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Aveiro Portugal: Things to Do for an Unforgettable Time

Aveiro is a coastal city located in the central region of Portugal, often referred to as the “Portuguese Venice” due to its charming canals and colorful boats.

With its rich historical heritage, beautiful architecture, and stunning natural landscapes, Aveiro has become an increasingly popular tourist destination.

I realized when exploring Aveiro, Portugal, things to do aren’t just about ticking off traditional sights, it’s about relaxing and simply strolling through this beautiful town at your own pace.

Aveiro Portugal: Things to Do

Day Trip to Aveiro from Porto, Portugal's Venice!
Join me on my day trip from Porto: What to do in Aveiro Portugal

1. Explore the Canals of Aveiro

One of the must-do activities in Aveiro is to explore its picturesque canals. These waterways are lined with colorful buildings adorned with traditional Portuguese tiles, creating a postcard-worthy scene.

The canals are what give Aveiro the nickname “Venice of Portugal” as they resemble the Italian town. You can simply walk next to the canals and cross the numerous bridges but the best way to experience the canals is by taking a boat ride.

The canals are so unique in Portugal, that’s why you should add Aveiro to your itinerary for Portugal. You might even want to add it to your 2-week Portugal and Spain itinerary.

🤩 Check prices of a boat tour in Aveiro!

2. Go for a Boat Ride in a Moliceiro

Two boats on a canal next to a palm tree in Aveiro Portugal
Aveiro is Portugal’s Venice

To truly experience Aveiro’s charm, hop on one of the iconic Moliceiros – colorful boats that were once used for seaweed harvesting.

Nowadays, these boats have been transformed into a tourist attraction where you can enjoy a relaxing ride while admiring the city’s sights from the water. Even if you only have one day in Aveiro, a boat ride should be on your itinerary.

During the boat ride, you’ll pass through the picturesque canals, under charming bridges, and get to see Aveiro from a different perspective. The boat drivers give live commentary about the history of Aveiro in multiple languages.

One more thing about the boat ride, they might pop the question about taking your photo. When they asked us, it was all in Portuguese, and caught off guard, we said yes. But here’s the heads-up: at the end of the tour, that picture? It’s €5 for a print in a cardboard frame.

🤩 Don’t miss out on a boat tour while you visit Aveiro Portugal!

3. Stroll through the Old Town

Typical art deco facade of a building of Aveiro; walking through the old town is one of the best Aveiro Portugal things to do
Typical Art Nouveau Architecture in Aveiro old town

Take a stroll through the charming streets of Aveiro’s old town, filled with traditional Portuguese architecture and plenty of street art.

You’ll discover hidden gems such as quaint cafes, local shops selling handmade crafts, and beautiful squares where you can sit and people-watch.

Aveiro’s architecture is heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau style, with its intricate designs and decorative details adding a unique charm to the cityscape.

In the Art Nouveau Museum, you can learn more about this interesting architectural style and gain an understanding of Aveiro’s architectural heritage.

Another great museum in the old town of Aveiro is the Aveiro Museum. It is housed in an elegant 15th-century convent, offering a fascinating journey into the city’s past and displaying a wide collection of religious art and artifacts.

4. Look at the Azulejos at the Old Train Station

House next to the train station in Aveiro with blue tiles on the facade, one of the best things to do in Aveiro Portugal
What to see in Aveiro? The old train station!

The Aveiro train station is another must-see spot in the city and a reason to do the day trip to Aveiro by train. Right when you exit the train station, there’s the beautiful old train station.

Its exterior is adorned with beautiful Azulejos – traditional Portuguese ceramic tiles depicting scenes from Portuguese history and culture.

These blue tiles add to the vibrant atmosphere of Aveiro and make for some great photo opportunities.

5. Learn about the Salt Production

Tina floating in a salt lake at Salinas do Grelha near Olhão
Such an incredible feeling 🙂

Aveiro is well-known for its salt production, with salt pans scattered throughout the area. You can learn about this traditional industry by visiting the Troncalhada Salt Museum located a bit outside the city.

You can also go for a swim in some salt lakes and float like in the Dead Sea. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to do this in Aveiro but I visited the salt pool near Olhão in the Algarve, and floating in a salt pool is amazing! So, definitely something to check out.

6. Take Pictures of the Striped Houses in Costa Nova

Colourful striped houses in Costa Nova, just outside Aveiro
Aveiro must see sight: The colorful striped houses of Costa Nova

Just a short bus ride from Aveiro is Costa Nova, a charming seaside village known for its striped houses. These colorful houses were once used by fishermen to store their equipment and have now become iconic symbols of Costa Nova.

Take a stroll along the promenade and admire these unique houses while enjoying the beautiful ocean views.

When you take the bus from Aveiro to Costa Nova, you simply have to get out at the last stop and you’ll be right in front of the colorful houses.

Tip: The bus didn’t show up on Google Maps when I visited. It sets off on the opposite side of the canal where all the Moliceiro set off on R. do Clube dos Galitos. You can get the ticket inside the bus, a return ticket is about €5.

7. Relax on the Beach in Costa Nova

Quiet beach in Costa Nova Portugal
Relax on the beach at Costa Nova while visiting Aveiro

After exploring the village and its colorful houses, why not take a break and relax on the beach?

Costa Nova Beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and soft sand, making it an ideal spot for swimming or sunbathing. You can also rent a bike and explore the area or try out some water sports.

Where to Eat in Aveiro?

Vegan food in Aveiro
One of the best restaurants in Aveiro Portugal for vegans

Aveiro is renowned for its seafood and a sweet delicacy called Ovos Moles, both being incredibly popular. However, as a vegan, I can’t share any personal experiences with these local favorites.

But don’t worry, I still got to savor some delicious meals in this charming city. In particular, I visited a restaurant called Green Point which offered a wide array of vegan options, each dish being as flavorful as the next. It’s located near the old train station.

How to Get to Aveiro Portugal

Aveiro is located about 75 km (47 miles) south of Portugal. It’s in between Porto and Lisbon, although Lisbon is a bit further away.

Reaching Aveiro from both Lisbon and Porto is quite convenient. Trains from Porto to Aveiro take between 1 and 1.5 hours, and the train from Lisbon to Aveiro takes about 2.5 hours one way.

If you’re based in Porto, Aveiro is worth visiting on a day trip. The train is very affordable and an efficient way to travel with scenic views along the journey. This makes Aveiro one of the best day trips by train from Porto.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to include a visit to the historic city of Coimbra alongside Aveiro, opting for a guided day tour might be your best bet. This allows for a seamless, worry-free experience where all the logistics are taken care of.

If you’re planning a road trip from Lisbon to Porto (or vice versa), Aveiro makes for an excellent pit stop, nestled perfectly on the route and offering plenty to explore and enjoy.

🤩 Check Prices and Availability of Tours to Aveiro & Coimbra from Porto!

Final Thoughts: Best Things to do in Aveiro Portugal

From exploring the charming canals and colorful boats to strolling through the old town and learning about traditional industries, Aveiro offers a variety of activities for all kinds of travelers.

Make sure to add the beautiful town of Aveiro in Portugal to your Portugal itinerary and experience its unique atmosphere and rich culture for yourself!

Read more on what to do in the North of Portugal:

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A picture of the gondolas in Aveiro on the canal next to a palm tree and a second picture with colorful striped houses, in the middle a text reads: "Best things to do Aveiro Portugal"
Amazing Aveiro Portugal Things to Do & See

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