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16 Things to Do in Aveiro – More than just Canals

by Cecilie
Published: Last Updated on

Let’s explore all the best things to do in Aveiro!

An hour South of Porto, you’ll find Aveiro. Deemed the, “Venice of Portugal”, because of its canals, it’s become a popular tourist destination in Portugal. Heck, people comparing Aveiro to Venice was the main reason why we visited in the first place!

However, after spending 3 nights in the city, both Glenn and I agree that there is much more to Aveiro than just exploring canals.

So in this blog post, I’m going to share all the best things you can do in Aveiro. Most of the attractions are places that Glenn and I have visited ourselves (except for the museums). This means I can share our own experience with the attractions in Aveiro – which’ll hopefully help you decide what you want to see during your trip.

Now let’s go explore Aveiro! A city that’s known for much more than just a bunch of canals…

*DISCLOSURE: Dear reader, this blog post contains affiliate links. If you click on them, I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend tours, hotels, and products which I use myself or find worthy to recommend.*

Things to know before you visit Aveiro

Before diving into all the great things you can do in Aveiro, I’d like to give you some practical information about the city. So in this section, I’ll share why you should visit Aveiro, how to get there from Porto, and where to stay in case you want to spend a night in this lovely city.

Why visit Aveiro in Portugal?

First of all, Aveiro is known for its canals twisting in and out of the city centre. The main reason to why tourist visit Aveiro is to experience a “Moliceiros” ride (Portuguese gondola ride) through the city. And experiencing Aveiro from the canals really is one of the best things to do here – but more about it later.

Another good reason to visit Aveiro is because of its general beauty. The old part of the city is full of Art Nouveau architecture and colorful Azulejos, which is one of Portugal’s most famous trademarks. Plus, you’ll find many different art works placed all around the city, which only makes Aveiro more interesting to visit. And luckily for you, almost everything there is to do and see in Aveiro is within walking distance. How great is that?

Related blog post: Things Portugal is famous and known for

Lastly, you should visit Aveiro if you’re a sweet tooth. Seriously! There are so many cafés where you can find sweet pastries, cakes, candy, and decent coffee. You should especially try the local sweet – Ovos Moles – but more about that later.

How to get to Aveiro from Porto?

By bus: There are several bus lines that take you directly from Porto to Aveiro within an hour. The tickets cost between €5-10 per person.

By train: You can take a direct train from Porto São Bento to Aveiro Station. It leaves once an hour and takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes. You can find the timetable at Porto São Bento Station and buy your ticket in the automats. We paid €8,1 for 2 people in November 2021.

Where to stay in Aveiro?

We stayed 3 nights in Aveiro, which was more than enough the explore the whole city. For those 3 night we paid €128 in total for a nice double room in a shared apartment. The place was named Aveiro Home, and I would definitely recommend it.

They’re aren’t many fancy hotels or cheap hostels in Aveiro, but there are a lot of good rated apartments and decent hotels scattered around the city. I’d recommend you to stay in the old town of Aveiro if you want to live close to all the attractions and delicious eateries.

16 attractions, activities & things to do in Aveiro

All right! Now that we’ve established why you should visit Aveiro, how to get there, and where to stay, it’s time to look at the main purpose of this blog post.

So here are all the things you can do in this lovely city in Portugal – Enjoy Aveiro!

1. See the beautiful Azulejos at the station

Chances are that you’ll arrive in Aveiro at the train or bus station, which are both located closely to each other. Thus, you’ll begin your journey from here.

If you do, then make sure to visit the old train station in Aveiro and have a look at the facade. It’s a big white building with an orange rooftop that’s full of blue Azulejos. The Azulejos depict scenes from Aveiro, which are related to the locals life around the salt flats and canals.

The building is so beautiful, and it’s a must see when you arrive in the city.

Aveiro train station, Portugal
The train station in Aveiro

2. Visit the Cathedral of Aveiro

The Cathedral of Aveiro, known as Sé de Aveiro, is located in the city centre – right next to the Aveiro Museum. The church is also known as Igreja de São Domingos because the building was originally founded as a Monastery of the Dominican Order in 1423.

It’s free to visit the cathedral during its opening hours (which I unfortunately don’t remember).

Aveiro cathedral, Portugal
Aveiro cathedral

3. Visit the Aveiro Museum

There are a couple of museums located in Aveiro, but the Aveiro Museum is probably the most famous one. In the museum, you can enjoy a Portuguese art collection from the 15th to 20th century.

The Aveiro Museum is extra special because of its history. The building was founded in 1461 as a convent for the feminine Dominican Order. So it has a long history and a beautiful architecture.

Even though me and Glenn never made it into the museum, it’s supposed to be one of the best things to do in Aveiro because of the beautiful church and chapel, which are part of the museum tour.

Opening hoursTicket price
10 AM – 12 PM + 1:30 PM – 6 PM
(closed on mondays)
Adult Global Ticket: €5
Free admission: children under 12, seniors over 65, and student card holders.

4. Go for a walk around the old town

One of the best things to do in Aveiro is to go for a walk in the old town. The old town of Aveiro is full of Azulejos, colorful buildings, statues, art, narrow streets, churches and much more!

You can also easily follow the paths next to the canals from the city center and see where it takes you. The thing I loved most about walking by the canals was the colorful bridges along the way and the beautiful Moliceiros boats sailing around.

One of my favorite things to do in any city is truly to get lost in it! However, it’s hard to get lost in Aveiro because it’s not exactly a big city… but oh, it does have some really charming streets! So make sure to just go for a walk, get lost, and enjoy the scenery.

Check out the following walking tours I found:

5. Take a boat tour in the canals

Aveiro is mostly famous for its canals and Moliceiros boats. I means, this is why Aveiro has been named, “Venice of Portugal”. So going for a boat ride in the canals is obviously one of the things you MUST do when visiting Aveiro.

There are so many companies offering tours, so you can just pick and choose as you please. Glenn and I had a good experience on a canal tour named, “Aveiro no Coração”. The tour left from the canal by the fish market, cost €13 per person, and took around 45 minutes.

Wanto to book a tour from home? Check out: Moliceiro boat tour

During the tour, we learned about Aveiro and its history and culture, we saw a lot of beautiful buildings, and made it to the tip of the salt flats where we were handed a little bag of salt to take home with us. Super nice!

I can definitely recommend doing a boat tour in Aveiro as it’s the best way to really experience the city.

One of the best things to do in Aveiro is to take a boat trip
Moliceiros boat ride in Aveiro

6. Tie a ribbon at the Lovers bridge

When Glenn and I walked around by the canals of Aveiro, we saw several bridges full of colorful ribbons. And during the boat tour, we learned that couples went to these bridges to tie a ribbon to forever celebrate their love for each other and make it even stronger.

So naturally, I had to go do this for me and Glenn! As cheesy as it might sound, it was actually a cute little experience.

I found a little kiosk close to the canal and bought a ribbon for €0,5. Then I wrote a little message on it and tied it onto the bridge.

So if you’re visiting Aveiro as a couple, then you ought to pay a visit to the colorful bridges at the canal near Forum shopping mall.

Lovers bridge full of ribbons, Aveiro
Me being cheesy with the love-ribbons!

7. Go shopping in Forum Mall

One thing I’ve learned about Portugal in general is that the Portuguese people love their malls!

In most cities you can find some really great malls full of famous clothing stores and popular restaurant chains.

The Forum Shopping Mall in Aveiro is unique because it’s an open air mall, which means you walk outside until you choose a shop to enter. I really like this way of making malls compared to walking inside what looks like a big warehouse for hours.

Forum Mall in Aveiro, Portugal
Forum Shopping Mall

8. See the Forum viewpoint over Aveiro

There aren’t really many viewpoints in Aveiro since you can’t enter any church towers and there are no skyscrapers to give you views over the city.

But Glenn and I did manage to find a small viewpoint, which we think is worth putting on the list of things to see in Aveiro.

The viewpoint is located on the rooftop of the Aveiro Shopping Mall. So, walk up the stairs until you reach the top and walk towards the edge – right by the canal. From here you’ll get a nice view over Aveiro’s canal, and you can even see the beginning of the old city center.

Viewpoint from Forum Mall and over the canals in Aveiro
Go to the top of Forum mall and get a nice view over the canals in Aveiro

9. Explore the Fish Market

If you love fresh fish, then I’d suggest you to walk by the fish market of Aveiro. The market is located in a building at Praça do Peixe, meaning the “Fish square”.

Here you can find all the popular Portuguese seafood such as sea bream, octopus, sardines etc.

Should you be hungry, then you can also visit the restaurant upstairs, which is famous for serving fresh fish. Whether or not it’s good I cannot say since I haven’t been there. But I can assure you that the fish they serve is fresh!

Fish market in Aveiro
Fish market in Aveiro

10. Explore the Farmers Market

If you love markets in general, then you can also visit the farmers market named, “Mercado Manuel Firmino” close to the Forum in Aveiro. The market sells flowers, fruits, and much more!

We just took a small stroll through the market without buying anything, but it was still a nice little experience.

11. Try the famous Ovos Moles

One of the things you MUST try while you’re in Aveiro is the Ovos Moles.

It’s a local pastry that’s made of egg yolk and sugar. And that’s basically what it tastes like! Since I’m not the biggest fan of sweets, this delicacy didn’t really go down with me… Glenn liked it though.

Ovos Moles literally tastes like a cold egg yolk with sugar. And while I make it sound not-so-tasty, it’s one of the must things to do in Aveiro. You simply cannot visit Aveiro without trying the local sweet (except if you’re allergic to eggs, then I free you from this speech)

You can find Ovos Moles in all cafés, confectionaries, pastelarias, etc. And they don’t cost that much.

Ovos Moles is a must thing to try in Aveiro, Portugal
Try the Ovos Moles with a cup of coffee

12. Explore Art Nouveau in Aveiro

Art Nouveau is a specific style in architecture and design, which emerged at the end of the 19th century. This style of architecture literally refers to a “New Art” of designing. It’s all about being free from past history and making beautiful sinuous lines and organic shapes. See the example of one of the buildings in the picture below.

There are several beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in Aveiro, which you can easily explore while walking around the city. And if you want to learn more about Art Nouveau, then you can visit the Museu Arte Nova, which is located in one of these beautiful buildings by the canal.

Art Nouveau, Aveiro
One of many beautiful buildings in Aveiro

13. Take a picture at the Aveiro stairs

One of the most touristic things to do in Aveiro is to take a picture at the, “I love Aveiro”-stairs. You’ll find the stairs at Rua Gustavo Silva by the end of the canal in Aveiro.

I don’t have much else to add about this specific point, except for this cool picture:

I love Aveiro stairs, Portugal
I love Aveiro. Do you?

14. Take a free bike ride around the city

We never got to do this, but I’d like to add this point to the list of things to do in Aveiro because it’s free, healthy, and cool!

Apparently, you can rent a free BUGA bike in Aveiro and tour the city on your own. You’ll find the BUGA bikes just by the canal between Forum Mall and the Farmers Market.

Want to secure a bike during your trip to Aveiro? I found this company where you can rent a good bike for 8 hours with the total cost of €10. Check it out: Aveiro bike rental

15. Visit the salt flats of Aveiro

Visiting the salt flats in Aveiro, also known as Salinas de Aveiro, is one of the most historical things you can do in the city. For hundreds of years, salt has been the most important thing that’s produced in Aveiro.

That’s why Aveiro has always been an important city in Portugal.

Today, the salt production has decreased a lot. But you can still go visit the remaining salt flats and the popular salt museum. The museum is called Troncalhada Eco-museum and you can easily reach it from Aveiro on one of the BUGA bikes or on your rented bike.

16. Go on a day trip from Aveiro

Are you staying a couple of nights in Aveiro? Then make sure to take a day trip to the coast. Here are a couple of suggestions of the best things to see and do on a day trip from Aveiro. You can reach all places with the local bus from Aveiro (although, São Jacinto Natural Reserve also requires a boat trip).

  • Natural Reserve of São Jacinto: Go for a hike in this beautiful nature reserve and enjoy a day by the ocean. You can expect to see a lot of sand dunes and birds. You’ll apparently follow a nice boardwalk from the little São Jacinto town to the coast. However, we never made it here, so I cannot tell you more about it.
  • Barra: Want to see the tallest lighthouse in Portugal? Then head to Barra. Barra is a lovely place to visit if you want to eat at some nice restaurants by the ocean, go to the beach and relax, or have a drink and watch a beautiful sunset. The perfect little vacation town.
  • Costa Nova: Famous for its striped and colorful houses, Costa Nova is pretty unique. A lot of people go here to take pictures for this reason. However, it’s a bit expensive and the real highlight for me was to watch the surfers from the beach. There is a great boardwalk that links Barra and Costa Nova – honestly one of the highlights from my Aveiro trip was this boardwalk.

Related blog post: Costa Nova & Barra – The Perfect Day Trip from Aveiro

Costa Nova's striped houses, Portugal
Costa Nova’s striped houses

My 3 favorite things to do in Aveiro

Before ending this blog post, I want to share my favorite things to do in Aveiro. It can sometimes be difficult as a reader to really understand what is worth visiting. So hopefully this will help!

  1. Canal tour: No matter how I twist and turn my opinion of Aveiro, I still think that the boat trip is the best thing to do. It was just lovely to see the city from the canal, and I believe that it was pretty affordable too. Glenn and I learned a lot about the city in those 45 minutes (although some of the information was a bit random and far-fetched). But I’d definitely recommend you to do a boat tour in Aveiro.
  2. Day trip to Costa Nova and Barra: I absolutely loved our day at the beach. Watching the surfers at Costa Nova and hiking the boardwalk to Barra, while looking upon Portugal’s tallest lighthouse, was such a good experience! If you spend more time in Aveiro, then I’d definitely recommend you to go here!
  3. Get lost in the old part of town: I absolutely loved walking aimlessly around Aveiro. I got to see so many beautiful buildings, colorful tiles, and modern artworks. Plus, the canal walk is also really special because of the colorful bridges full of love-ribbons.

If I get the chance to go back to Aveiro some day, then I’ll definitely spend some time visiting the salt flats. I think that the salt is an important part of the history of this city, and I’d love to learn more about it.

Barra boardwalk, Portugal
Boardwalk from Costa Nova to Barra lighthouse – loved it!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the best things to do in Aveiro. It was lovely to write it and be taken back to my 3 days in this Portuguese city, which in my opinion is much more than just canals, canals, canals!

If you have any questions about Aveiro, then make sure to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for reading and happy travels!

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