The best things to do in Aveiro

Aveiro? Yes, Aveiro. In Portugal, in between Lisbon and Oporto, along the coast, you’ll find a fishermen town called Aveiro. Aveiro may not be the most obvious touristic destination, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for an authentic Portuguese experience. Aveiro is an interesting destination for a day trip or as part of a tour of central Portugal. In this post, we’ll share some information about the town as well as the best things to do in Aveiro.

Being a typical charming Portuguese town, Aveiro is an enjoyable, alternative holiday destination in Portugal. Aveiro has an extensive history which is closely intertwined with the evolution of its port and saltwater lagoons. The town is crossed by waterways which are made fun and colourful by the traditional fishing boats.

In fact, Aveiro is characterised by a bold Art Nouveau architecture, man-made canals and ornate fishing vessels. These vessels once served the marine agriculture but are now adapted for tourism. It’s an unusual and remarkable town which development has been driven by the surrounding saltwater lagoons.

For tourists, Aveiro is a truly unique day trip from Porto and this settlement is unlike any other in Portugal. We highly recommend Aveiro for those seeking something a little different. If you want a relaxing overnight trip and visit some of Portugal’s finest beaches, the region of Aveiro is superb.

This post details the main things to do in Aveiro according to our own experience:

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Best things to do in Aveiro: fish market

  1.    Have some seafood at the fish market square

Aveiro is known for its fish and seafood delicacies. The best spot to try the local cuisine is at the lively traditional fish market (Praça do Peixe). Eel based dishes are one of the most popular among the locals, like the eel stew, fried eels and eel with escabeche sauce. But no worries if you’re not fond of eel. There are plenty of other specialities like cod and lamprey. The prices of a meal range between €10 and €25 per person and most menus are specified in Portuguese and English.

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Best things to do in Aveiro: museums

  1.    Visit the historical museums of Aveiro

There are three main museums in Aveiro. Our recommendation would totally depend on your personal interest, so we simply introduce the three of them:

  •         Museum of the City of Aveiro: the goal of this museum is to boost education of the region’s history and culture. The main museum building is located at the entrance of Rossio and displays the origins and traditions of Aveiro which strongly rely on two industries: fishing and salt manufacture.
  •         Art Nouveau Museum: in Portuguese, this is the Museu De Arte Nova, perfectly housed within an elegant building denoting this architectural style. The museum is worth a visit, even if just to take a look at the striking building!
  •         Troncalhada Eco-Museum: this museum is a bit out of the centre, near the Troncalhada Marine. It’s an exterior museum that details the history of the local salt industry. Its location is obvious: the well renowned salt hills of Aveiro. We recommend the tour that gives a learning experience about how the salt is formed and handled.

These three museums are open from 9h30 – 12h30 and 14h00 – 18h00 (and only 14:00-18:00 during weekends). There are multi-entrance tickets available at a symbolic price of €2 (children under 12 and adults over 65 are free). The guided tours for all three museums costs €4.50 per person (minimum of 6 required). These three museums are surely some of the best things to do in Aveiro for those who are interested in getting to know more about local traditions and history.

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Coastal boat trip in Aveiro

  1.    Do a coastal boat trip in Aveiro

This boat tour in Aveiro is ideal if you would like to closely enjoy the icons of the Aveiro region such as the Barra lighthouse, the São Jacinto Bay and the lagoons of the Vouga River. The boat tour in Aveiro lasts approximately three hours. The planned route, subject to change, is: Sailing Club of Costa Nova → Barra lighthouse → São Jacinto Bay → Entrada dos Canais → Bacalhoeiros Pier → Salt Marinhas.

You’ll pass by the Barra lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse of Portugal with 62m in height. This boat trip in Aveiro also passes by the São Jacinto Bay where you’ll find a small village. This typical village is crucial to the region due to the shipbuilding yards. Historically, these yards were of utmost importance to the region’s economy and the local airbase.

The Vouga River flows into the lagoon of Aveiro, the Ria de Aveiro. The meeting between fresh and salt waters gave origin to a lagoon known for its natural beauty and unique landscape in Portugal.

Cod fishing remains one of the most important economic activities in the region of Aveiro, creating a significant number of jobs and a turnover which is very relevant for the entire region. That’s why the pier of Bacalhoeiros is worth a visit.  A visit to the “Marinhas” is a must, especially between May and September! The “Marinhas” are the place where sea salt is produced. The “Marinhas” can only be visited at this time of the year due to its seasonality.

This boat tour in Aveiro is one of the best things to do in Aveiro to taste the most of the local history and traditions in only three hours!

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Fishing in Aveiro

  1.    Experience a fishing boat tour in Aveiro

Aveiro is also known for traditional salt pans and fishing. In the Aveiro lagoon one breathes fish. Nothing better than a fishing experience on a boat trip in Aveiro to feel the authenticity of the city. This fishing boat tour in Aveiro takes about four hours and starts in the Marina Costa Nova. No experience is required and it is suitable for all ages as the experienced staff will be happy to teach you everything. The crew is passionate about fishing and will tell you the best kept secrets for fishing in Aveiro.

The lagoon waters are habitat for a broad range of fish species. That’s why the Ria attracts many professional fishermen and is a favorite spot for amateur anglers too. The most common species in the Lagoon, depending on the season, are the golden bream, plaice, sole, sea bass, the lamprey and eel.

Fishing in Aveiro is one of the most fantastic things to do in Aveiro. You’ll feel like a local!

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Dolphins and bird watching in Aveiro

  1.    Feel the local nature on a dolphin and birdwatching boat tour in Aveiro

Did you know that Aveiro is also a great spot for dolphin and birdwatching? Thanks to its unique location by the Atlantic, Aveiro is home and a passing point for a variety of cetaceans. Regarding birds, Aveiro is a very popular spot for bird watchers as it is home to a lot of marine birds and some migratory birds stop in Aveiro too.

Beside experienced and friendly skippers, a qualified marine biologist will come aboard. The marine biologist will be able to explain everything you want to know about the dolphins and birds you’ll find on your boat trip. The staff will provide an introduction about what kind of species may be encountered during the dolphin and bird watching tour and will give live commentary on the tour and sightings.

If you like dolphins, birds or other marine fauna, this is surely one of the best things to do in Aveiro. We recommend you to get aboard of this unforgettable dolphin and bird watching boat trip in Aveiro! This trip takes around four hours and has daily departures, depending on weather conditions.

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Colorful beach in Aveiro

About planning, the restaurants and the museums can be visited without booking or doing a reservation. The boat trip in Aveiro should be booked in advance. Like that you guarantee your seat. For bigger groups, we also recommend booking the restaurants and museums ahead. Let us know if you need any further tips about Aveiro or if you’ve got some additional tips on the best things to do in Aveiro!

[primary picture by Alexandra Gnatoush]