Researching places near Porto to visit as part of planning a belated birthday weekend getaway, Aveiro popped up. Seeing it described as, ‘the Venice of Portugal’, I was intrigued. And, when I saw the striped beach houses of Costa Nova, near Aveiro, it was a done deal.
Aveiro is easy to get to from Porto, urban trains run every hour and are affordable at €3.45 for a one-way ticket. The journey itself takes a little over an hour.
First order of business upon arriving in Aveiro? We hopped in a taxi to Costa Nova.
In summer, buses run hourly. We visited in the off-season, when a bus only runs every 3 hours. Not wanting to waste time, we decided to take taxis round-trip, which ended up costing less than £24, not too bad.
Famed for its pretty striped wooden houses, Costa Nova feels like a return to simpler times. These houses were traditionally used to store fishing tackle, but are now an iconic landmark.
We walked up and down the main drag (Avenida Jose Estevao) a few times, and then headed a few blocks over to the beach. For mid-November, the weather was pretty great- 17 degrees Celsius and sunny. We snagged an outdoor table at Bronze, an oceanside restaurant, and lingered for a bit with a glass of wine.
When we were ready to head back to Aveiro’s town center, we called a local taxi service.
Historically, Aveiro was a port town. Many of the neighborhoods you’ll see on your visit were established by the fishermen and their families.
Wandering Averio on foot is easy, the city is pretty compact. Narrow streets, bright houses, patterned tiles- it’s a beautiful place to get lost.
We walked along the canals, through the winding streets lined with shops, and eventually settled on a colorful restaurant, Boteco, on one of the canals to have lunch.
As you’re exploring the canals, you’ll notice the decorated gondola-like boats, they’re called Moliceiros. We didn’t do a canal tour, but I’ve heard they’re relatively inexpensive- as low as €10 for a 30-45 minute trip.
One thing you can’t leave Aveiro without trying? The local delicary, Ovos Moles, an egg yolk and sugar dessert. We popped into A Barrica to try a few.
As the sun started to set, we headed back to the train station, eager to arrive back in Porto in time for a late dinner. On our way, we stopped at the Old Train station to admire the blue tile designs.
The Old Train station, an XIXth century building, was closed after the new station was built. Thankfully, it’s still standing for you to admire- it’s covered in several stunning Portuguese tile panels.
My first trip to Portugal was incredible, I fell in love with Porto and Aveiro, and can’t wait to explore more of southern Portugal on return visits.