Dubbed the Venice of Portugal with its vibrant architecture and historic canals, Aveiro is a favourite weekend getaway for locals and tourists alike. Being an easily walkable city, there are plenty of things to do in Aveiro which makes it a great day trip from Porto for those who are pushed on time.
This week we’re walking you through everything this coastal city has to offer, from historic salt mines, scenic canal tours and even some dog friendly things to do in Aveiro! The Venice of Portugal might just surprise you!
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Where is Aveiro
When we mention the Venice of Portugal to friends and family, the first thing they ask is “where is Aveiro”. Located on the coast just 45 minutes south of Porto, Aveiro is a great day trip idea from Porto if you want to experience more of what Portugal has to offer but don’t have much time.
Alternatively, it’s 2.5 hours north of Lisbon which is a little further to go but, if you’re like us and don’t mind long drives, it’s certainly doable in a day if you’re structured with what to see in Aveiro while you’re there.
If you can’t quite picture it and are still wondering “where is Aveiro on the map”, check out the google map below!
How To Get To Aveiro
We’ve said it before but Portugal, in our opinion, is best explored with your own car. Whether you drive here yourself or choose to hire a car in Portugal, it’ll open up so many more opportunities for you.
That being said, there’s still plenty of other ways to get to Aveiro if you don’t have a car.
How To Get From Porto To Aveiro
The distance from Porto to Aveiro makes this beautiful coastal town a really convenient place to visit.
To get from Porto to Aveiro you have several options. Car, train, bus or taxi.
Porto to Aveiro via car it’ll take you roughly 45 minutes on the toll roads, costing around €4.40 and an hour and a half non-toll.
The Porto to Aveiro train takes about an hour with no changes and costs €5-10 one way, depending on the time of day. However, strikes are frequent and unpredictable in Portugal at the moment so the Aveiro to Porto train times aren’t always accurate and it isn’t unheard of for trains to simply not turn up.
Aveiro to Porto via taxi is the most expensive option but easiest if you don’t have a car or aren’t keen on using busy trains/buses. The cost for a 30 minute trip averages around €40.
Buses to Aveiro from Porto run quite regularly but for us, they’re a last resort option due to having a few not so pleasant experiences with bad drivers. If you did want to hop on a bus though, it’ll take around an hour and cost €20 one way.
Aveiro’s nearest airport is also in Porto so if you are planning to come to Portugal to visit Aveiro specifically, you would need to fly into Porto which isn’t a bad thing – it’s the best airport for efficiency and fewer queues from what we’ve experienced.
Aveiro to Lisbon
Similarly to Porto, there are plenty of ways to get from Lisbon to Aveiro. Bus, train and road trip from Lisbon are the main ways. You could get a taxi but it’ll be much more expensive (we’ve spoken to someone who taxi’d from Porto to Nazare for almost €200 and I imagine driving from Lisbon to Aveiro is a similar price)
You can check the cost of tolls for any road trip in Portugal, here!
Driving from Lisbon to Aveiro will cost you €33.50 in tolls for a 2.5 hour drive, or take 4 hours non-tolls. It’s a long way if you’re not used to long drives so we highly recommend setting some time aside for a road trip from Lisbon to Porto so you can explore several towns in one trip!
Aveiro to Lisbon train times experience the same strike disruptions but if you wanted to give it a go it’ll take 2 hours and cost €13-30 depending on the time of day.
Getting the bus from Lisbon to Aveiro will take 3 hours and cost around €18.
Where To Park In Aveiro
If you’re planning a road trip and wondering where to park in Aveiro, you’re in luck! We think Aveiro has some of the easiest central city parking so long as you don’t mind paying for it. There are two underground parking facilities in Aveiro and ample above ground parking too. We exclusively use the underground when we visit to keep the sun off the car.
Below you can see some of our recommended places to park in Aveiro. Yellow being the main one we park in due to having direct access to the shopping centre from here, dark blue indicates above ground parking facilities and your options for underground parking in Aveiro. Simply click on the map for more details. A bit further on in this post you’ll be able to see where the parking is in relation to things to do in Aveiro so you can decide which suits your itinerary better.
What Is Aveiro, Portugal Known For
As I’ve already hinted at, Aveiro is known for being the Venice of Portugal due to the small network of canals and gondola-like painted Moliceiros boats. That’s really where the comparisons end though.
Aside from the historic canals, Aveiro is also known for the Art-Nouveau architecture and their regional delicacy Ovos Moles De Aveiro, which is an egg based dessert (of course). These desserts, much like many of Portugal’s iconic desserts, were originally made by nuns. Since we’re not known for our foodie recommendations here at Officer Travels (unless it’s chocolate!) Here’s a great post about Portuguese dishes if you’d like to learn more about the best things to eat in Aveiro!
Is Aveiro An Expensive City?
Compared to other cities in Portugal, I don’t consider Aveiro to be an expensive city at all. Many of the things to do in Aveiro are free or cheap, and if you’re looking to stay longer than a day there’s plenty of cheap accommodation in Aveiro too. The handful of times we’ve had lunch here, the price has always surprised us.
Best Time To Visit Aveiro
March – May and October – November is probably the best time to visit Aveiro if you’re looking for good weather and limited crowds. Temperature highs average around 20’c with lows around 13’c. Aveiro weather at this time of year sees much less rain than the winter months but from our experience of living in Portugal, the whole coast experiences a lot of rain through March.
June – September sees slightly hotter temperatures, lower humidity and even less rain but the crowds will be much bigger due to the peak summer holiday season.
November – February are the coldest, wettest months of the year and also, unsurprisingly, the ones with the fewest tourists.
When it comes to the best time to visit Aveiro – or Portugal as a whole – it really depends what’s more important to you, Aveiro weather or a bit more space between tourists?
Things To Do In Aveiro, Portugal
When it comes to things to do in Aveiro, you’re spoiled for choice. Even if you’re taking your dog, Aveiro offers a lot of pet friendly things to do while you’re here!
Moliceiro Boat Tour
The most iconic thing to do in Aveiro is a tour of the historic canals with a Moliceiro Boat Tour. These are the traditional painted boats that were once used to transport seaweed and salt from nearby salt mines around the city. These days they transport curious tourists and offer a great alternative way to explore Aveiro.
We’ve done several boat tours of Aveiro and can honestly say there isn’t too much difference in quality (they’ve all had really good guides) or price so my best advice is to wander the canal and see which one is available and hop in! If you’re pressed for time and don’t want to miss out on this popular thing to do in Aveiro you can book online here to make sure you have a spot!
Can Dogs Go On An Aveiro Canal Tour?
What’s great about the Moliceiro boat tours is they’re one of the best dog friendly things to do in Aveiro too! We haven’t been back to Aveiro since Lilly joined us, so we can’t speak for her Moliceiro tour experience (yet) but I’d almost certainly say you’d want to aim for a non-peak season if you want to take your dog, just to avoid the crowds onboard.
If you have a large dog, check out different boat operators. Some only allow small to medium sized dogs, while others are ok with larger dogs providing they’re muzzled.
One of our favourite, and possibly most immature, things to do in Aveiro when we visit with family is to look out for the rude adult humour paintings on the boats (like the one below!). Each boat has a mural on the side of it but some are, um, less family friendly than others so keep your eyes peeled for them!
Art Nouveau Architecture Tour
If you’ve seen photos of Aveiro before, you’ll probably have noticed the beautiful buildings that feature in many photos of the canals & boats.
This style of building became popular in the 20th Century. When combined with the traditional Portuguese tiling, it creates a really unique style that really does make Aveiro a postcard-perfect city to visit.
This is one of the many free and dog friendly things to do in Aveiro that you don’t need to join a tour to enjoy. Simply walking aimlessly around the narrow cobbled lanes will create plenty of photo opportunities for you. However, if you did want to do a more structured Art Nouveau Architecture tour, this website has a great list of buildings that should be on your itinerary. I’ve compiled them into the map above for you, just look for the building symbols!
Historic train station
If you enjoyed the Art Nouveau architecture, another great free thing to do in Aveiro is a trip to the Historic train station. Built in 1864, The Old Station Building is next to the new in-use train station and doesn’t require you to be using the transport to visit. It is quite a walk from Aveiro canals but there’s plenty of shops and cafes along the way.
Ovos Moles at Peixinho
Wondering what to eat in Aveiro? You have to try Ovos Moles and where better to do so than Aveiros oldest bakery?
So what are Ovos Moles? Their origin dates back to the 16th Century, so they’re much older than Aveiro itself. One tale of their creation talks about how a fasting nun was forced to secretly create something from scraps and hide them in her room. Mixing sugar with egg yolks, miraculously, the result was a deliciously sweet soft egg that is now known as Ovos Moles.
Confeitaria Peixinho still uses the traditional recipe that has been handed down for centuries so it’s undoubtedly the best place to try Ovos Moles in Aveiro.
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Parque Infante Dom Pedro
If you follow the architecture route we mentioned before, you’ll pass through Parque Infante Dom Pedro. A beautiful city park that’s perfect for escaping the main city centre and giving your pup a break. Of the dog friendly things to do in Aveiro, this is probably the most interesting for your pup when it comes to new smells and things to see.
Here you’ll find lakes, fountains and a great cafe to soak it all in from.
Cais Da Ribeira De Esgueira Boardwalk
Ready to go on a hunt for wild flamingos in Aveiro? On the outskirts of Aveiro is Cais Da Ribeira De Esgueira Boardwalks, a scenic and peaceful boardwalk along an estuary leading to Aveiro lagoon. Flamingos seek sanctuary here so it’s a great place for bird watchers. Dogs are welcome if kept under control.
Praia da Costa Nova Stripped Houses & Beach
Praia da Costa Nova Aveiro is a popular beach near Aveiro for many reasons, including the picturesque stripped houses that sit along the beachfront and main road. This Aveiro beach is just 20 minutes from the town centre so if the weather’s good when you visit and you fancy relaxing on a pristine white beach, Praia Da Costa Nova is a must-do of these dog friendly things to do in Aveiro.
Note; Some beaches in Portugal implement summer restrictions for dogs so watch out for temporary no-dog signs, or designated dog sections, if you’re visiting Aveiro in the summer!
São Gonçalinho Festival
If you’re travelling at the start of January you might be lucky enough to experience a fascinating – and bizarre – local tradition that we unknowingly stumbled into: São Gonçalinho. This is considered to be the oldest festival in Portugal and until you learn the story behind it you might think the locals have simply lost their minds.
As we stood watching locals throw rock-hard bread loaves from the top of the church, our mind boggled at the reasoning for this. Eventually mustered the courage to ask a local what was happening and they explained the bread, or Cavacas, was being thrown as a promise to São Gonçalinho who grants good luck in health & relationships. While people throw Cavacas from the roof, others stand below catching them in umbrellas and other random household objects. The atmosphere was electric so I really recommend checking it out if your dates line up!
Outside of this festival, the little town square and small church are still worth visiting.
Aveiro Forum/Shopping Centre
You won’t need to spend long wandering around Aveiro before you stumble into Aveiro Forum, the main shopping centre for the canalside area of Aveiro city. The main walkways of the Forum are dog friendly, with each shop having their own rules (usually not dog friendly) so if you’re visiting Aveiro with a dog you can still squeeze in some shopping while you’re here and don’t forget to head to the very top to enjoy terrace views from the rooftop garden.
Day Trips From Aveiro
There are a couple of things to do in Aveiro that technically aren’t in Aveiro – even though they’ll pop up on your Aveiro itinerary searches. So I thought I’d include this section for fun ideas for day trips from Aveiro in case you decided to base yourself there, or were looking for more things to do near Aveiro.
516 Arouca Suspension Bridge
The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, and Portugal’s newest tourist attraction, 516 Arouca bridge is a must do day trip from Aveiro but you’ll want to book your ticket in advance! Foot passage on the bridge is heavily monitored to help keep it safe. Tickets are around €10 and also give you access to the 8km boardwalk that twists and turns down into the valley where you can then get a taxi back to your car. If you don’t fancy a walk over the bridge, access to the boardwalks is €2.
Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the dog friendly things to do in Aveiro. Even if you opt not to do the bridge, the boardwalk is also off limits which is such a shame.
Once the capital of Portugal, Coimbra is a beautiful waterfront city that I don’t think gets enough love from tourists who fly in and out of Porto or Lisbon. There’s plenty of old architecture to explore here, historic monuments, beautiful gardens and quirky boutiques to explore while in Coimbra. Read a little bit more about it in our Libson to Porto road trip guide!
Where To Stay In Aveiro & Pet Friendly Accommodation in Aveiro
Whenever we head to Aveiro we stay at Hotel Jardim. It’s reasonably priced and a nice short walk from the centre of town, unfortunately they’re not a pet friendly hotel in Aveiro, but if you’re looking for ideas on where to stay in Aveiro that is a little closer to the canals, there’s plenty of options. Use the map below to find your perfect hotel, including the best dog friendly accommodation in Aveiro.
It’s also worth knowing there’s a few campsites near Aveiro, so if you’re visiting Aveiro in a campervan there’s a couple of options for you too!
How Long In Aveiro
So how long in Aveiro? We recommend 1 night and 2 days if you plan to visit Aveiro as a day trip from Porto but you could easily base yourself here as a cheaper alternative to Porto or Lisbon.
Is Aveiro Worth Visiting?
Is Aveiro worth visiting? Of course! We wouldn’t take family there all the time if it wasn’t. Reasons to travel to Aveiro become clear once you’re there. With such a wide range of things to do in Aveiro, with or without a dog, we think it’s one of the best must-see coastal towns in Portugal that’s made even better by the fact it’s rarely been too busy whenever we’ve visited (outside of peak summer time)
If you decide to go or have already had the pleasure of visiting, let us know which of these things to do in Aveiro are/were your favourite!