Located in the Centre of Portugal and 23 km east of the “Portuguese Venice”, Aveiro, the city of Águeda became world famous in 2012 because of its colourful hanging umbrellas.
Even though most people visit this city to admire the hanging umbrellas (me included), Águeda and its surrounding area hide other treasures you won’t want to miss. One of the places you’ll discover in this article became one of my favourite places in Portugal!
What to see and visit in Águeda
Umbrella Sky Project
In exhibition since 2012, from the 1st of July to the 30th of September, the Umbrella Sky Project is a project created by the agency Sexta Feira with the goal of colouring and bringing joy to the city.
Apart from the beautiful hanging umbrellas in the streets of the historic centre (in the street Rua Luís de Camões as well as in the adjacent streets), the benches, the lamp posts and the building facades are covered by beautiful works of street art.
This project was a complete success and, because of that, the agency Sexta Feira was invited to replicate it throughout the world.
If you visit Águeda in the winter, know that in December the city has the hanging umbrellas lighten with Christmas lights!
Apart from the Umbrella Sky Project, the city welcomes every year, between the first Saturday and the last Sunday of July, the Festival AgitÁgueda. You can go to concerts for free on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to see some of the most important Portuguese artists perform. You can also eat at one of the street restaurants (tascas), admire street artists and discover new street art.
As I already mentioned, every year, during the Festival AgitÁgueda, new works of street art are displayed and some are replaced. If you visit Águeda in July, August or September, you can admire most of those works of street art.
Before you visit Águeda, I suggest you download the Urban Art Map of the city.
Pateira de Fermentelos
The lagoon Pateira de Fermentelos began to form in the 15th century after several floods of Certoma and Águeda rivers that affected the nearby fields.
It is, today, the biggest natural lagoon in the Iberian Peninsula with about 5 km2.
Before I visited this place, I did some research and saw some photographs on the internet. At first sight, it looked like a beautiful place but didn’t seem to be that amazing.
However, as soon as I got to this place and after some minutes exploring Pateira de Fermentelos, I was stunned by the natural beauty of this lagoon!
Most part of the lagoon seemed to have disappeared below a huge carpet of violet flowers making this place a breathtaking sight.
I don’t recall having seen such a romantic place before and, because of that, I consider it one of my favourite places in Portugal!
Don’t hesitate to stroll through this lagoon and go to the beautiful bandstands to contemplate such beauty.
Pateira de Fermentelos has several access points but the one I suggest you take is the one in Espinhel (location in Google Maps) – it was here that I took some amazing photographs.
At this location you’ll find a picnic area and other reasons for you to spend a pleasant moment in the company of your soul mate, family or friends.
Important information: I took the photographs above in December so I can’t promise you’ll find these beautiful violet flowers when you visit this lagoon.
When I wrote this article, a wooden walkway was being built between Pateira de Requeixo and Pateira do Carregal (two other access points to the lagoon) so that people can “walk on water” as it happens in Ria de Aveiro.
National Railway Museum – Macinhata do Vouga Section
Created in 1981, in the small Macinhata do Vouga train station, this section of the National Railway Museum intends to show its visitors the history of the old railway that connected Aveiro to Viseu, a railway known as linha do Vouga (literally “Vouga line”).
At this museum, you’ll find the locomotives and railcars, used to transport passengers and merchandise, and several pieces/objects used in the train stations and railway maintenance.
Information: when I visited this place, the ticket cost 2 €.
On the way to Macinhata do Vouga, make a stop next to N1 road, in Lamas do Vouga, to admire Rio Marnel medieval bridge, a bridge used in St. James’ Way (check the exact location in the map in the end of this article).
If you enjoyed your visit to the Macinhata do Vouga Section of the Railway National Museum, then I’m sure you’re going to love to make a trip in a historic train, in the Vouga line.
The historic train ride takes place every Saturday and some Sundays between June and October, between Aveiro and Macinhata do Vouga train stations (check dates here). Aboard this historic train, you’ll have the opportunity to taste regional delicacies, admire the wonderful landscape and listen to traditional Portuguese music from this region.
The departure from Aveiro train station is at 13h40 and the arrival to Macinhata do Vouga is scheduled to happen at 15h (check schedule here).
Apart from the train ride, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the museum and then leave towards Águeda to discover its historic centre. The return to Aveiro is around 19h.
When I visited this city, the tickets cost 30 € per person or 54 € if I also wanted to go on a historic train ride in Douro region. My suggestion is that you buy your ticket(s) as soon as possible at a ticket office in one of the Portuguese train stations.
As you may have noticed throughout this article, Águeda isn’t just a place to visit because of its hanging umbrellas. To be honest, before I visited the city, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with its charm but the truth is that Águeda and its surrounding area have amazed me!
When you visit the Centre of Portugal, make sure to make a stop in Águeda, whether by car or train, leaving from Aveiro.
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