Top things to do in Aveiro, Portugal

May 10, 2022

aveiro moliceiro portugal canal sunset

Aveiro, also known as the Venice of Portugal, is a picturesque town in the centre of the country. It's astonishing the high number of things to do in Aveiro considering it's such a small city. From riding along the canals by boat to admiring the Art Nouveau architecture, there's no way you can be bored in Aveiro. 

Even though Lisbon and Porto are the most visited cities in this country, Aveiro deserves your attention as well. Friendly people, beautiful sights and amazing food make it worth stopping by. Let's take a look at the top things to do in Aveiro, Portugal.

Things to do in Aveiro: moliceiro boat ride

The best way to see the town and learn about it's history is by taking a moliceiro tour. Moliceiros are boats that look pretty much like venetian gondolas. They are decorated with religious images on one side and racy ones on the other -quite a contrast, right?- the tour is about 45' and goes through the city canals. It costs about 13€ per person. 

aveiro moliceiro boat ride

Things to do in Aveiro: Art Nouveau architecture

Aveiro's Art Nouveau heritage is impressive. In fact, there's even a museum devoted to it (with a cute tea house on the ground floor!). Ornate exteriors, colorful flourishes, iron and glass work make Art Nouveau buildings unmistakable. Art Nouveau style was imported into Aveiro by a conservative bourgeoisie and wealthy emigrants to Brazil who, upon returning to Portugal, wished to publicly express their social and economical power. 

One particular characteristic of portuguese Art Nouveau is the use of tiles. Tiles were common in traditional portuguese construction because they were affordable to the general public. In Aveiro, the use of tiles also provided waterproofing and enabled the embellishment of houses built in adobe.

The best way to find these beautiful houses is to wander the streets of Aveiro. Get lost among gorgeous buildings covered in colorful tiles. A feast to the eyes for sure!

aveiro art nouveau canal ria architecture sunset

Things to do in Aveiro: eat your way through the city

Being a touristic town, the eating options in Aveiro are endless. Let's take a look at the best restaurants in Aveiro. 

Portugal is famous for its cod on one side and sweets on the other. Citizens of Aveiro are particularly proud of their most famous sweet: ovos moles. This bite size treat consists of sweetened egg yolk covered by a waffer. Ovos moles are everywhere in Aveiro to the point of having their own dedicated statues.

Our favorite restaurant in Aveiro was O Bairro. It pays tribute to the fishermen neighborhood's life and its main characters. What makes this restaurant special is that no dish is ordinary. That take good care of the presentation, making each dish look like a work of art.

o bairro aveiro restaurant

One of Aveiro's top restaurants on TripAdvisor is Musgo, a small vegetarian eatery located in an alley near the fish market -Mercado do Peixe- square.

aveiro vegan restaurant musgo food

If you love a good pizza and quick bites, Clandestino by Salpoente is the place to go. The doughs of their pizzas and quesadillas are delicious!

Things to do in Aveiro: let's go to the beach

Averiro has two main beaches: Barra and the Instagram famous Costa Nova.

The beautiful sandy Barra beach ends in a wonderfully preserved lighthouse. Rising majestically over the sea, this is the tallest lighthouse in Portugal and one of the tallest in Europe.

Costa Nova is famous for its colorful stripped houses that attract thousands of tourist every year. No doubt it's the most instagrammable spot in Aveiro. Colorful vertical stripes decorate all of the cottages, or haystacks, that line the beach. They originally were storage places for local fishermen, but many have been converted to living spaces. You can even find some available to rent on AirBnB.

costa nova red stripped house aveiro portugal

costa nova red stripped house aveiro portugal

costa nova red stripped house aveiro portugal

Things to do in Aveiro: shopping spree

Delicious treats and craftsmanship -ceramics especially- are the best things to buy in Aveiro. 

Alma de Alecrim and  Cais a Porta are concept stores where you can find design objects and ceramics made in Portugal.

Cesar's basket store opposite Igreja da Vera Cruz -Vera Cruz church-. A store with no name with a very friendly salesman.

Confiteria Peixinho. The oldest bakery in Aveiro which sells the best ovos moles

Forum, a large open shopping mall, located in the heart of the Ria de Aveiro. 

cais a porta shop craftsmanship aveiro portugal

aveiro confiteria peixinho ovo mole portugal

aveiro shop cod fish

Things to do in Aveiro: seal your love with a ribbon

Couples profess their love in Aveiro by tying ribbons on the bridge railings. It's an environmentally friendly -as well as much more colorful and pretty!- alternative to locks used in cities like Paris.

aveiro bridge ribbon love canal ria

Things to do in Aveiro: day trips

On our roadtrip from Madrid to Aveiro, we stopped at Parador Casa Da Insua for lunch. It's the only Parador hotel outside of Spain and it's worth visiting. This hotel is an 18th-century baroque style manor house with romantic gardens, architecture and interior décor.

parador hotel portugal casa insua

Coimbra houses the oldest university in Portugal. In this rich ensemble of buildings is one of the finest libraries you’ll ever set foot in, Biblioteca Joanina. Apart from the university, Coimbra boasts a lively atmosphere and plenty of attractions. 

coimbra biblioteca joanina university

Vista Alegre is the home of some of the finest porcelain in the world. The Vista Alegre factory is located just outside of the city of Aveiro in Ílhavo. You can visit the museum which shows the creations of Vista Alegre over the decades as well as the manufacturing process. The museum ticket also includes entrance to the Nossa Senhora da Penha de França chapel, an impressive building that houses 17th century tiles, marble altarpieces, gilded woodcarvings, and domes decorated with beautiful frescos. Don't forget to pop in the store before you go, they sell the cutest teacups and dishes! 

Vista Alegre also opened its own five-star hotel, Montebelo Vista Alegre. Each floor has a different theme and each room is decorated with handmade porcelain. 

vista alegre ilhavo aveiro museum portugal

Don’t forget to check out my other Portugal Travel posts! 


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aveiro portugal monument food sights


  1. What a beautiful place. I love this post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Oh my gosh! I miss Portugal. It’s such a beautiful country and would love to return back and see all the other cities. Aveiro seems to have it all - the ambiance, food, shopping and the beach! It ticks of all the boxes in terms of things to do.

    Maureen |


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