With its canal-lined streets and pastel-colored buildings, Aveiro—known as the Venice of Portugal—never fails to charm visitors. From gliding around town on a barco moliceiro
and marveling at art nouveau villas, to hiking sand dunes and catching some waves, there’s plenty to see and do. The Basics
Built on the lagoon of an estuary, Aveiro was an important salt production center in Roman times; nowadays it’s a popular tourist destination. For most visitors, a city tour on a barco moliceiro
is a must. Once used for harvesting seaweed, these brightly painted traditional boats are similar in shape to the Venetian gondola. Some sightseeing cruises include lunch and round-trip transport from nearby cities. Aveiro is close to both Coimbra and Porto, and it’s easy to explore several towns in the region on a single trip.
If you’re craving time in nature, head to the São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve for a hike. Or, hit the beaches of Barra and Costa Nova, which attract families and surfers in equal measure. Look for Costa Nova’s striped wooden houses, as well as the Barra lighthouse, whose light can be seen 26 miles (42 kilometers) away. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Getting onboard a barco moliceiro may be challenging for travelers with limited mobility.
Located on Portugal’s northern coast, Aveiro is less than an hour’s drive from the Porto airport. Local trains travel between Porto and Aveiro daily. When to Get There
The ideal times to visit Aveiro are spring and summer, when longer days and warm weather make exploring more enjoyable. If possible, plan your trip around one of Aveiro’s several festivals, such as the monthlong March Fair, which celebrates the arrival of spring with musical performances, food stalls, and more.
Art Nouveau in Aveiro
In the early 20th century, wealthy Portuguese returned from Brazil and built themselves villas in the art nouveau style fashionable at the time. Stroll through Aveiro’s Rossio district to see some of the best examples, then check out the Art Nouveau Museum, housed in a former private residence.