Have you ever wondered about the things to do in Aveiro, in Central Portugal? In this article I’m going to show you 10 places you must visit when you get to this wonderful city, also known as the “Portuguese Venice“.
Why you must visit Aveiro?
Aveiro is a thousand years old, of which two hundred and fifty as a city. It was founded due to commercial shipping and salt production.
By the end of the 16th century, the instability of the vital communication between the Ria (Aveiro lagoon) and the sea caused the closing of the canal, disabling the port and causing insalubrious problems due to the stagnation of waters in the lagoon.
In the beginning of the 19th century, the canal is opened (Barra) giving rise to a period of great development.
Aveiro is an important urban centre, specially in these areas: port, railways, university and tourism.
This city is located in the central region of Portugal and is home to 60 thousand inhabitants within city limits. It is located 55 km northwest of Coimbra and approximately 70 km south of Porto.
And obviously, aside from all the above reasons, there are so many things to do in Aveiro that will make you want to visit it and that will make your trip one to remember.
Here is the top 10 of the places to visit and things to do in Aveiro
1. Aveiro Museum
Aveiro Museum, previously known as Monastery of Jesus (Mosteiro de Jesus), was a convent for women that was built in 1458. During the following centuries many reforms and restorations marked this place.
In Aveiro Museum you will find Igreja de Jesus, with a beautiful architecture characterised by the glazed tiles and its golden colour. Furthermore, you will discover the portrait of Princess Santa Joana as well as the peculiar collection of Portuguese baroque art.
- Site: http://mca.cm-aveiro.pt
- Location: Avenida de Santa Joana Princesa, Aveiro
2. Statues on the bridges (Estátuas das Pontes)
Tourist location where you’ll find four full body bronze statues.
Each statue depicts a figure of the city of Aveiro.
Salineira and Marnoto: both depicting the inhabitants of Aveiro, working.
Parceira do Ramo and Fogueteiro: statues that represent tradition and festivities in Aveiro.
- These four statues depict people wearing traditional costumes of Aveiro and holding different symbols of this region such as working tools to go to the salt pans.
- Location: Praça Humberto Delgado, also known as Ponte Praça or Pontes.
3. Oficina do Doce
One of the things to do in Aveiro is going to the pastry shop Oficina do Doce, a main attraction in the city. Here, you will know all there is to know about ovos moles (literally “soft eggs”), Aveiro’s speciality. You’ll have the possibility to know its history and learn how to manufacture this delicacy in the most traditional way.
- Visits: if you want to visit Oficina do Doce, you have to make a reservation at the company’s site. This visit will last between 30 to 45 minutes.
- Location: Rua João Mendonça n.º 23, Letra JKL (Galeria Rossio), Aveiro
- Site: www.oficinadodoce.com
4. Onda Colossal
Another of the things to do in Aveiro is going on a boat tour. Onda Colossal was born in 2010 and gives you the opportunity to make a boat trip through Ria de Aveiro. This tour will give you the chance to get to know the city in a different way; it takes about 45 minutes but you’ll see some of the most beautiful places in the city.
- Visited canals: Canal Central, Canal das Pirâmides, Canal de São Roque and Canal do Cojo
- Location: Old Aveiro Port Authority, next to Praça Humberto Delgado
5. Aveiro Cathedral (Sé)
Aveiro Cathedral, also known as São Domingos Church, is located in an old Dominican convent and should be on your list of the places to visit and things to do in Aveiro.
This Cathedral stands out because of its superb façade, where you can see images of the Human Virtues and the impressive bell tower. Inside, you’ll see the white limestone everywhere, the various chapels are decorated with carving sets, stone and glazed tiles from different times.
- Location: Rua Batalhão Caçadores Dez, nº 67, Aveiro
6. Art Nouveau Museum (Museu de Arte Nova)
For those who want to become more knowledgeable and want to time travel, visiting Aveiro Art Nouveau Museum is a must.
Aside from the numerous works of art, you can stop at the beautiful tea house, take a break but continue to enjoy the best of Portuguese history.
- Site: http://mca.cm-aveiro.pt
- Location: Rua Dr. Barbosa Magalhães, números 9, 10, 11 e Travessa do Rossio, Aveiro
In Aveiro there is a tour you can take that can help you identify Art Nouveau buildings and monuments. Check here the incredibly beautiful buildings that you can’t miss.
7. Eco Cycling Route (Via Ecológica Ciclável)
Inaugurated in 2018, the Via Ecológica Ciclável is a route with wooden walkways that allows visitors to admire the unique beauty of Ria de Aveiro, in places less known and further away from the city – a visit to this place should be on your list of things to do in Aveiro.
Enjoy the several kilometres of this route and admire the fauna and flora typical of this place as well as the beautiful landscape, the canals and the local moliceiro boats.
As I mentioned before, this 7.5 km route in Aveiro is done, most of it, on wooden walkways and is part of a 48 km cycling route connecting Estarreja to Mira beach.
About 2 km after the beginning of the route, you’ll find a bar where you can have a drink, a cup of coffee or eat an ice cream.
For those who want to cover this route on foot, I suggest you start at Esgueira, 4 km away from Aveiro historic centre (see location below) and turn at Vilarinho.
If you prefer to use a bicycle, you should know that the city has free bicycles for you to rent, in the city-centre. If you want to have some chances of getting an available bicycle, you should be at the store at opening hours (9h). You can find the bicycles close to the shopping centre Forum Aveiro, in the store Buga.
- Beginning of the wooden walkways: Cais da Ribeira de Esgueira
8. Marinha da Troncalhada Ecomuseum
Marinha da Troncalhada Ecomuseum is part of the Aveiro City Museum.
When you visit this place you will learn more about the traditional implements that were used in the daily life as well as in salt production.
- Site: http://mca.cm-aveiro.pt
- Location: Canal das Pirâmides, Aveiro
9. Costa Nova Beach
Costa Nova beach, also known as Costa Nova do Prado, is located in the west coast, 11 km from Aveiro historic centre.
It is perfect for those who love water sports, such as windsurf, kitesurf and others.
Furthermore, this beach has as its main attraction the beautiful houses painted in a unique way, with vertical and horizontal stripes. These houses belong mainly to local fishermen and stand out to those visiting Costa Nova.
- Location: Rua da Quinta do Cravo, 17, Ílhavo
10. Natural Reserve (Reserva Natural) of Dunas de São Jacinto
Of the things to do in Aveiro, you should take some time visiting the Natural Reserve of Dunas de São Jacinto. As the name points out, this is a natural reserve that exists to preserve natural habitats, flora and fauna. This protected area was created in 1979 and covers about 700 hectares.
You can find it in the peninsula, between Ovar and São Jacinto, with the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Ria (Aveiro Lagoon) to the east.
- Days you will need to visit Aveiro: 1 day
Where you can spend the night
I had the privilege to spend the night at Modern Apartment, located in the historic centre of Aveiro. This apartment belongs to an architect and has plenty of natural light, perfect to begin your day in a perfect mood. The owners are very kind and will do what is possible to make your stay in Aveiro one to remember.
Hotel das Salinas** (affiliate link)
Hotel das Salinas is located in the city centre, near the University and Forum Aveiro. With views to the main canal of the city, it has self-sufficient rooms and free Wi-Fi.
OC Salon Charm Hostel & Suites (affiliate link)
OC Salon has elegant rooms and is located in the centre of Aveiro. Free Wi-Fi is available in this hotel and you’ll find Aveirense Theatre a few metres away as well as other places to have fun at night.
Hotel Moliceiro**** (affiliate link)
This 4-star charming hotel is located in Aveiro and offers beautiful views over Ria de Aveiro. Free Wi-Fi is available in the hotel and the staff can help you go through some of the things to do in Aveiro.
Price: 99 €/night, double room
Services: Free Wi-Fi, breakfast included
Check-in: 15h - 24h
Check-out: Until 13h
Location: Rua Doutor Barbosa de Magalhães, 15/17, 3800 - 154 Aveiro
Where to eat
Gelados de Portugal (The best ice creams in Aveiro)
How to get to Aveiro
You can come to Aveiro by car, train or bus.
If you're travelling by car, my suggestion is to leave your car in Forum Aveiro parking lot or in Mercado Manuel Firmino. You can also park your car in the street, but you'll have to buy a ticket every 2 hours.
The best way to come to Aveiro is by train. If you're coming from Porto, it's an 1h10 trip and it's not too expensive. If you're coming from Coimbra, it's an 1h trip and costs a little more than the one from Porto.
If you choose the bus, my suggestion is for you to check the prices and schedule here.
Getting around Aveiro
You can and should visit the historic centre on foot. You can also discover the historic centre riding the BUGA bikes. It's a free service and one of the things to do in Aveiro! You can rent these bikes in Praça do Mercado.
Turismo Rota da Luz: Tourist information about Aveiro and its region
Address: Rua João Mendonça, 8, Aveiro
Aveiro Welcome Center: Aveiro Tourist Office
Address: Rua do Clube dos Galitos, 9, Aveiro
Are you going to visit Aveiro? Then don't hesitate to book your hotel room, your car or the best activities by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I'll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!
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