If you are in Portugal and using Porto as a base then Aveiro is a great day trip or go and stay a night or two if you are a slow traveler. I stayed for two nights in January last year and was very pleasantly surprised, it is a delightful spot.
Where is Aveiro?
Aveiro is on the west coast of Portugal, about 74 km south of Porto. It is built around the lagoon, Ria de Aveira. There are trains every 30 minutes from Campanha train station in Porto and it costs between €3.00 – €5.00 for a ticket. You can also travel by Flixbus or Rede Express but the tickets seem to be more expensive.
I travelled by train to Aveiro but the bus station is next to the train station and from either of them it is a straightforward walk down Av. Dr. Lourenço Peixinho to the most picturesque part of the city, where you will find the canal boats. The train station has a lovely frontage so stop and take a look back at it. I seems to have lost a few of my photos so sadly I cannot show you here.
What will you find there?
As is often the case, the city itself has a fairly compact centre, easy to walk around, very flat, and known for its art nouveau buildings. The two main attraction are Sé Catedral de Aveiro and Museu de Aveiro – Santa Joana (Antigo Mosteiro de Jesus), a religious art museum. When I was there I hadn’t started this blog so I didn’t visit either of these places, I’m not overly interested in such buildings, but for those of you who are I’m sure you will find them both to be of great interest.
The Canal Boats (Moliceiros)
It was the canal and the canal boats that I enjoyed seeing. The colourful canal boats (Moliceiros) originally utilised for the harvesting of seaweed before the days of chemical fertilizers (what a travesty that has been), now transport tourists up and down the river and around the lagoon.
There are various lengths of tours available ranging from approx €13.00 – €25.00. I didn’t take a trip, I am after all a budget traveller, but it was enjoyable to watch the boats as they travelled up and down the river and they provide a great photo opportunity.
There are several shopping malls in the town, handy if it rains, as well as some lovely independent shops. I enjoyed a look around the Forum Mall, it isn’t huge but it was where I discovered my now favourite shop for clothing, Natura. I have bought a few items of clothing from various branches of Natura and everything has washed extremely well and is a lovely fit on me, plus, coming to Portugal so often I always seem to find a sale and manage to get things with 70% off.
Sunday Collectibles Fair
Held on the 4th Sunday of each month from 8:00 till 6:00 pm
I was very lucky to stay on the 4th weekend of the month and was thrilled to discover this Collectibles Fair that seemed to fill the entire centre of the city. It went on and on, filling every street and every corner and had a lot of highly specialised stalls. If you are going to visit and enjoy looking around a market of this type then it would be best to stay on the Saturday night and enjoy this event.
Sunday in General
It was extremely busy everywhere on the Sunday, it is obviously a go to destination for families on a Sunday, the canal boats were busy, there was a little ‘train’ going about the streets, and there was a general air of excitement. With motorcycles driving through the streets and police on patrol it reminded me of some of the popular seaside towns back home where I live in Ireland.
The Best Ice Cream Ever
On the Sunday evening I went out for a bit of a walk and found the place to be pretty much deserted. Obviously Sunday is majorly busy during the day but then the day trippers all go home and everything quietens down. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fill in my Sunday evening but thankfully I discovered Gelataria Milano and had the most delicious ice cream (strictly speaking it is gelato). If you are visiting I would highly recommend it.
I think it was possibly the best gelato I have ever tasted. Lemon which was SO fresh and tangy, Pomegranate also very fresh, melon, and vanilla. The raspberries were gorgeous too. Wish I was back there now!
Where I Stayed
I stayed in the Aveiro Rossio Hostel, you can read about it HERE.
Another place well worth a visit. I think it’s the novelty factor of the canal boats that sticks in my mind, and the Sunday market. I know there is much more to discover there so I will maybe return some day and investigate further. If you have ever been to Aveiro please do comment and share your personal experiences.
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