The best independent guide to north Portugal
The best independent guide to north Portugal
Aveiro is an unusual and remarkable town where unique development has been driven by the surrounding salt marshes and lagoons. The town is characterised by bold Art Nouveau buildings, man-made canals and ornate vessels, all of which once served the marine agriculture but are now adapted for tourism.
Art Nouveau is seem throughout Aveiro
Aveiro is a truly unique day trip from Porto and this settlement is unlike any other in Portugal. It is highly recommended for those seeking something a little different and also for those who want a relaxing overnight trip, coupled together with a visit to region’s finest beaches; which are superb. This guide will detail the main things to do while based in Aveiro, including; the main tourist sites, tours of Aveiro and other activities.
The delightful “Moliceiros” boats, similar in design to gondolas, are painted in bright colours and have motifs that depict scenes from the town’s history. These boats, originally used to harvest seaweed, now serve a much more glamorous purpose in transporting tourists around the town’s canals. The beautiful boats are moored in the heart of Aveiro, along the central canal and a short cruise allows tourists to glide past Aveiro’s agricultural roots, historic buildings and modern developments.
The colourful Moliceiros
It is highly recommended to take a cruise when first arriving to get a scenic introduction to the town or in early evening to get a picturesque vantage point as the sunsets over the town. There are many small companies jostling for tourist trade along the Rossio and Fonte Nova Lagoon, but all of them take in the main sights so feel free to pick an amiable tour guide and boat. Moliceiro tours start at 10:00 and run until 18:30 (9:30 to 19:00 on weekends) and cost around €8 for a 45 minute boat ride. To avoid congestion boats depart every 30 minutes (15 minutes on weekends).
The best spot to pick up a Moliceiro tour is from R. João Mendonça, which is next to Jardim do Rossio and directly in front of the Aveiro City Museum (Museu da Cidade de Aveiro). This area has plenty of charming cafes and restaurants nearby for tourists to visit whilst awaiting a cruise.
Aveiro is renowned for its fish delicacies and the best place to sample the local cuisine is at the lively traditional Fish Market Square (Praça do Peixe). Amongst these, Eel based dishes are one of the most popular with locals. There are three main dishes; Eel stew, fried Eels and Eel with escabeche sauce. Other specialities include Cod and Lamprey. Meal prices can range between €10 and €30 per person and tourists will have no problem with translation as the menus are specified in Portuguese and English.
The Praça do Peixe market
Have you considered an organised tour to Aveiro?
How about an organised tour to Aveiro? An organised tour is great way to discover Aveiro, especially if you are based in Porto. The standard of tours in Portugal is very high, with knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides, and tours that are designed for modern tourists. An organised tours provides the opportunity to fit so much sightseeing into a single day, while removing the hassle of public transport.
We have worked with GetYourGuide for the previous five years, and some of their best tours of Aveiro include:
• Half-day tour of Aveiro from Porto with cruise on Moliceiro boat (€ 43)
• Full day tour Aveiro and the Arouca 516 - the World's Longest Suspension Footbridge (€ 110)
• Ful day to Aveiro and the Ílhavo coastline (including Costa Nova) (€ 85)
The Museum of the City of Aveiro is the municipal effort to boost education of the region’s history and culture. The city hall acquired most of the Art Nouveau buildings surrounding the city, and they established two museums in two of the most fascinating buildings.
The main museum building is located at the entrance of Rossio (R. João Mendonça) and displays the origins and traditions of Aveiro, including the two main industries of the region, fishing and salt manufacture.
The Art Nouveau Museum (Museu De Arte Nova) is perfectly housed within a fine building denoting this architecture style. The museum details the origins of the Art Nouveau lifestyle, which started in the early 1900’s and how it arrived in Aveiro.
The museum building is worth a visit, even if just to take a look at the striking building (Opening times and costs are displayed below).
The Troncalhada Eco-Museum is out of the town centre near the Troncalhada Marine. This outside museum details the history of the salt production and is a place to visit the well renowned salt hills of Aveiro.
The tour provides a learning experience about how the salt is formed and handled. (Opening times and costs are displayed below)
The The salt flats and salt hills of the Troncalhada Eco-Museum
The historical museums are open daily from 9:30 - 12:30 and then 14:00 - 18:00 (only 14:00-18:00 on weekends). All three museums can be visited on a multi-entrance ticket costing €2 (children under 12 and adults over 65 are free). Guided tours are also available and include all three museums and a 45 minute tour around the town to visit Art Nouveau buildings (min of 6 people needed). The tour costs €4.50 per person.
This architecturally stunning contemporary shopping centre has won awards with its distinctive green spaces and stone facades, which are harmonious with the historic centre. The Forum has also been engineered to be sustainable and ecologically friendly and is a vibrant, fun epicentre where students, locals and visitors can shop, eat and be entertained.
The Fonte Nova Lagoon
The shopping centre is filled with 76 shops; including world renowned brands, a cinema, garden and a range of chain restaurants and cafes. Located along the Rua Batalhão Caçadores and central canal, the centre is open daily and is a shopper’s paradise.
Located near the Sé Cathedral, the Museum of Aveiro is housed in the 15th Century Convent and has been enlarged with a new modern building that intertwines with the old baroque building. Visitors can chose to look around the ground floor with its exuberantly crafted chapel, cloisters and tomb of Princess Saint Joana (daughter of the first king of Portugal) or walk around the upper floor with its permanent exhibitions.
The Museum of Aveiro
This has a wide range of culturally significant sculptures, paintings and jewels along within information about the origins of Aveiro. The museum is well worth a visit and has a stunning collection to go along with the beautiful history of the Princess Saint Joana. The museum is open 10:00 to 18:00, Tuesday to Sunday and entry costs €4 (children under 12 go free).
Aveiro’s main cathedral, also known as the Church of St Dominic, is a majestic National monument that was built in early 15th Century. The simplistic external limestone facade exhibits the original Gothic design but the rest of the church underwent significant baroque renovations in the 17th and 18th Centuries.
The Se cathedral
Walking inside this building, with its ornate carvings and statues, it is very visible to see the importance of religion in Portugal and this iconic site should not be missed. The Cathedral is situated next to the Museum Of Aveiro (Museu Santa Joana) along Rua Batalhao Cacadores and is open daily around mass times. Entry is free.
There are a variety of fun and different ways to explore Aveiro, which enable tourists to focus on their interests.
By bike (recommended for active visitors): Cycling has been highly promoted in Portugal and it is possible to hire free bikes to explore the city. These bikes are called BUGA (Bicicleta de Utilização Gratuíta de Aveiro) bikes and are free for everyone to use, including tourists. There are many great cycle paths around the city and it is possible to cycle out to the lagoons. Free cycle route maps can be picked up at the tourist office, which is located on R. João Mendonça.
The BUGA bike hiring centre
By Tuka-Tuka train (recommended for families): The Tuka-Tuka is a train-car service that allows large groups of visitors to travel all around the city of Aveiro. The train tours the whole city, including: the emblematic train station, the “salt hills” of the Troncalhada Marine, the Sé Cathedral, Museum of Aveiro and the University. The train is a favourite with families with young children and it’s a relaxing way to view the city. Trains depart from Rossio hourly from 10:00 to 19:00 and tickets cost €5 for adults (€3 for children).
The Tuka-Tuka - Mini Train
By Tuk-Tuk tricycle (recommended for couples): Tuk-Tuk’s’ are a recent addition to the tourist services in Aveiro and these small tricycle cars provide a fun way to navigate the town for those looking for a fast pace tour. Once onboard, passengers can choose from four different tours;
• Aveiro Monumental, which focuses on the historic building and monuments of the city (45 minute tour, €12.50 per person).
• Aveiro Lagoon and Architecture, which drives alongside the river, with beautiful views of the lagoon and Art Nouveau buildings (45 minute tour, €12.50 per person).
• Aveiro Knowledge and Tradition, which visits the Eco-Museum of Troncalhada, local parks and University of Aveiro Campus (1 hour tour, €15 per person).
• Aveiro Faith, Labour and Culture journey that passes through the imposing churches; the Sé Cathedral and the Museum of Aveiro (1 hour tour, €15 per person).
Tuk-Tuks are parked outside the Tourist Office but it is advised to make a reservation through the office in advance to guarantee a tour.