What To See In Aveiro Portugal
Top Things To Do In & Around Aveiro
Planning your visit to Aveiro, Portugal? Although many people visit Aveiro on a day trip from Porto to see the colorful moliceiro boats and beautiful Art Nouveau architecture, Aveiro has many more things to see and do. Our Aveiro guide has everything you need to know about the Venice of Portugal, one of Portugal’s most colorful and unique cities. From reasons to visit, top things to do in Aveiro, how many days to stay, restaurants, hotels, beaches, nature reserves, tips, and more. If you’re still unsure if Aveiro is worth visiting, check out all the reasons to visit Aveiro!
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Table of Contents
Is Aveiro Worth Visiting
The little town of Aveiro in Portugal is a colorful city that often gets mixed opinions. You either love it or don’t understand what the fuss is about. Aveiro is often referred to as the Venice of Portugal, and we believe this is the root of the problem.
Aveiro is No Venice, and if you visit Aveiro with Venice in mind, you will be disappointed.
HOWEVER, Aveiro is charming, colorful, sweet, and addictive, with lots of things to do and see and many hidden gems. Aveiro is filled with stunning architecture, great restaurants, delicious regional sweets, interesting museums, unique street art, beautiful beaches, and nature reserves. It is the perfect destination for a relaxed weekend with a mix of attractions for different tastes.
Just don’t visit Aveiro with Venice in mind, or you will be underwhelmed. This was precisely how we felt when we first visited Aveiro on a day trip from Porto. To be fair, we also had bad weather and only a few hours to visit Aveiro. On our last Portugal road trip, we decided to give Aveiro another chance after hearing wonderful things about it over the years. This time we chose not to visit Aveiro on a day trip from Porto but to stay in Aveiro and take the time to get to know it, and we completely changed our minds.
The bottom line is that Aveiro is definitely worth visiting. You just need to adjust your expectations and stop comparing Aveiro to Venice.
Aveiro Portugal Travel Video
Still not sure Aveiro is worth visiting? Check out our travel video with a bit of what you can see and do in Aveiro and Central Portugal. Don’t forget to drop us a like on YouTube and follow us for more
Reasons To Visit Aveiro Portugal
There are many reasons to visit Aveiro. Here are some of our favorite ones:
- Aveiro is one of the most colorful towns in Portugal, and who doesn’t love colorful places?
- Aveiro Lagoon and its network of canals.
- The traditional moliceiro boats add to Aveiro’s charming atmosphere.
- Thanks to the Art Nouveau buildings and tiled facades, unique architecture can be found all over town.
- Numerous traditional sweets are made locally, the most famous of which are Ovos Moles
- There are beautiful beaches nearby.
- It’s a great cycling destination thanks to numerous cycling routes and its flat topography (a rarity in Portugal)
- Great foodie scene with some of the best seafood restaurants in Portugal.
- Unique street art and museums.
- Beautiful nature reserves in close proximity.
What To Do & See in Aveiro Portugal
So, after establishing the fact that Aveiro is definitely worth a visit, let’s start talking about the best things to do in Aveiro and the top attractions in and around Aveiro for your visit.
Top Things To Do in Aveiro City Center
Ride a Moliceiro Boat (or just check them out)
One of the most famous attractions in Aveiro must be taking a tour of the canals on a moliceiro boat. Therefore, it should be the first thing on your list of things to do. Molicerios are the traditional colorful boats that were used in the past to harvest seaweed for fertilizing agricultural lands. Nowadays, instead of catching seaweed, they catch tourists.
In recent years the colorful molicerio boats has become the symbol of Aveiro. You can take one of the many moliceiro tours, or you can just admire them from afar and check out their unique decorations. Usually, there are two painted panels at the stern and two at the bow. You’ll find references to historical and religious events on some of them or humorous paintings of erotic nature on others. Another traditional boat that can be found around Aveiro is the mercatelo which is very similar to the moliceiro, but the mercatelo is wider and has a straight bow, unlike the curly bows of the moliceiros.
Moliceiro Tour Info: A typical moliceiro tour will take you along the main canals of Aveiro, and you’ll get to see some of the bridges and beautiful Art Nouveau buildings. The boat ride typically lasts about 45-60 minutes and costs around € 12-15. While on the boat, you are exposed to the sun, so bring your hat and slap on some sunscreen. Check out this Moliceiro Tour that combines a short ride of the canals as well as a city highlight walking tour for a great price!
Walk Along Aveiro’s Canals
Aveiro is best explored by foot or by bike. The canals and Aveiro Lagoon are the reasons Aveiro has become popular amongst tourists in recent years. and for a good reason. On top of exploring the canals on a moliceiro boat, you should also take a stroll along the canals of Aveiro.
Walk along the main canals, cross some of the bridges and enjoy the colorful buildings along Aveiro’s waterways. Walk along R. do Clube dos Galitos and R. Homem de Cristo. Then cross one of the bridges and walk on the other side of the canal. You can even tie a ribbon on Ponte Laços de Amizade bridge or Ponte Laços de Irene Bridge if you like.
Other scenic spots can be found along Cais dos Mercanteis, Cais dos Botirões and Rossio Gardens.
Aveiro Tip: You can pick up a free map of Aveiro at the Tourist Office, which is located on Rua João Mendonça no. 8.
Explore the Pretty Streets of Aveiro
Aveiro has charming streets filled with beautiful churches, Art Nouveau buildings, souvenir shops, cafes, delicatessens, and more. Start by exploring one of Aveiro’s most charming and traditional neighborhoods, Beira Mar. Explore the maze of streets between the roundabout bridge on R. João Mendonça and Largo da Praça do Peixe. Make sure to visit Praça do Peixe, where Aveiro fish market is located. You can also visit the Circular Pedestrian Bridge, which has a unique structure.
Another street you must visit during your stay in Aveiro is Rua de Coimbra. It is a lovely pedestrian street where you’ll find some artwork, pretty shops, and the beautiful Church of Aveiro’s Mercy (Igreja da Misericórdia de Aveiro) with its azulejo tile façade. You must also visit one of the most beautiful (and delicious) shops in Portugal, Confeitaria Peixinho. This is actually the oldest Ovos Moles shop in Aveiro (founded in 1856). Inside you’ll find many delicious regional sweets.
Aveiro Train Station
Admire Aveiro’s Art Nouveau Buildings
One of the best things to do in Aveiro is taking an Art Nouveau tour. Aveiro is known for its splendid Art Nouveau architecture. In fact, Aveiro is a member of the “Réseau Art Noveau Network”. There are 28 Art Nouveau buildings in Aveiro. A few of those are located just along the main canal on R. João Mendonça. If you want to cross off your list some of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in town, check out this self-guided Art Nouveau tour. You can also visit the Art Nouveau Museum and use one of their brochures to guide you through the beautiful Art Nouveau route in Aveiro.
Aveiro FREE Tour: We love to take free walking tours of any city we visit. A guide can really provide insight and highlight some of the best attractions in town. This FREE walking tour of Aveiro is highly recommended, and you will get to experience some of the best things Aveiro has to offer in a short time!
Check Out the Artwork
We did not expect to find so many unique street art pieces around Aveiro but strolling along the streets of Aveiro’s center; you’ll find pretty tiled sidewalks as well as tiled murals with maritime motives.
Aveiro Train Station is also a great place for art lovers. Check out the next section for more details. Opposite Aveiro’s train station, you’ll find a unique artwork created by Vhils, a famous Portuguese street artist who is known for his revolutionary technique. He uses explosives, construction tools, and chemicals to create his artwork. Just next to it, you’ll find another beautiful work by António Conceição.
Admire the Azulejo Artwork at Aveiro Train Station
One of the best places in Aveiro to see azulejo tiles must be Aveiro Train Station. The façade of the old train station is covered with stunningly beautiful azulejo murals. You will also find blue and white murals along the platforms. These murals depict scenes from Aveiro’s history, landscape, and everyday lives of its people throughout the years.
Taste Aveiro's Traditional Sweets - Ovos Moles and More
Portugal is known for its addictive traditional sweets, especially Pastéis de Nata. However, each region in Portugal has its own regional sweets, many of which are hundreds of years old, and just like the famous Pastéis de Nata, they were initially created by Portuguese nuns.
Ovos Moles are Aveiro’s most famous traditional sweets. They are made from egg yolks and sugar, with an outside shell made from rice paper or wheat flour. Ovos Moles are known for their nautical-themed shapes, such as seashells, clams, fish, and more.
Aveiro is also known for some other sweets like Almendrados de Aveiro (perfect for almond lovers) but our favorites are Raivas de Aveiro. These crunchy pretzel-shaped thin cookies are less sweet and extremely addictive. They were the perfect snack for our road trip, and we wished we had bought a couple of more packages.
The best place to try the Aveiro’s local sweets is Confeitaria Peixinho. This beautifully designed shop has so many sweets. We actually visited their factory and filmed the process of making Ovos Moles, Almendrados and Raivas. We even met the woman who invented the original recipe of the Raivas! Check out our Portugal videos on YouTube.
Visit The Local Fish Market and Try the Local Seafood in Aveiro
We really wanted to visit Aveiro’s fish market in the early morning hours, but unfortunately, it was closed during our visit (closed on Sundays). If you love fish markets and you don’t mind the smell, you should visit Aveiro Fish Market (or the one in Costa Nova). Aveiro’s Mercado do Peixe was built at the beginning of the 20th century, but it has been renovated in recent years. It offers fresh fish stalls in the mornings, and later you can sit at one of its restaurants, devouring some of the freshly-caught fish of the day and enjoying the views of the Sao Roque canal.
One of the best things to do in Aveiro is to try the local seafood dishes. Aveiro has some of the best seafood restaurants in Portugal. You can either try one of the many traditional cod dishes and seafood dishes, the ever-popular shrimp and fish kebabs or ask for a freshly caught fish on the grill. Check out our Aveiro Foodie Section for more.
Visit Some of Aveiro’s Museums
Aveiro has some very unique museums you can visit during your stay.
Art Nouveau Museum (Museu de Arte Nova)
We’ve already briefly mentioned the Art Nouveau Museum, which is located in a stunning Art Nouveau building on Rua Dr. Barbosa de Magalhães 9-11. Inside the museum, you’ll find a roadmap of all 28 Art Nouveau buildings in Aveiro, an art gallery, and seasonal art exhibitions. You can also visit the lovely Casa de Chá tearoom and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a sweet delicacy.
Address: R. Dr. Barbosa de Magalhães 9-11
Aveiro Museum (Santa Joana Museum)
Another interesting museum to visit is the Museum of Aveiro which is located in one of Aveiro’s oldest convents whose history dates back to the 15th century. The museum is referred to as Santa Joana Museum since Princes Santa Joana, daughter of King Afonso V, used to live there. Inside the museum, you’ll find the marble tomb of the princess, the Church of Jesus, and the cloister, all of which are beautifully decorated with golden woodwork and azulejo tiles. There are also collections of jewelry, religious art, and historical artifacts.
Address: Avenida de Santa Joana 3810-329 Aveiro
Museu Marítimo de Ílhavo and Museu Vista Alegre in Ílhavo
Other museums that you can visit are Museu Marítimo de Ílhavo and Museu Vista Alegre which are located at the nearby Ílhavo, about 10 minutes drive from Aveiro. The Maritime Museum of Ílhavo highlights the strong connection of the local residents with Aveiro Lagoon.
The Vista Alegre Museum highlights the local production of artistic porcelain, which started at the beginning of the 19th century with the foundation of the Vista Alegre Porcelain Factory, the first industrial plant dedicated to producing porcelain in Portugal. We actually stayed at Montebelo Vista Alegre Ílhavo Hotel which highlights the heritage, social, and artistic importance of the ceramic industry in Portugal. It is part of the Vista Alegre complex and includes a palace, a chapel, and the Vista Alegre Museum.
Museu Marítimo de Ílhavo Address: Avenida Doutor Rocha Madahil 193, 3830-193 Ílhavo | Museu Vista Alegre Address: Lugar da, 3830-292 Ílhavo
Cycling in Aveiro
If you’ve ever been to Portugal, you probably know Portugal is not an ideal destination for cycling tours, but thanks to the flat topography of Aveiro, cyclers will enjoy exploring the town and nearby area on a bike. This highly recommended guided bike tour will take you along some of Aveiro’s most iconic places, including a ride along the estuary. If you’d rather ride at your own pace, hop on one of the free BUGA bikes and check out the cycling routes you can find around Aveiro.
Things To Do Near Aveiro Portugal
There are many beautiful areas near Aveiro you should visit. This lesser-known area is full of hidden gems. Here are some of the top things to see and do around Aveiro:
Visit Costa Nova and Its Colorful Striped Houses
A few kilometers from Aveiro center, you’ll find the fishing village of Costa Nova, whose colorful striped houses have regained some Instagram glory in recent years. These striped houses are called ‘palheiros’ (haystacks in Portuguese), and originally, they served as warehouses where local fishermen stored their fishing gear. Later, they were transformed into guesthouses that were used mainly during the summer months. Nowadays, they are one of the main attractions in Costa Nova, and some of them are available for rent.
Costa Nova is situated on a narrow peninsula, engulfed by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Aveiro Lagoon on the other. Other than the famous colorful houses you’ll find in Costa Nova, great seafood restaurants, an authentic fish market, some cafes and bars, a scenic wooden walkway, and the well-known Costa Nova Beach.
Costa Nova Tips: you can find Costa Nova’s striped houses dotted all over town but there’s a photogenic cluster of them along Avenida José Estevão. If you’d like to explore Costa Nova with a guide, check out this tour.
Explore Ria de Aveiro
Aveiro Lagoon is one of the main things that makes this area so special. The lagoon itself is beautiful, but it is the rich biodiversity and cultural importance that makes it so special. From seaweed harvesting, fishing, and salt mining to the modern water activities and Aveiro’s tourist appeal, Ria de Aveiro has had a huge impact on the culture and heritage of the local residents. So when you visit Aveiro, one of the best things to do is to try and experience the lagoon in any way you can. From taking a tour of the lagoon itself or trying your hand at watersport activities, or perhaps exploring it on a bike.
Stroll Along Passadiços de Aveiro
A great way to explore Aveiro’s Lagoon is to walk along Ria de Aveiro walkways. These wooden walkways provide a chance to discover the magical landscape of the lagoon at your own pace, either by foot or by bike. The official Aveiro walkways consist of a 7km route, but they are part of a larger project, “Via Ecológica Ciclável”, that stretches over 48 kilometers. Check out this video of Aveiro Walkways.
Sail on the Aveiro Estuary
Another unique way to discover the charming Aveiro Lagoon landscapes is to tour the lagoon on a solar boat. Sterna is a unique company focused on nautical and nature tourism around the waterways of Ria de Aveiro. They strive to highlight the rich and diverse ecosystem in the most ecological way. We’ve heard great things about their various tours and experiences, and it is perfect for birdwatching since their solar boats are extremely quiet. They offer various tours starting from 15 euros per adult.
Take a Stroll through Aveiro Salines
Thanks to Aveiro Lagoon, salt mining was thriving in Aveiro for many years, making it one of the most important salt producers in Portugal. Even though nowadays, the salt pans are no longer used for mass salt mining, it’s a nice place to visit, and it’s very close to Aveiro. You can visit the open-air museum, Ecomuseu da Marinha da Troncalhada, to learn more about the history and methods of traditional salt mining in Portugal. You can just follow the signs which provide information by yourself, or you can a take a guided tour if you wish.
Go to the Beach
There are a few beautiful beaches around Aveiro, so try to visit at least a couple of them if you have the time. The beaches around Aveiro are usually wide-open sandy beaches, but the water can be rough.
We’ve already mentioned Praia da Costa Nova with its striped houses. Costa Nova Beach also offers wooden walkways and bridges that add to its charm.
Just north of it, you’ll find Praia da Barra, which has lifeguards and good conditions for a variety of watersports. It also has a wide selection of restaurants and bars nearby.
Another beautiful beach to visit is Praia de São Jacinto which was awarded the Blue Flag award for environmental and urban quality. You can reach it with the ferry (check out our instructions for getting to São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve). São Jacinto beach is excellent for surfers, but it also offers lifeguard services. There are restricted areas for watersport activities and for swimming, and there are restrooms and a small bar. Check out this map of the beach.
Visit Farol de Aveiro / Barra Lighthouse
If you visit Barra Beach, you’ll notice a beautiful lighthouse (Farol de Aveiro) which is actually the tallest lighthouse in Portugal. The lighthouse is open to the public on Wednesdays, and there are no admission fees. You can climb its 280-290 stairs for free and reach the best viewpoint in the Aveiro area. Note that you can’t use the elevator.
Opening Hours: Winter: Wednesdays: 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm | Summer: Wednesdays: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Visit São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve
If you love nature and birdwatching, you should definitely visit São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve. The reserve offers sandy beaches, marshland, freshwater ponds, and maritime pine woods. You will also find here many species of birds. The entrance to the reserve is free, but you should register at the interpretation center and consult with one of the guides about which trail to take. There are four marked trails, ranging from 40 minutes to 3 hours.
How to Get there: The reserve is located northwest of Aveiro, and you can reach it with the ferry that crosses Aveiro Lagoon to São Jacinto. From there, it’s another 3.5 kilometers to get to the reserve.
Day Trip Tip: If you love nature resrves and you have a car, you should definetly check out Arouca Unesco Global Geopark which is located only an hour away from Aveiro. You can take the 8-kilometer Paiva Walkaways route or cross one of the world’s longest suspension bridges (buy your tickets in advance). There are also other hiking routes and adventure sports in the park.
Recommended Photo Spots in Aveiro
Aveiro has many beautiful spots and if you are into photography like we are, checking some photography spots is probably high on your list of things to do in Aveiro. So here are some of the best photo spots around Aveiro:
R. do Clube dos Galitos – For a view of the main canal with a backdrop of some beautiful Art Nouveau buildings.
R. João Mendonça – There are some pretty Art Nouveau buildings as well as beautiful tiled-façade houses along this street.
Praça Gen. Humberto Delgado – This roundabout is the perfect place for some long-exposure photography to catch both sides of Aveiro’s main canal.
R. de Coimbra – This pedestrian street has some lovely spots including beautiful shops and street art. You will also find the beautiful Igreja da Misericórdia de Aveiro with its blue and white tiled façade at R. de Coimbra. No. 23.
Cais dos Mercanteis – A great spot to photograph the colorful houses on the opposite side of this canal.
Ponte dos Botirões – The Circular Pedestrian Bridge has an interesting modern design and crosses the Canal de São Roque. You can also take a picture of it from afar with the canal and colorful houses on both sides from Largo da Praça do Peixe.
Aveiro’s train station and R. Dr. Arlindo Vicente – Aveiro’s train station has lovely tiles and azulejo artwork, and you’ll find interesting street art just next to it on the main street. Check out our previous Aveiro Street Art and Train Station sections.
Aveiro Salines – We would have loved to photograph Aveiro’s salt pans at sunset.
Costa Nova – As mentioned before, the unique striped houses in Costa Nova are pretty charming and will definitely add to your Aveiro photography collection.
Guided Tours of Aveiro
We always like to take a guided tour of each place we visit just to get to know the history and get familiar with the main areas. You can check out this FREE WALKING TOUR of Aveiro if you want to stroll around Aveiro with a local and pick his mind for more secret spots and unique things to do in Aveiro.
If you are planning on taking a Moliceiro Boat around Aveiro’s canal, why not combine it with a city highlight walking tour for almost the same price as a single boat ride? Check out this highly recommended tour which combines both!
Another great option is to explore Aveiro by bike. With this BIKE TOUR, you’ll have a chance to discover some of Aveiro’s most iconic buildings and the beautiful views of Aveiro Lagoon.
If you’re looking for an unusual tour, check out this is this NIGHT TOUR of Aveiro. It is a great chance to admire the beautiful Art Nouveau buildings at nighttime.
Aveiro Day Tour from Porto
Although we truly believe you should spend at least one night in Aveiro to really enjoy everything Aveiro has to offer, we understand that sometimes there is simply not enough time to see everything. If you want to see Aveiro on a day tour from Porto, check out this highly recommended tour of Aveiro and Paiva Walkways, which has gotten only 5-star reviews! If you’d rather skip Paiva Walkways and only visit Aveiro, check out this Half-Day Tour of Aveiro, which also includes a boat ride, of course.
What and Where to Eat in Aveiro – Restaurants & Food
Every region in Portugal has its own unique flavors, and other than the regional sweets like Ovos Moles, Aveiro has some other traditional food and dishes you should try. Having a taste of Aveiro’s local gastronomy was one of our favorite things to do during our visit. Here are some of the local dishes/delicacies you should try while visiting Aveiro:
Aveiro Food – What to Eat in Aveiro
Ovos Moles – We’ve already dedicated a whole section to these sweets, but seriously, it is one of Aveiro’s most well-known symbols, so give them a try, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth.
Tripa de Aveiro – Tripa is a Portuguese delicacy, kind of a mix of crepe and waffle. Traditionally it is served with ovos moles filling, but nowadays, they are served with different fillings such as chocolate or jam and even ham and cheese.
Codfish cake at Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau – The original branch of this popular Portuguese delicacy was opened in Lisbon. This unique pastel de bacalhau combines the iconic codfish flavors with the famous Serra da Estrela cheese. When you visit Rua de Coimbra, you’ll find their photogenic branch just next to Confeitaria Peixinho. We loved the fact you can actually watch these little pastels being made at the front of the shop.
Codfish – As always, codfish is a staple in Portuguese cuisine, and you’ll find many delicious versions of bacalhau dishes in Aveiro’s restaurants.
Caldeirada de Peixe – One of the most popular fish dishes in Aveiro is this fish stew. You will find many versions of it all over Aveiro and Portugal. It is usually made with various fish and seafood.
Caldeirada de Enguias – This eel stew is considered an original typical seafood dish of Aveiro. It is usually seasoned with saffron and served with seasonal vegetables.
Mussels and oysters – Fresh mussels and oysters which are caught in Ria de Aveiro can be found in all the seafood restaurants in Aveiro. One of the best places for oyster lovers is Ostraveiro, an oyster nursery where you can eat fresh oysters while overlooking the lagoon.
Aveiro Restaurants – Where to Eat in Aveiro
There are endless options in Aveiro for food lovers, so these are just some of the best places for foodies in Aveiro, Portugal:
Salpoente – One of the best (and most expensive) restaurants in Aveiro that offers delicious food in a unique setting (it is situated in former salt warehouses). Salpoente is famous for its modern dishes, which highlight local ingredients, and it has won several awards over the years. There is a tasting menu as well as an A La Carte menu (and a kid’s menu as well). Salpoente also hosts art exhibits and live music events, and it is quite popular amongst locals and tourists alike, so make sure to reserve a table.
Address: Antigo Cais de S. Roque 83, 3800-256 Aveiro | Menu | Tel: +351 234 382 674 / +351 915 138 619| Hours: 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm, 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm
O Bairro – Another great restaurant that serves typical Portuguese food with a twist. It is located in a beautiful building near Aveiro’s Fish Market and is considered to be one of the best restaurants in town for seafood lovers. You should try their signature risotto dishes or any other seafood dish on their menu (though they have options for meat lovers as well). It is very popular amongst locals and tourists, so you’d better reserve a table just to be on the safe side.
Address: Largo da Praça do Peixe 24, Aveiro, | Menu | Tel: +351 919 115 306 | Hours: 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm, 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm (closed on Wednesdays)
Marina by Luís Lavrador / Fama by Luis Lavrador – We had a great dinner at Marina which is actually located at Gafanha da Nazaré, a 10-minute drive from Aveiro. Marina has a great view of the local marina and has both indoor and outdoor seating. The food is all about traditional Portuguese flavors, and we thoroughly enjoyed every dish we tried, from the soup to the grilled fish and risotto. You can also try its sister restaurant, Fama, which is located in Aveiro and also gets rave reviews both for the food and the atmosphere.
Marina: Address: Forte da Barra, Jardim Oudinot, 3830-565 Gafanha da Nazaré| Menu | Tel: +351 927 507 429 | Hours: 10:00 am – 12:00 am (closed on Mondays)
Fama: Address: Av. Dom Frei Miguel Bulhões e Sousa, 44, 3810-164 Aveiro | Menu | Tel: +351 965 334 421 | Hours: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm –11:00 pm
Day Trip Idea for Wine Lovers: If you’re staying for a few days in Aveiro and you enjoy wine tasting, Portugal’s Dão Wine region is located an hour way from Aveiro. We recommend visiting the lovely village of Santar for some wine tasting!
Where to Stay in Aveiro
Aveiro is truly charming, but there are also many spots nearby with beautiful and quiet scenery. If you are traveling without a car, you will probably feel more comfortable staying in Aveiro. If you have a car, make sure your hotel in Aveiro offers parking spots or stay in one of the nearby towns. Beach lovers might prefer to stay in Costa Nova or Praia da Barra.
However, if you have a car, we’d consider staying in Ílhavo (a 10-minute drive from Aveiro center), where the Vista Alegre compound is situated. We were invited to stay at Montebelo Vista Alegre Ílhavo Hotel, and honestly, it is one of the most luxurious and unique hotels we’ve stayed at in Portugal. Read more about it in our Ílhavo section.
Melia Ria Hotel & Spa – One of the best hotels in town, which is conveniently located within walking distance of the main attractions in Aveiro. This 4-star hotel is new with a modern design, and it’s a great choice if you can afford it and you love modern and stylish hotels. The spa is an added bonus. Book your stay at Melia Ria Hotel & Spa
Barcos Casa Aveiro – If you love unique locations, you’d love this place. You actually stay directly on the salt pans. Each unit has two bedrooms with a living room area and kitchen., The design is very simple, but the views are incredible, and there’s an outdoor pool, a private beach area, and water sports facilities. Book your stay at Barcos Casa Aveiro
Barcos Casa OstrAveiro – Another unique location in Aveiro for those who are looking to experience the lagoon in its full glory. This boathouse is great for a small family. You will actually stay in the oyster nunnery of Ostraveiro. There’s also a restaurant, an outdoor pool, a children’s playground, and beautiful views of Aveiro Lagoon, of course! Check out the prices at Barcos Casa OstrAveiro
Hotel das Salinas – One of the highest-rated hotels in Aveiro. Guests especially love the comfortable rooms, the excellent location, and the buffet breakfast. It is a great choice if you want to stay in Aveiro’s city center at a reasonable price. Check out the prices at Hotel das Salinas
Hotel Aveiro Center – Another great option for a central hotel at a reasonable price. This is a smaller hotel with more of a family atmosphere. It gets great reviews, especially for the location, cleanliness, and friendly staff. Book your stay at Hotel Aveiro Center
Hotel Afonso V – A great choice for those on a tight budget. The hotel is located within walking distance of the main sights. It has a cozy atmosphere and nicely decorated rooms, and according to the reviews, plenty of free parking spots nearby. Check out the prices at Hotel Afonso V
Hotels in Ílhavo
Montebelo Vista Alegre Ílhavo Hotel – This 5-star hotel is located about 6 kilometers from Aveiro, but it is a truly hidden gem and one of the most unique places we’ve stayed at in Portugal. It is a joint project of Montebelo Hotels & Resorts and the Vista Alegre porcelain brand. The hotel showcases the heritage, social, and artistic importance of the ceramic industry in Portugal. It is part of the Vista Alegre complex, which also includes a palace, a chapel, and the Vista Alegre Museum.
The hotel has several accommodation areas. The rooms in the new wing are spacious with a modern design and a balcony overlooking the ria. The decoration of the rooms at the Palácio dos Mestres Pintores was inspired by the fauna and flora of the area, and they are decorated with unique pieces of Vista Alegre porcelain. Finally, the old houses where the workers of the Vista Alegre Factory used to live were renovated and turned into chic one-bedroom to three-bedroom apartments, studios, and deluxe rooms. This section is called the Bairro Vista Alegre and is perfect for families or longer stays. the Bairro Vista Alegre is actually a tiny neighborhood with tree-lined streets, a theatre, a nursery, a cafeteria, a barbershop, and more.
We were invited to stay at the new wing and loved the modern design, the unique porcelain pieces which could be found everywhere, and especially the stunning view of the Boco River, which flows into the Ria de Aveiro. The view from the room’s balcony was absolutely stunning! The hotel’s restaurant, wellness center, indoor pool, and spa are also located in this wing. We would have loved to stay here longer and have a chance to participate in one of the various artistic workshops. Montebelo Vista Alegre Ílhavo Hotel is truly one of the most unique hotels we’ve stayed at in Portugal. Check out the prices at Montebelo Vista Alegre Ílhavo Hotel
Hotels in Costa Nova / Praia da Barra
Hotel Farol – This 3-star hotel is located just opposite Barra lighthouse. The rooms are very affordable (even the suites), and they have a modern design. Check out the prices at Hotel Farol
Costa Nova Hotel – The façade of this 3-star hotel was inspired by Costa Nova’s famous striped houses. Each room has its own balcony, and the guests especially like the location, cleanliness, and friendly staff. The rooms are reasonably priced, and there is also a single room for a discounted price. Book your stay at Costa Nova Hotel
Check out more hotels and apartments in Aveiro on the map
Essentials For Your Visit To Aveiro Portugal
How to Get to Aveiro
Getting to Aveiro by plane: Aveiro is located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean in the north of the Central Portugal region, about 80 kilometers south of Porto. You can reach it quite easily from Lisbon or Porto by train, bus or car. The nearest airport is Porto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport.
Getting to Aveiro by train: Porto to Aveiro: You can catch an urban train (marked by ‘U’) which are usually cheaper or regional train (marked by ‘R’) to Aveiro from Porto’s Sao Bento or Campanha train stations. The train ride to Aveiro takes about 1-1.15 hours. Lisbon to Aveiro: You can catch a train from Lisbon to Aveiro. The fastest train takes about 2.5 hours, and the slowest train can take more than 4 hours. Check out the prices and timetables for trains to Aveiro on Comboios de Portugal website.
Getting to Aveiro by bus: If you are coming from Porto, you’d better take the train. The journey is shorter and cheaper compared to the bus. If you’re coming from Lisbon, a bus ticket to Aveiro is cheaper than the train and takes about 3 hours to get to Aveiro. Check out the prices and timetables for buses from Lisbon to Aveiro on the Rede Expressos website.
Getting to Aveiro by car: It will take you about 50 minutes to get to Aveiro from Porto via A1 / A29. It will take about 2.5 hours to get to Aveiro from Lisbon via A1 / A8 + A17. However, if you are coming from Lisbon, you should definitely stop along the way because Central Portugal is full of hidden gems! Check out our road trip itinerary through Central Portugal for some ideas on where to stop on your way to Aveiro.
When to Visit Aveiro
Aveiro has a Mediterranean climate with light rainfall. The summer months are hot but not extremely hot like in Alentejo. The best time to visit Aveiro is from April to September. The temperature is pleasant during April and May, but there is still a chance of the occasional rainy days. June – August are the best months to enjoy the nearby beaches. In September you can enjoy the pleasant temperatures and perhaps the occasional rainy day. From October till March, the temperatures are colder, and there are high chances of rainfall but visiting Aveiro during these months is possible if it fits your schedule.
Check out Aveiro’s average temperatures and rainy days by month
More Resources to Help You Plan Your Portugal Trip
Portugal is one of our favorite countries, so make sure to check out all of our Portugal travel guides!
Disclaimer – we were invited to Aveiro by Central Portugal’s Board of Tourism. Regardless, all the opinions that are expressed in this guide are our own.
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