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One day in Aveiro Itinerary: Aveiro Day trip from Porto

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Aveiro is known as the “Venice of Portugal” for its canals and colorful boats. The city is home to many churches, museums, galleries, and parks. If you’re looking for things to do in Aveiro for your Portugal trip, we got you covered. This easy one day in Aveiro itinerary has sightseeing and travel tips to get you started. We will also share insights into making a Porto to Aveiro day trip possible.

If interested, you can also squeeze in some beach time in the nearby Praia da Costa Nova.

One day in Aveiro itinerary: Porto to Aveiro day trip itinerary

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Aveiro is located on the west coast of Portugal along the Ria de Aveiro lagoon. The city has a lot of architectural history characterized by its modernist and art nouveau architecture.

And not to forget, the canals of Aveiro hold a lot of charm and character. 

Traditional boats in Aveiro
Molicerio boat ride in Aveiro

Imagine a traditional boat cruise. A moliceiro, as it is called, navigating swamps, and the marcantel carrying salt and merchandise through canals. 

Things to do in Aveiro in a day: One day in Aveiro itinerary

  • Check out the Old Train Station
  • Wander the Rossio area
  • Enjoy a boat ride in a moliceiro – boat tour
  • Explore Museu da Cidade de Aveiro 
  • Check out the Museu de Arte Nova
  • Walk the Aveiro town centre
  • Check out the Cathedral of Aveiro
  • Visit the Museu de Aveiro
  • Visit Igreja de São João Evangelista / Igreja Carmelita de Aveiro
  • Eat Ovos moles de Aveiro
  • Hang out at the rooftop of Forum Aveiro
  • Walk alongside the canals – Parque da Cidade
  • Evenings and dining in Aveiro

Why is it called the Venice of Portugal? Due to the existence of canals and the traditional moliceiro boats, Aveiro is often compared to Venice in Italy. Both cities are very different though. 

Venice of Portugal Aveiro
Aveiro is beautiful in its own ways!

Of course, Venice is Venice – its history and the centuries-old canals are unique in their own ways. 

Aveiro is beautiful and special due to its history. 

This Portuguese city is not super crowded like Venice, and nor will you find extreme flooding-like situations. In fact, the weather is wonderfully pleasant and warm all year round. 

Girl in Aveiro Portugal
Beautiful Aveiro

Aveiro has a long history, dating back at least to the 10th century. Its name is derived from the Latin word Alavarium, which means “the gathering place of birds.” 

The Moors invaded the city and took control of it until the 11th century, after which it became a favorite residence of Portuguese royalty.

Planning a day trip from Porto to Aveiro: the Venice of Portugal

It is easy to visit Aveiro from Porto, Coimbra, and Lisbon. But the Porto to Aveiro day trip is a popular choice with travelers.

Getting to Aveiro from Porto Coimbra or Lisbon

So the distance from Porto to Aveiro is 70 km or 43 miles. Travel time is

There are two best ways to get to Aveiro from Porto – by car or by train. The drive takes around 50 minutes, while the train ride is just under an hour. 

The train is a convenient way to get there, and you can catch the train at one of Porto’s railway stations, São Bento or Campanhã. 

You can also get to Aveiro from Coimbra by train. 

Girl in Costa Nova Portugal
View of Costa Nova near Aveiro

When traveling from Lisbon, we recommend opting for the high-speed Alfa Pendular train to connect to Aveiro. And after sightseeing, you can return to Porto for the night, or stay in Aveiro. 

The train station in Aveiro is located to the east of the city. It is a 10-minute walk along Avenida Lourenço Peixinho to the central Rotunda das Pontes.

Guided tours are a good way to explore the city of Aveiro and the nearby beach of Costa Nova from Porto. These tours are for half a day only, and you won’t have much time at the beach (we recommend a separate day for that). 

Colorful houses of Costa Nova
Colorful houses of Costa Nova

If you wish to check out these two Portuguese destinations quickly, a guided tour will provide a high-level introduction! Check out the tour here which also includes a boat cruise

You can also check out this private full-day tour that allows you ample time at the Aveiro city center. Find more details here

You might also like: Day tour to Aveiro and Coimbra from Porto

So are some of the top things to do in Aveiro in one day: 

Stop by the Old Train Station

When arriving by train, do stop by the Old Train Station, located next to it. 

Old train station in Aveiro
Old Train Station in Aveiro one day itinerary

Although not like the São Bento Station, this gorgeous station is laced with 59 beautiful azulejo tiles depicting life and stories from the previous century. 

You can see how the city developed as a fishing village over the years through these blue and white tiles!

Wander the Rossio area

When you arrive in Aveiro, you will be greeted with views of canals and colorful houses. 

Rossio de Aveiro is located on the outskirts of the historical city centre. This area is sort of a transition zone where nature and the city meet marshes and seaside resorts. 

Girl in Aveiro with canals
Wander along the canalside in one day in Aveiro itinerary

The buildings along this area are designed in the Art Nouveau style. As you wander along soak in the views of the beautiful Casa do Major Pessoa, which houses the Art Nouveau Museum today. 

There are cafes, sweet shops, and the popular Casa dos Ovos Moles by the water.

Enjoy a boat ride in a moliceiro

When in Aveiro, you have to ride a moliceiro boat and enjoy the city through its historic canals. 

Traditional boat cruise in Aveiro
Traditional boat cruise in Aveiro

So a moliceiro is a traditional boat, it is colorful and makes sightseeing easy and fun from the waters. These boats are half-moon shaped and don’t have a cover. 

Originally a moliceiro was used to harvest seaweed in the Ria de Aveiro. Today only a handful of them are in active service and are mainly used for sightseeing tours. 

Boat designs in Aveiro
Beautiful design on the boat

These cruises last for 45 minutes, and it provides a complete loop of the canal network, and it also includes a live commentary. 

You can learn about the history of Aveiro, check out landmark buildings, and if lucky the guide can also share a tip or two about navigating these traditional boats (and allow you to do it!) 

Aerial view of Circular Pedestrian Bridge
Aerial view of Circular Pedestrian Bridge

As you enjoy the ride, make note of the beautiful bridges that go across the canal, particularly the Ponte dos Botirões or the Circular Pedestrian Bridge. 

This bridge was built in 2006, and just like the name it showcases a circle with 26m of perimeter and is located in the tangency to the three banks, materialized by the confluence of the Canal de Botirões in the Canal de S. Roque. 

Friendships Bond Bridge
Friendships Bond Bridge

The Friendships Bond Bridge is another pretty one worth checking out! 

A building that will catch your attention is a large factory with a chimney rising from the roof. This used to be a ceramics plant, but today is home to the congress centre. 

Old Ceramics factory in Aveiro
Old ceramics factory in Aveiro city center

BOOK: You can check out reviews and book this cruise here

See the Museu da Cidade de Aveiro 

Museu da Cidade de Aveiro or Aveiro City Museum is home to the tourism office and a museum housed inside the previous convent. 

The City Museum has temporary exhibits on display along with informative videos on Ria de Aveiro Lagoon, the largest coastal lagoon in Portugal. 

Aveiro City Museum
City Museum in the Center of Aveiro

You can also learn about Aveiro’s salt flats and different types of birds that breed here. 

There is an entry fee to get to the museum. We recommend buying a combined ticket to visit 2 of the main museums in Aveiro, namely the City, and Art Nouveau Museum. 

  • Address: Rua João Mendonça n. 9, 3800-200 Aveiro, Portugal
  • Hours: Every day from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Admission Fee: Adult entry is 2 euros

Check out the Museu de Arte Nova

The Museu Arte Nova de Aveiro is another must-visit museum in the city. This one is focused on Art Nouveau buildings and its history. 

The museum is located in the iconic – the “Casa do Major Pessoa”  building with views of the main canal of the Ría de Aveiro. 

Beautiful art nouveau building facades in Aveiro city downtown
Beautiful art nouveau building facades in Aveiro city downtown

Not only is the building beautiful but it is home to an extensive network of Art Nouveau motifs spread throughout the city of Aveiro.

You can easily spend an hour here learning about the Art Nouveau styles, its evolution and ideas behind it. This museum is open from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm except Mondays and lunch hours. Fee is 2 euros per person. 

  • Address: 3810-119, R. Dr. Barbosa de Magalhães 9-11, Aveiro, Portugal
  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays closed
  • Admission Fee: Adult entry is 2 euros

After visiting the museum relax at their lovely tea house. The tea house is located on the ground floor, and you will have the views of the canals. 

Walk the Aveiro town centre

Away from the canals, Aveira is still picturesque with its quaint alleys, and black and white calçada. The grounds are filled with geometric design tiles and unique shapes!

Centre of Aveiro
Aveiro Centre

Take the time to wander these winding streets lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes. 

Photograph the colorful facades, and stop by one of the many bakeries on this street to try the local pastries or grab a bite to eat. 

Aveiro cafes and city centre
Aveiro and cafes

Check out the Cathedral of Aveiro

Located in the city centre is the Cathedral of Aveiro, a Roman Catholic Church. Also known as the Church of St. Dominic, it dates back to the 15th century, when it was set up as a Dominican convent. 

The Cathedral of Aveiro, also known as the Church of St. Dominic is a Roman Catholic cathedral
The Cathedral of Aveiro, also known as the Church of St. Dominic is a Roman Catholic cathedral

The Aveiro Cathedral was built in Portuguese Baroque style. There are azulejos tiles found inside the church and also amazing stone carving depicting different periods of Portuguese history.

  • Address: R. de Coimbra 23, 3810-156 Aveiro, Portugal
  • Hours: Tuesday to Saturaday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and Sundays

Visit the Museu de Aveiro

The Museu de Aveiro is a must-visit for anyone interested in the religious history of the city. 

The museum is housed inside a 15th century chapel (a former Convent of Jesus), and showcases exhibits such as paintings, sculptures, carvings, azulejos, furniture and vestments from the 15th to the 20th century.

Museum of Aveiro
Museum of Aveiro Santa Joana, located on the old Monastery of Jesus, Aveiro

The cloister is worth checking. It was built in the 15th and 16th centuries, and showcases geometric tiles and two tiers of galleries around a central fountain.

On the ground floor, you will also find the tomb of Princess Saint Joana (who was the daughter of the first king of Portugal). 

You will also find amazing religious art exhibits on the newer upper floors from ancient to Renaissance paintings, and sculptures. 

  • Address: Av. Santa Joana, Aveiro
  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays closed
  • Admission Fee: Adult entry is 4 euros

Note that the Aveiro Museum Santa Joana is all about religious art exhibits. Aveiro City Museum is about the city’s canal and its history. 

Visit Igreja de São João Evangelista 

The Church of São João Evangelista is an 18th-century church located in Aveiro. Just like most churches in Portugal its interiors are extremely beautiful. 

São João Evangelista is laden with gilded woodwork in proto-Baroque, Baroque and Rococo architectural styles. 

Of course, the prettiness is exemplified with blue and white azulejo tiles inside the church. 

The ceilings and the azulejos on the walls were designed by 18th century artist António Vital Rifarto of Coimbra. 

  • Address: Tv. do Governo Civil, 3810-164 Aveiro, Portugal
  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays closed
  • Admission Fee: Adult entry is 3 euros

Eat ovos moles de Aveiro

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to try some of the local specialty known as ovos moles de Aveiro. 

It literally translates to “soft eggs from Aveiro”. 

A box of Ovos Moles in Aveiro
Ovos Moles Aveiro

These treats are made of egg yolks that have been candied in sugar and flavored with chocolate, coffee, or citrus. You can find them at most of the shops in town. 

They can be easily packed and bought back as a souvenir (I bought back 2 boxes for my husband)!

Hang out at the rooftop of Forum Aveiro

Forum Aveiros is an outdoor shopping mall in the city. It was opened nearly 2 decades ago, and it is one of the first in Portugal. You will find 70+ stores and a food court where you can grab a snack and coffee!

Forum Aveiro nighttime
Forum Aveiro: One day in Aveiro itinerary

Head to their rooftop terrace for an amazing view of the canals, bridges and nearby areas. The terrace is filled green spaces, trees, and benches to enjoy the lovely breeze from up there. 

Plus if you’re looking for a place to do some serious shopping, Forum Aveiro is the place to be. 

  • Address:  R. do Batalhão de Caçadores 10 Store 2.2a, 3810-064 Aveiro, Portugal
  • Hours: Every day 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

Cross the Friendship Bond Bridges

Aveiro Friendship bridge from the boat
Friendship Bridge from the boat

As you leave the Forum Aveiro you will find a colorful bridge full of ribbons and ties, that’s the Friendship Bridge. 

Walk alongside the canals to Parque da Cidade

Walk away from the centre to the City Park area, a green space where you can enjoy an evening stroll. 

Green spaces in the city of Aveiro and the Friendships Bond Bridge

Get to the park whilst passing the canals and then walk through the existing footpaths. The City Park is home to a synthetic football pitch, skate park and tennis courts – and they are all available for free! 

Evenings and dining in Aveiro

Evening views in Aveiro
Night view the traditional moliceiro boats in Aveiro

If you are staying in town overnight head over to the Fish Market Square  – Praça do Peixe for food! 

Here you will find tons of great places to eat, and drink with both indoor and outdoor seating. You can hit a nightclub here, if interested! 

Customizing your one day in Aveiro itinerary with a visit to Costa Nova

When you are in Aveiro, a visit to the nearby Praia da Costa Nova is a must. This is a beach area located just outside of Aveiro. 

Girl in Costa Nova, one of the best day trips from Porto Portugal
Costa Nova’s colorful striped houses

You can get to Costa Nova by car in 15 minutes. Buses are available as well, and you will be at the beach in 15-20 minutes. 

The bus station is conveniently located by the beach and the promenade of colorful stripped houses!

  • Travel by car: 15 minutes
  • Travel by bus: 20 minutes

In one day in Aveiro, you can surely squeeze in 2-3 hours in Costa Nova. You will have to forgo some of the church visits though, to make room. 

Colorful houses of Costa Nova Portugal
Costa Nova and Aveiro one day itinerary

But a quick stop here won’t hurt if you are just looking to check out the colorful striped houses, enjoy a stroll along the beachside and the promenade. 

Another option is to complete your one day trip to Aveiro with all the sightseeing mentioned in this blog post and then head to the Praia da Costa Nova the following day. 

Aveiro has lovely options to stay overnight (more on that below). I actually visited Costa Nova first and then came to Aveiro and stayed there.

Praia da Costa Nova Portugal
Praia da Costa Nova

So Praia da Costa Nova is where you will find the famed colourful houses – the poster boy of a typical seaside resort in Portugal. 

The striped colorful houses in Costa Nova are known as palheiros which in Portuguese means haystack. They were used by fishermen to store their fishing nets. 

Today, they are used as holiday homes or cute cafes, making it a perfect Instagram photo spot!

The Parque da Costa Nova is a great place to take a stroll, and it’s also a popular place to go surfing. 

When you have some time, you can surely relax at the beach – soak up the sun, or watch the surfers ride the waves!

Beaches of Costa Nova
Beach views of Costa Nova

The beach is located right behind the houses, and is called the Costa Nova beach. Other than surfing, and sunbathing you can also go swimming here. 

Other things that you can include to your Aveiro itinerary are:

Ílhavo Maritime Museum

The Ílhavo Maritime Museum is located in the town of Ílhavo, which is a short drive from Aveiro. The museum is dedicated to the history of the Portuguese fishing industry, and it houses a collection of artifacts that date back to the 18th century. 

You can also see a replica of a traditional Portuguese fishing boat, and you can learn about the methods used by fishermen to catch fish. 

Visiting salt flats

Other than the fishing community, Aveiro is also known for its salt flats. 

Salt flats near Aveiro
Salt flats near Aveiro

There are actually large areas of salt flats which are accessible from the city, and you can also book guided tours to learn about history and traditions of the harvesting of salt in the area.

Troncalhada Eco-Museum is one such option. This is an open air museum. 

Where to stay in Aveiro Portugal

If you wish to stay in Aveiro overnight, here are some recommendations,

  • Hotel Aveiro Palace: Located in the heart of the city, Hotel Aveiro Palace is a nice 4-star property offering free breakfast and views of the canals. There are restaurants and shops nearby including the Forum Aveiro shopping center which is a minute walk away. Book your stay here
  • Veneza Hotel: This is an affordable 3-star property located about 3-minute walk away from the Aveiro train station. Veneza Hotel is stunning with warm rooms, housed in a colonial-style property. They have a terrace where you can hang out. Check out reviews and current availability

Map of One day in Aveiro itinerary: Things to do in Aveiro in a day 

Click to view the full map

More Aveiro Portugal Travel Tips

What is the Venice of Portugal?

The city of Aveiro has been called “The Venice of Portugal” because of its navigable waterways – canals. Visitors love guided excursions on the “moliceiro” boats to view the city’s major sights with ease. 

This is similar to the gondola rides in Venice Italy. 

And yet if you were to compare the canals or black and white striped gondoliers to Venice to Aveiro, you might be disappointed. Aveiro is rather small, and the waterways are much more open and don’t navigate through older buildings and centuries-old bridges. 

But Aveiro’s history and the cityscape are charming in their own way. And a boat ride here is cheaper than in Venice!

Is Aveiro a walkable city?

Yes, Aveiro is extremely walkable. The city is compact, and most of the tourist attractions are located very close to each other. Once you arrive at the train station, head to the shopping centre or the canal side, and then follow along the waterways to Fonte Nova and modern Aveiro.

Is Aveiro worth visiting?

Yes, Aveiro is 10000% worth visiting. 
Aveiro is a wonderful city in its own right. It is known for its network of canals, and of traditional boats that take you through them. But Aveiro is more than a fun city, it has plenty of history – both art and religion, and is a living testimony of the growth and decline of port and saltwater lagoons. 
The nearby beaches of Costa Nova are gorgeous, and the colorful striped houses are not to be missed! 

How many days do you need in Aveiro?

2 days.

Two full days will be perfect for Aveiro and Costa Nova. In one day you can still accomplish a lot as seen from the Aveiro itinerary above, but we feel that this city is all about the experience – riding the moliceiro, walking the narrow lanes, hanging out at a cafe, or soaking in the sun and views. So taking it slow, without being rushed is what you need.  
In 2 days, both the city of Aveiro and the beaches of Costa Nova will get enough attention.

So that’s a wrap! Aveiro is a beautiful and unique city to visit in Portugal. This city is known for its canals and colorful boats, but there are also plenty of things to see and do – from taking a boat ride through the canals to exploring the Museu de Aveiro, you won’t be bored for a minute in Aveiro!

More Portugal travel guides: From port wine to street art and budget travel tips

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