tiles. These tiles tell the history of Aveiro and portray what 19th-century life in Aveiro was like with depictions of their cultural heritage, marine agriculture and salt production! While Aveiro does now have a new train station, it is right next to this old one and therefore a brilliant starting point to your day in Aveiro if travelling in by train. The old train station also has a gift shop and an exhibition area on the upper floor, both of which are well worth a visit!
Those beautiful, colourful, gondola-like boats mentioned earlier are called moliceiros and you can book one and go on a colourful canal trip through Aveiro. It offers a different viewpoint from which to see this beautiful town. It costs approx 5-10 euros for a ticket and there are multiple stands located along the canal from which you can purchase one. The trip takes approx 45 minutes in total, travelling through the centre of town and out to the outskirts, taking in some incredible sights along the way. The tour guides can speak English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French and will teach you fun and interesting facts about the city’s history along the trip. If you’re hoping to escape some of the heat, then best to go earlier in the morning, however, the trips run until 5pm, so plenty of time throughout the day!
Churches and Cathedrals
Portugal has a strong catholic, religious culture and the many cathedrals/churches around Aveiro are the physical embodiment of this. The Cathedral of Aveiro may look relatively humble from the outside but don’t let that put you off from going in – the interior is incredibly ornate! All of the cathedrals and churches throughout Aveiro are free to enter, so are a great way to see some of the architecture of the city and explore the religious culture if you’re on a budget!
Museu de Aveiro
Near the Aveiro Cathedral is the Aveiro museum. It is worth noting that this museum is closed on Mondays. On other days it is open from 10 am-12.30 pm and then 1.30 pm-6 pm and it costs 5 euros for entry. The building used to be a former convent and houses many valuable religious art collections and also houses the tomb of Saint Joana. The building is beautiful with cloisters and an ornate, gold-leaf interior!
Ponte dos Namorados
Many cities around the world have their version of a “lovers bridge” usually adorned with inscribed padlocks, symbolising unbreakable love between a couple! Aveiro’s bridge is a little different in that, instead of padlocks, this bridge is adorned with beautiful, colourful ties and ribbons! It’s bright and colourful and well worth viewing while travelling around the city.
While not actually in Aveiro, this nearby beach town is just a short 10 minute, 12 euro taxi ride or a 45 minute, 2 euro, bus ride from Aveiro. It would make a perfect way to end your day, with the quirky, colourful striped houses and the amazing seafood restaurants! The beach has a walkway running right along it with lots of lovely little snack and drinks spots along it! Whether you’re looking to end your day with a bit of suntanning, or relaxed people watching. This is an ideal little beach town in which to do it!
Marinha da Noeirinha spa
Another relaxing option for the end of your day in Aveiro could be a visit to the saline spas. These salt and mineral-rich spas help with a wide variety of ailments, from blood circulation to eczema and psoriasis, and also arthritis. The high salt level helps to draw out toxins from the body! You can also relax on a beach beside the spas after taking your dip! There are various packages on offer, from hourly rates to half and full-day rates, ranging from 2.50 euros up to 9 euros. The spa is suitable for everyone, young to old!
Despite being a little city, Aveiro certainly has a lot going for it! It would be easy to find more than enough to do for a full day and the above list is certainly not exhaustive. There is also a shopping centre and lovely little markets, for example, catering to everyone from those who love their well-known brands such as Zara, to those looking for traditional Portuguese souvenirs.
The Venice of Portugal truly makes for an enchanting little city, well worth taking the time to explore.