Small canals, bridges, and gondola boats discover you when you visit Aveiro. Partly because of this, Aveiro is also called ‘the Venice’ of Portugal. Are you looking for things to do in Aveiro? This charming coastal town offers plenty of entertainment, culture, and sightseeing all year round. From the colorful canals to beaches and a beautiful historic center – there is something for everyone in Aveiro! Here are our top seven things to do in Aveiro.
Things to do in Aveiro
Water plays a major role in Aveiro. Due to the location of the Atlantic Ocean, Aveiro used to be an important trading place, thanks to its location on the river and the largest lagoon, called Ria de Aveiro, the city could benefit from fishing, salt, and seaweed trade. In this article, we tell you what you can do in Aveiro. For example, we give tips on where to eat the best, and what the best sights are in Aveiro.
Tip: the map of Aveiro below pinpoints all the best attractions in the area. You can enlarge the map by clicking on the top right corner, and if you click on the star symbol next to the title, you can save it to your Google Maps account. In doing so, different categories will be displayed that you can use for navigation when arriving at your destination.
Discover Aveiro through the Moliceiros
Aveiro is an exquisite destination that has much to offer. The best thing to do in Aveiro is to go sightseeing at the vibrant Moliceiros boats – inspired by Venetian gondolas, they were once used for seaweed collection but now invite tourists on a journey through Aveiro’s charming landmark and cultural history via the picturesque Canal da Cidade. Hop aboard one of these colorful vessels and enjoy the trip. Buy boat tickets for the Moliceiros here.
Aveiro is a beautiful city full of wealth and history. The Art Nouveau-style buildings are an iconic feature; from the stately tiles that line their outsides to the ornate details within. To see them in all their glory, head over to Aveiro’s tourist office where you can pick up a map filled with walking routes designed specifically for everyone who wants to see everything. As long as visitors follow these paths throughout downtown areas, they’re sure not to miss a single building boasting this stylish architecture that flourished between 1890-1914.
Tip: the local tourist office is located on Rua João Mendonça, which is one of the main streets before the roundabout near the water.
Eat local fish dishes
Aveiro is one of the best places in Portugal to enjoy fresh fish dishes. Everywhere in this town has some form of seafood featured on their menu! A noteworthy spot to explore while here is Mercado da Peixe; an area well-known by locals for its daily offerings of freshly caught fish served within small market stalls. Plus, it’s right next to several restaurants. Try Bacalhau – a traditional salted and dried cod dish.
Tip: in the Beira Mar district, there are old fishermen’s houses that have been turned into bars. They are located near Jardim do Rossio, which has a nice view of the quay.
Old train station
For those who love the traditional Portuguese blue tiles, azulejos, Aveiro is the place to visit. Not only will you find these all over the city center, but also in its old train station – where they are even more remarkable and vivid! Painted with local customs and references to fishing and salt commerce, the back of this charming building is decorated in beautiful blue tilework. And although no longer used for rail traffic, it’s just a fifteen-minute walk from Aveiro’s center.
Visit churches and the Cathedral of Aveiro
Aveiro is not just renowned for its antique station adorned with iconic blue tiles; you can find them elsewhere around town too. Head to the Praca da Republica square, and visit Igreja da Misericordia – an exquisite baroque church decorated in azulejos that houses a stunning altar worth seeing on its own. If time allows, wander through Capela do Senhor das Barrocas and marvel at the beautiful woodwork and paintings that you can see in the building.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the magnificent Sao Domingos Cathedral, also referred to as the Church of St. Dominic — constructed in the 15th century! What makes this cathedral different from other buildings is its unique architecture that does not quite match up with what you’d typically expect from a religious building. Nevertheless, don’t pass up on an opportunity for exploring it.
The cathedral was opened in 1464 and was next to the convent house of Sao Domingos. In 1834, the convent became a barracks. Later, the monastery burned down. In the side chapels, you can see a lot of important religious pieces.
Visit the museum of Aveiro
Culture enthusiasts will be delighted to spend some time at Museu de Aveiro, previously a 15th-century monastery called Mosteiro de Jesus. This museum is home to many classic works of art such as paintings, silverware, and sculptures; most dedicated to Santa Joana -the daughter of King Alfons V who passed away in this very convent. The church alongside the museum preserves her tombstone while boasting beautiful blue tiles with gold leaf decorating its walls and ceilings.
Discover Aveiro by bike
Because the landscape in Aveiro is flat for the most part and Aveiro has built good cycle paths, you can also discover Aveiro by bike. Anyone who thinks you have to have a bicycle with you is wrong. The city council of Aveiro promotes cycling by making bicycles available for free. You can find these white bicycles in various places in the city. Several routes are indicated in red, green, and blue colors. A must-do route is the one around Aveiro bay.
Day tour from Porto to Aveiro
If you don’t have the luxury of visiting Aveiro yourself, then why not book a day tour from Porto to Aveiro instead? This is an ideal way for those with limited time to experience the wonderful things that Aveiro has to offer. You will get to explore the charming villages. With a professional guide, you can learn about the history and culture of Aveiro while having fun.
Tip: if you can visit Aveiro yourself. This way, you will be able to go wherever you want to go.
How many days do you need for Aveiro
Many people recommend staying in Aveiro for a day or two, but we don’t think it’s necessary. Aveiro is nice to visit, but there are more beautiful places to see in Portugal. If you’re just passing through on your way from Porto to the south, stop in Aveiro for a break. Schedule no more than 3 or 4 hours, and then continue to Coimbra.
Where to stay in Aveiro
We recommend that you visit Aveiro in the morning so that you do not have to stay in Aveiro. If you arrive later in the day, staying overnight is necessary. In this case, the two accommodations below are good options.
Hotel Afonso V
Hotel Afonso V is a great place to stay in Aveiro. It’s located right in the center and is perfect for budget travelers looking for clean and comfortable accommodation. The hotel has a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the town. It’s also within walking distance of many sights in Aveiro.
Modern and great location
Hotel Aveiro Palace
The Hotel Aveiro Palace is another great option for travelers looking to stay in the heart of Aveiro. It’s a 4-star hotel with spacious rooms and modern amenities. The hotel has an outdoor pool, a sauna, and offers bike rentals for those who want to explore the area.
Where to eat in Aveiro
If you’re looking for good places to eat in Aveiro you should visit Tasquinha Do Leitao and Taberna Aveirense are good places to eat. Tasquinha Do Leitao is a restaurant serving traditional Portuguese dishes, with prices ranging from €9-15 / $9-15 per plate. Taberna Aveirense is a great place to try some local delicacies such as salt cod and seafood stew. Prices here are slightly higher than at Tasquinha Do Leitao, averaging €12-20 / $12-20 per plate.
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Transportation in Aveiro
The best way to explore Aveiro is by boat. The city has several canals in the center, and many boats offer tours of these canals. The boats also stop at many of the things to do in Aveiro, such as the old fish market and the 19th-century monastery. You can also explore Aveiro by walking or cycling. The city has good cycle paths.
How to get to Aveiro
If you’re coming from Porto, the best way to get to Aveiro is by train. The journey takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Several trains are leaving daily from Porto’s Campanhã station to Aveiro station.
The other option is to take a bus from Porto’s Campanhã bus station to Aveiro. The journey takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, and several buses are leaving daily from Porto to Aveiro.
Train and bus tickets to get to Aveiro can be bought here.
You can also travel to Aveiro by car. You can rent a car via Rentalcars. Below you see how long it takes to get to Aveiro from some popular destinations:
- Porto to Aveiro: 55 minutes | 75km / 46 miles
- Coimbra to Aveiro: 55 minutes | 64km / 39 miles
- Óbidos to Aveiro: 1 hour and 45 minutes | 170km / 105 miles
- Nazaré to Lagos: 1 hour and 30 minutes | 145km / 90 miles
- Lagos to Aveiro: 4 hours and 45 minutes | 510 km / 316 miles
The best time to visit Aveiro
The best time to visit Aveiro is during spring and autumn. The weather is mild, the sun shines for longer hours. From March to May, you can enjoy some of the city’s most popular festivals like Semana Santa (Easter Week) and Festa de São João (St. John’s Festival). From October to December, the city is full of Christmas markets and decorations. The summer months (June–August) are usually crowded with tourists and the weather can be quite hot. Winter in Aveiro can get quite cold, with temperatures dropping below 0°C (32°F). However, if you’re looking for a low-cost holiday, then winter may be a good time to visit.
In conclusion, the best time to visit Aveiro depends on what you’re looking for.
Explore more of Portugal
If you’re looking to explore more of Portugal during your stay in Aveiro, then it’s recommended to check out our 3-week Portugal itinerary. This will give you some ideas on things to do in Porto, Coimbra, Óbidos, and Nazaré; all of which can be reached easily from Aveiro.
In Porto, you can explore the city’s many attractions, such as the Clérigos Tower and Livraria Lello bookshop. In Coimbra visit Portugal’s oldest university and explore its surrounding streets. Óbidos is a picturesque walled town with a striking castle and you can see huge waves in Nazaré.
Other articles that might be useful to check:
- Portugal budget guide: in this article you learn how much budget you need per type of traveler.
- Portugal travel guide: general travel information about Portugal.
What do you think of Aveiro? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: the prices mentioned in this article may differ from the current situation. We regularly update our articles. Would you like to help us to provide to best possible insights to help other travelers leave a comment with the latest information. Thanks!
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