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Aveiro Travel Guide: Welcome to the Venice of Portugal

Last updated: December 2019* | 2 Comments

I have been lucky to visit Aveiro, the “Venice of Portugal,” several times. I really like it. It is small, and there are only a few things to see and do, but it’s very beautiful and perfect for a weekend break or a short stop on a larger trip around Portugal. 


Aveiro is a small but very beautiful Portuguese city, and a place that I really recommend visiting. It’s conveniently located between Coimbra and Porto, so it’s easy to create a trip where you visit Lisbon, Coimbra, Aveiro, and Porto together. 

Aveiro buildings and boats

Why visit Aveiro?

  • It’s a small, but beautiful and well-maintained city – one of the most beautiful in Portugal. 
  • The “Moliceiros” boats (essentially Portuguese Gondolas) are very beautiful and it’s fun to take a boat along the canal. 
  • It’s really close to Coimbra and Porto, and not very far from Lisbon either so it’s convenient to visit for a lot of people. 
  • There are beautiful beaches nearby. If the weather is warm enough, you could add on a “beach day.”
  • Aveiro’s history, which is based around salt production, canals, and ovos moles, is unique and feels very different to other cities in Portugal. 
Just a beautiful building in Aveiro

In this travel guide to Aveiro, we’ll look at everything that you need to know about visiting Aveiro including: 

  • How many days you need for Aveiro. 
  • How to get to Aveiro. 
  • Where you should stay in Aveiro. 
  • The typical things to eat and drink there. 
  • And, where you should visit after Aveiro.  

Planning Your Trip

How much time do you need for Aveiro?

You need two days to properly explore Aveiro, especially if you’re planning on visiting the nearby coastal town of Costa Nova as well. If you’re short on time, you can cover almost everything in a day but you will probably have to miss out on one or two things. 

Two days is perfect for anyone living in Lisbon, Porto, or Coimbra and who’s looking for somewhere for a weekend break. The train from Lisbon to Aveiro takes just a little over two hours, and from Porto or Coimbra it’s even faster: around an hour from Porto and half an hour from Coimbra. 

Tip: Many of the museums in Aveiro will be closed on a Monday. Keep this in mind if you’re planning on visiting Aveiro on a Monday. 

Getting to Aveiro 

By Train

Aveiro is well-connected by train to most major cities in Portugal including Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, Lagos, and Faro. 
For most journeys to Aveiro, particularly from Lisbon and Porto, the train is faster than the bus. It can also be the same price or cheaper than the bus if you book your tickets in advance (ideally 8+ days in advance). 

Note: You can’t buy Urban (U), Regional (-R), or Interregional (IR) tickets online or in advance – you buy them on the day and at the train station – but they’re usually very cheap anyway.

Useful links:

By Bus

While Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra are all well-connected to Aveiro by train, many towns in Portugal are not. Thankfully, Portugal’s bus network is a lot more extensive than its train network and so you can normally get to Aveiro from just about anywhere in Portugal by bus with Rede Expressos.

Useful links:

By tour group

There are guided tours of Aveiro from some of the nearby cities, particularly Porto. These tours work out more expensive than taking public transport, but you get the benefit of a guide who can tell you about the history and culture of Aveiro.

Examples of guided tours include:

  • Porto to Aveiro (Half Day Tour)
  • Porto to Aveiro & Coimbra (Full Day Tour)
  • Braga/Guimarães to Aveiro & Coimbra (Full Day Tour)

You can view all of these tours & more on GetYourGuide.com

By car

A car definitely isn’t necessary as Aveiro is well-connected to many of the most popular towns and cities in Portugal. It’s not going to be a burden in Aveiro though: finding parking won’t be too difficult, especially if you stay just a little bit outside of the city centre (but still within walking distance).

Useful Links:

By plane

Aveiro’s nearest airport is Porto Airport (79 km). Lisbon Airport is slightly further away (236 km) but still not too far: the journey from Lisbon Airport to Aveiro takes just over two hours by car. 

Hotels & Accommodation

If you’ve already booked your accommodation, just skip to the next part. Otherwise, this guide will help you find the best hotel, Airbnb, or hostel in Aveiro. 

Aveiro is a very small and walkable town so, as long as you don’t stay too far outside of the city centre, you’ll be within walking distance of all the main attractions.

Tip: I usually compare hotels with Skyscanner or HotelsCombined as they allow me to search multiple booking websites e.g. Expedia, Booking, etc. in one go, allowing me to not only see all the available hotels but also find which website offers the cheapest price as well. 

Handpicked accommodation in Aveiro

Rather than give you a long list of hotels, the following are just a few of the best places to stay in Aveiro.

The best hotels in Aveiro overall

  • Hotel das Salinas – Contemporary-themed hotel accommodation with great breakfasts.
  • Hotel Moliceiro – A charming 4-star hotel with views over the Aveiro River.
  • Hotel Aveiro Palace – Modern and stylish designed rooms set in a historic building in Aveiro.
  • Hotel Imperial – Dated and basic, but clean, central, and affordable. I stayed here the last time I was in Aveiro.

Prefer an apartment? There are some great Airbnbs in Aveiro too.

Things to See & Do

Take a boat trip in a Moliceiro

Moliceiro boat tour

Yes, it’s touristy but it’s also a lot of fun. And, it’s not overly expensive either: a 45-minute boat ride normally costs around €10. Compare that to Venice where a 30-minute ride in a gondola will set you back €80-120 on average. 

Aveiro Museum 

The Museu de Aveiro is housed in the former Convent of Jesus of the female Dominican Order. Founded in 1458, this building has a very interesting history as it is where Princess D. Joana, the daughter of the King D. Afonso V, spent her life after committing herself to the work of the church. It’s also where Ovos Moles were apparently invented.

The building is incredibly beautiful, and definitely worth visiting.

Tip: You can get a “bilhete único” which not only gets you access to the Museu de Aveiro, but also the Museu da Cidade de Aveiro, Casa Major Pessoa – Museu Arte Nova de Aveiro, and the Ecomuseu Marinha Da Troncalhada as well. All for €5.

If you have the time, and you like museums, this is great value. Personally, I would really only recommend the Museu de Aveiro. The other museums were okay, but nothing particularly special. I really did like the Museu de Aveiro, though. 

Visit the salt marshes

I really liked the salt marshes in Aveiro. They were unique and beautiful, and it didn’t cost anything to visit them either.

You can walk down to the salt marshes, but it’s mostly along a road and not the most scenic of walks. If you can find a moliceiro boat tour that allows you to stop off at the salt marshes for a little bit, this would definitely be a more enjoyable way of getting there.

Holding a block of salt at the salt marshes in Aveiro

There are two salt marsh areas, both of which have a café and a “swimming pool” where you can take a dip in the salty water for €4. I went to the “Ecomuseu Marinha da Troncalhada” first but I much preferred the area around the Marinha da Noeirinha.

Unlike the Ecomuseu Marinha da Troncalhada, it’s much further away from the road so you get to really appreciate the beauty of the area without seeing cars and buses in the background. If you only have time to visit one, I would recommend this one. It’s also slightly closer to Aveiro as well.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Aveiro’s salt industry, the café at Marinha da Noeirinha offers tours. 

Try Ovos Moles

I wasn’t a big fan of ovos moles before visiting Aveiro but, having tasted some that were freshly-made and having even seen them made, I’m becoming a fan.

You’ll find ovos moles in every café in Aveiro, as well as in the small shops and supermarkets. It’s really worth going to a shop that specialises in ovos moles, though, and you’ll find several dotted around the city centre.

Casa Maria da Apresentação da Cruz, Herdeiros
Casa Maria da Apresentação da Cruz, Herdeiros

The first shop to start selling ovos moles, A Casa Maria da Apresentação da Cruz, Herdeiros, was founded in 1882 and still exists to this day. It’s pretty much in the centre of Aveiro (map) and so somewhere that you’ll easily be able to visit. 

Take a day trip (or half-day trip) to Costa Nova

The colourful houses of Costa Nova

The nearby and wonderfully-picturesque town of Costa Nova is around 12 km from Aveiro. The colourful houses, which were once fishermen’s houses, are really beautiful and the beach there is fantastic as well.

You can easily get there by bus: I took the bus from the bus station in Aveiro, but realised that it actually stops in several places in Aveiro Centre. The easiest stop for most people will be opposite the Royal School of Languages (map) on Rua do Clube dos Galitos.

You can buy your ticket on the bus.

Food & Drink

You can’t leave Aveiro without trying Ovos Moles, but that’s definitely not the only thing to try here. The following are just a few of the foods that you’ll find in Aveiro. 

Ovos Moles

The thing to eat in Aveiro, ovos moles are one of Portugal’s most popular and most famous delicacies. I recommend not only going to a specialist shop to buy them but, if you have the time, going to a workshop to see how they’re made as well.

Workshops in Aveiro:

  • Oficina do Doce, Aveiro – Runs daily workshops (in English) where you can see how ovos moles are made. Costs ~ 3 Euro per person and can be booked the day before. 
  • Casa da Ovos Moles, Aveiro – Runs workshops which need to be booked around 5 days in advance. 

Tripas

Tripas (no relation to the Porto tripe dish) are essentially crepes. I’m not a big fan of crepes, but I know a lot of people love them. If that’s you, you should definitely seek out a place selling Tripas. I say seek out, because not everywhere sells these: you’ll have to keep an eye open for a place that does. 

Getting around

Because Aveiro is quite compact, you don’t really need to think too much about getting around: you can easily walk between the attractions in the city centre.

There are only really two attractions that are a little further away: the salt marshes and the nearby town of Costa Nova.

I walked to the salt marches from Aveiro, but a much more pleasant way to get there would be to take a Moliceiro boat. You could also cycle there as well: there are places to hire bikes in the city centre.

I went to Costa Nova by bus, and that was incredibly easy. There’s a very regular bus service, and the bus station is located just outside of town next to the train station (you can get to it via the underpass beneath the train station).

Uber isn’t available in Aveiro yet. 

Where to visit next

Here are three places near Aveiro that I really like:

  • Coimbra (63 km)
  • Porto (74 km)
  • Tomar (139 km) 

Depending on how much time you have, I also found Fátima (136 km) and Agueda (26 km) interesting places to stop off for their own reasons. I wouldn’t prioritise them over anywhere else, but they were definitely unique in their own ways. 

FAQs

What is Aveiro Known for?

Aveiro is known for its canals (hence the nickname the Venice of Portugal), ovos moles, and also its salt industry.

Is Aveiro worth a visit?

Yes, Aveiro is worth visiting. I don’t necessarily recommend everywhere in Portugal, especially touristy places, but I really liked Aveiro.

How much time do you need in Aveiro?

Ideally two days, but you could see most of Aveiro’s attractions in a day. If you’re planning on visiting Costa Nova as well, you should allow at least an hour or two there as well as travel time (around 30-40 minutes each way).

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