Aveiro, known as “The Venice of Portugal” due to canals, bridges, and moliceiro boats...

Aveiro, known as “The Venice of Portugal” due to canals, bridges, and moliceiro boats…


The city of Aveiro is known as “The Venice of Portugal” due to the large number of canals, bridges, moliceiros, boats typical of the region and its Ria. It is a Portuguese city located on the west coast of Portugal, its boundary to the north is the district of Porto, to the east the district of Viseu, to the south the district of Coimbra and to the west the Atlantic Ocean. This Atlantic city is at a distance of about 68 km from the city of Porto and 243 km from Lisbon. Aveiro is a city linked to the sea, and has seen a rejuvenation of its population since the creation of the University of Aveiro.
Aveiro was elevated to the category of village in the 13th century, beginning to develop around the Church of São Miguel, located in the current Praça da República. The Portuguese king D João ordered the construction of walls that were eventually demolished, and his stones were used to build a coastal jetty, to protect the violence of the ocean. This city received the privilege of holding a Franca fair in 1434, which still happens today, being known as the March fair. Aveiro was elevated to the category of city in 1759 by the king of Portugal D José I.
Aveiro has always been related to salt production, fishing and maritime trade since the Middle Ages. This city started to grow from the 15th century with the beginning of the Discoveries. Aveiro was one of the main ports involved in cod fishing during the dictatorial regime of Oliveira Salazar during the 20th century.

Main attractions to visit in Aveiro

  • Salinas de Aveiro: are the salt exploration place of Aveiro, in a system of marshes with islands, which provide a habitat of great diversity for birds and other aquatic organisms. The salt flats are a point of great historical importance for the city of Aveiro, and are currently one of the major points of tourist attraction in the city and region;
  • Costa Nova Beach: it is a high quality beach, located south of the Barra bridge, with an ocean front, with several infrastructures, namely urban area, several restaurants, sports venues for tennis and football, the " Clube da Vela da Costa Nova ", surf schools, paddle surf, kitesurf, and canoeing, and a riverfront to the Mira channel of the Ria de Aveiro. The beach is crossed by a bicycle path that connects the beaches of Ponte da Barra to Praia da Barra and Praia da Vagueira;
  • Praia da Barra: it is the beach located north of the Costa Nova beach, where we find the Aveiro Lighthouse, built in the 19th century, it is the largest lighthouse in Portugal with 62 in height, luminous range 23 nautical miles under normal conditions of atmospheric transparency, included in the 26 largest lighthouses in the world, and one of the great attractions of Aveiro, open to the public every Wednesday from 2 pm to 5 pm;
  • Paredão da Barra: it is the wall with a pedestrian path that goes from pParedão da Barra beach (old Praia Velha) to Aveiro lighthouse on the south jetty;
  • Praia de São Jacinto: it is the beach located to the north of the mouth of the Vouga River, a beach with less influx due to the distant access from the main villages. Although the beach of São Jacinto is physically close to Aveiro, access is via the national road 327 from Ovar. Near this beach we find the small fishing village of São Jacinto opposite the Ria de Aveiro, with an air base and little trade, and the camping site of São Jacinto;
  • Ostraveiro Marinha Passagem: it is a tourist attraction in the Aveiro estuary with boat trips, guided tours to the production of oysters, and tasting of oysters produced in the Aveiro estuary;
  • São Jacinto Dunes Nature Reserve: it is a natural park for the protection of wild habitats, flora and fauna, consisting of a dune cord that separates the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the brackish waters of the Vouga River, very sought for bird watching. Here we find the Mata de São Jacinto, Pateira and the dunes, one of the ecological and scenic riches of this region;
  • Pateira de Frossos: it is a path in the natural park of the Dunas de São Jacinto in the Ria de Aveiro, a popular place for bird watching;
  • Aveiro Museum at the Monastery of Jesus: it is a museum with an exhibition of sacred art installed in the old monastery of the female Dominican Order, built in the 15th century, classified as a National Monument since 1910;
  • Parque Dom Pedro Infante: it is a wooded park in the city of Aveiro that surrounds a lake, with playground, tea house, monuments, and walking areas;
  • Beira Mar – Jardim do Rossio: it is a park in the center of the city of Aveiro where we can make trips on Moliceiros, the traditional boats of the estuary of Aveiro;
  • The channels of Aveiro: the city of Aveiro has a network of channels that cross the entire city and reach the Ria, with three main channels: the Canal de São Roque: is the central channel of Moliceiro's navigable city between Jardim do Rossio and Praça General Humberto Delgado de Aveiro, limits the city of Aveiro to the Northwest and separates it from the salt flats. From this channel we can see the Art Nouveau buildings, the Mercado do Peixe, the Beira-Mar neighborhood and the Aveiro Museum; the channel of the Santos Mártires: that runs through the city to the Southwest, and the channel of the Pyramids: it is called thus for having two pyramids in its beginning.

Other attractions to explore in Aveiro

  • Museu Maritímo de Ílhavo: is a museum created in 1937, expanded in 2001 to the current building with a permanent exhibition related to memories of work at sea, culture and Portuguese maritime identity;
  • Laços de Amizade Bridge: it is one of Aveiro's pedestrian bridges decorated with thousands of colored ribbons, named after an idea created by the students of the University of Aveiro, which consists of ties placed by two people as a symbol of friendship;
  • Ponte dos Carcavelos: it is a pedestrian bridge of the São Roque canal from where we can enjoy the sunset over the salt flats of Aveiro;
  • Circular Pedestrian Bridge: also known as the Loop Bridge, it is a bridge of modern architecture that allows pedestrian or bicycle circulation, consisting of a circle with 26m of perimeter, which joins the four banks of the channels in Aveiro;
  • Santo André Ship-Museum: it is a pole of the Maritime Museum of Ílhavo installed in an old ship of the Portuguese cod fleet built in 1948 and dismantled in 1997, where we can visit and learn about how the trawling fisheries are carried out. codfish;
  • Aveiro Moles Workshop: it is an activity provided by a local company, with the aim of promoting the local gastronomy of the sweets of Eggs, a Aveiro specialty that consists of a regional sweet originating in Catholic convents in the century XVI, composed of an egg and sugar mass covered by a thin wafer;
  • Marinha da Troncalhada Ecomuseum: it is an ecomuseum where we can learn about artisanal salt production methods;
  • Jardim Oudinot: it is a coastal park located along the Mira canal with a recreational anchorage, children's playgrounds, picnic areas, sports fields for football, basketball, and tennis, very popular for walking and cycling;
  • Marinha da Noeirinha: it is one of the old salt pans located on the Beira Mar de Aveiro, with a wooden building in the shape of a salt pyramid, with a museum shop where we find hundreds of years of history related to salt production handmade;
  • "Praia Costa Nova" motorboat: it is a museum boat managed by private entities that makes an extended tourist route through the Ria de Aveiro, allowing to appreciate the landscape of the Ria in a more;
  • São Gonçalinho Chapel: it is a chapel built in 1714, classified by IPPAR in 2003 as a Property of Public Interest;
  • Igreja da Misericórdia de Aveiro: it is a church built in the 17th century, with a façade covered with tiles;
  • Forte de Barra de Aveiro: it is a fort located at the mouth of the Vouga River, which never had any military function due to the silting up of the coastline. The Barra de Aveiro fort has been classified as a Building of Public Interest since 1974;
  • Fábrica Centro Ciência Viva de Aveiro: is a partnership between the University of Aveiro and the Centro de Ciência Viva in Portugal, with the objective of promoting the dissemination of scientific and technological culture;
  • Lugar dos Afetos: is a didactic theme park dedicated to emotions, originated in the life project of the physician and writer Graça Gonçalves, inspired by Nature and human feelings;
  • Ribeira de Esgueira Wharf: it is a wharf where we find a birdwatching spot, next to the Aveiro Ria footbridge, a place for pedestrian walks;
  • Sé Catedral de Aveiro (São Domingos Church): it is the seat of the diocese of Aveiro, a church classified as a Property of Public Interest since 1996;
  • Casa do Major Pessoa: also known as Art Nouveau Museum, it is a museum installed in an Art Nouveau architecture building, classified as a Public Interest Building since 1997. The interior we can visit a house the Tea and Music room, however it is the exterior of the building that attracts the majority of visitors;
  • Forum of Aveiro: shopping center open and integrated into the natural landscape of the city. It includes restaurants, shops, cinemas, bookstores and underground parking. This commercial space is built inspired by the ancient Roman forum;
  • University of Aveiro: founded in 1973, it is an important center for technological development in Portugal. The University is located on the University Campus of Santiago;

Geographical situation of Aveiro

The Aveiro district is divided into 19 counties:

  1. Águeda
  2. Albergaria-a-Velha
  3. Anadia
  4. Arouca
  5. Aveiro
  6. Paiva Castle
  7. Thorn
  8. Estarreja
  9. Ílhavo
  10. Mealhada
  11. Murtosa
  12. Oliveira de Azeméis
  13. Oliveira do Bairro
  14. Ovar
  15. Santa Maria da Feira
  16. São João da Madeira
  17. Sever do Vouga
  18. Vacant
  19. Vale de Cambra

The district of Aveiro is bathed by the rivers Antuã, Caima, Cértima, Frades, Arda, Boco and Arões. The landscape of Aveiro is dominated by the Ria de Aveiro. The Ria de Aveiro includes an estuary, sand banks, freshwater lagoon, the Natural Reserve of the Dunes of São Jacinto, flora and fauna of great variety. The Ria's land allows the cultivation of rice and corn. We can visit the Ria de Moliceiro, a traditional boat from the region used to transport salt. Currently the Moliceiro boat is a tourist attraction. In Aveiro we find the mountains of Moldes, São Pedro Velho and the Serra do Arade, and a coastal coast of beaches about 40 km long.

Places to visit near Aveiro


Arouca: is a county seat town, located in the Aveiro district, located in the heart of the Douro River Hydrographic Basin. The municipality of Arouca is subdivided into 16 parishes: Alvarenga; Arouca and Burgo; Cabreiros and Albergaria da Serra; Canelas and Espiunca; Key; Covelo de Paivó and Janarde; Scar; Fermedo; Mansores; Molds (Arouca); Rossas; Santa Eulália; São Miguel do Mato; Stumbling; Urrô; and Várzea.
In Arouca we highlight the Arouca Monastery, the Paiva River Bridge, the Paiva Walkways, the Arouca Geopark and the river beaches of Albergaria, Areinho, Espiunca, Janarde, Meitriz, Paradinha and Vau. The gastronomy of this locality specializes in arouquesa meat and conventual sweets.

Castelo de Paiva

Castelo de Paiva: it is a town where the municipality is divided into 6 parishes: Fornos, Raiva, Pedorido and Paraíso, Real, Santa Maria de Sardoura, São Martinho de Sardoura, Sobrado and Bairros. This area of ​​the Aveiro district is deeply marked by the scenic beauty of the Douro, Paiva, Arda and Sardoura rivers. In Castelo de Paiva we highlight the proximity to the Douro river, the viewpoint of Catapeixe and the nature environment in a pure state.


Espinho: is a city located in the district of Aveiro, with the four parishes of: Anta and Guetim, Espinho, Paramos, and Silvalde. limited to the North with Vila Nova de Gaia. In Espinho there are the ruins of Castro de Ovil, the Igreja Matriz, the Casino de Espinho and its central area decorated with Portuguese pavement. In Espinho we find about 8 kms of beaches with ideal conditions for surfing, kitesurfing and bodyboarding. Espinho's beaches are the regular stage for European Beach Volleyball, Surf and Bodyboard championships. The main beaches of Espinho are: Azul beach, Bahia beach, Costa Verde, Marbelo beach, Paramos beach, Pop beach, Seca beach, Sereias beach and Silvalde beach.


Mealhada: it is a city located in the south of the district of Aveiro, it is one of the most significant urban centers of the wine sub-region of Bairrada. Mealhada is well known for its restaurants specializing in "roasted piglet à Barrada" and as the location of "Água, Pão, Vinho e Leitão – 4 Maravilhas da Mesa da Mealhada", a brand created and registered by the municipality in 2007 In the locality of Mealhada, we highlight the Chapel of Sant'Ana, the Center of Mealhada, the Mata Nacional do Buçaco, the Luso Spa, the Parque da Cidade and the Casino do Luso.The Mealhada is divided into the 6 parishes of: Barcouço; Casal Comba; Luso; Mealhada, Ventosa do Bairro and Antes; Pampilhosa; and Vacariça.


Ovar: it is a host city of a municipality divided into the 5 parishes of: Cortegaça; Esmoriz; Maceda; Union of Parishes of Ovar, São João, Arada and São Vicente de Pereira Jusã; and Válega. When we walk in Ovar we can see many buildings with facades decorated with tiles, which gave rise to the name by which the city of Ovar is known as "Cidade Museu do Azulejo". Ovar stands out for its great ecological value, due to the sea, the forest and the estuary, with the development of many activities related to tourism and leisure. In addition to nature, in Ovar we can visit the Museum and House of Júlio Dinis, the Steps of Ovar, the Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucesso, the Buçaquinho Environmental Park, Praia do Furadouro, Praia de Cortegaça, Praia da Barrinha, São Pedro de Maceda Beach, Torrão do Lameiro Beach and Areinho River Beach. Ovar is known for its traditional Carnival, and for the sponge cake of Ovar, an ex-libris of the city's gastronomy.

Gastronomy of Aveiro

The gastronomy of Aveiro reflects the variety and unique flavors and the result of ancient wisdom passed down from generation to generation.
Aveiro includes specialties such as:

  • Petinga stew;
  • Eel Boiler;
  • Aries à Lampantana;
  • Chorizo ​​with greens;
  • Escabeche eels;
  • Mussel Skewers;
  • Piglet à Bairrada;
  • Bread from Vale de Ílhavo;
  • Ray in Pitau Sauce;
  • Regueifa;
  • Rojões;
  • Roast Veal.

Aveiro Festivities

Aveiro has several important festivals and pilgrimages, namely:

  • Branch Delivery Parade and the São Gonçalinho Festival: held in January
  • Festas da Ria: held in July or August depending on the tides
  • Festas da Cidade: takes place on the municipal holiday on 12 May and includes a Procession of the Patron Saint Santa Joana Princesa

Aveiro Crafts

Aveiro handicrafts includes typical products and traditions, namely:

  • folk costumes;
  • ceramics;
  • the tin shop;
  • woodwork;
  • rags;
  • lace;
  • embroidery;
  • basketry;
  • painted sarongs;
  • miniatures of boats from Estarreja;
  • carpets and boats from Murtosa.

Aveiro region economy

Aveiro's most important agricultural productions are cereals, fruits, vegetables and wines. It is in this region that the Bairrada Wine Region is found. Aveiro has a rich livestock production, namely the bovine race and dairy products.

The district of Aveiro represents 6.7% of the total companies that exist in Portugal, and its production reaches 5.7%, a value only surpassed by Lisbon and Porto. In the Aveiro district, the dominant sectors of the economy are the manufacturing industry and commerce with 50% and 32% respectively of the region's turnover. The fisheries sector still has some importance in the economy of this region, representing 19% of total sales.

The Aveiro district has as main activities the traditional sectors, namely metalworking, chemical industry, wood and cork. With the appearance of the University of Aveiro, the Aveiro region had a very strong development in terms of goods and technological component products, with an export vocation.

Quick facts about Aveiro

The name "Aveiro" comes from "bird", due to the large number of birds that exist in the region

  • City population: approximately 79 thousand inhabitants
  • District population: about 715 thousand inhabitants
  • Area: 197.58 km2
  • Region: Central Portugal
  • District: Aveiro
  • Former Province: Beira Litoral
  • Municipal Holiday: May 12th
  • Beaches: 5 beaches in Aveiro
    • Barra beach;
    • Costa Nova beach;
    • Espinho beach;
    • Furadouro beach;
    • Torreira beach.
  • Thermal Spa: 1 (Curia Thermal Spa)