In Aveiro, known as the “Venice of Portugal”, the waterways of Aveiro´s River run through the city and they carry on an atmosphere of serenity and beauty that is not found anywhere else. There is a lot of water, salt pans and people who their lives are the sea. There are also Art Nouveau tiles and contemporary architecture, the famous soft eggs and the typical moliceiro boats with their curved prows, which remind us of the famous Venetian gondolas. You need no other reason to visit Aveiro!
Aveiro breathes culture and tradition, youth, and innovation. The wonderful Museum and the Baroque tomb of Princess Santa Joana, the tiles of Art Nouveau, the avant-garde University and the surprising moliceiros, are a good example of what is most particular about this city.
On the Aveiro City Tour you can get to know the whole history of the city on a guided tour of the historic center and the Cathedral. This is followed by a charming 1-hour cruise on one of its colorful moliceiro boats.
Walking through the canals of the River in a moliceiro, is an experience difficult to match. Enjoy the beautiful Art Nouveau mansions and the Captaincy, the surprising Congress Center, the original Forum and some of the many pastry shops that sell the local specialty: the “ovos moles” or soft eggs, a conventual sweet made with eggs and sugar, sold in small wooden barrels or maritime themed wafers. Observe the salt pans and their ancient methods of collecting salt, which are lined in the horizon like shining light pyramids. And be marveled by the unique character of this city which is one of the most original Portuguese cities!
Then, out of town, on the seafront, be amazed by the fishermen's past times cute houses: the haystacks! In Costa Nova, the colors of the houses reflect the joy of living.
Aveiro: where tradition is still present!
This small town, once an important seaport, has a long history. The salt pans of Aveiro were mentioned in the will of Countess Mumadona Dias, which goes back to the year of 959, and who was the founder of the castle of Guimaraes.
In the 15th century it was a substantial city, enriched because of the salt and the cod fishing boats. The presence of Princess Santa Joana, daughter of D. Afonso V, in the Convent of Jesus, had important repercussions for Aveiro, as it drew attention to the city and favored its growth. The Age of Discovery was a period of great wealth and demographic increase, in which Aveiro became an important commercial and maritime center.
Its wealth disappeared, suddenly, when the storms silted the port in 1575. Only in the 19th century, with the opening of the new inlet on the beach, Aveiro recovered a little of its importance: the boats went back up to the city and the salt pans resurfaced. The construction of beautiful Art Nouveau buildings is a testament to that golden age.
Another important impulse took place in 1973 with the creation of the University, a real tribute to contemporary art. Currently, Aveiro is surrounded by industries, houses a renowned University, has a strong business dynamism and a remarkable scientific and cultural activity. However, the River, the canals and the moliceiros survived to give it character. The Atlantic coast and the numerous water courses, together with the existing infrastructure in the Aveiro region, make this area an important epicenter regarding the practice of Nautical Tourism. The Aveiro River is the stage for nautical sporting events of relevant interest, such as the moliceiro regattas or international regattas. These events turn the Aveiro River into a setting where all the colors of the rainbow are allowed!
Aveiro: the Water City
The Aveiro River runs parallel to the Atlantic from Ovar to Mira and is considered one of the most beautiful hydrographic accidents on the Portuguese coast. It has an enormous ecological richness, because in its waters many animals and plants live there. The canals of the River penetrate to the central area of Aveiro (the Rossio) and radiate to the surroundings of the old Ceramic Factory (now the Cultural and Congress Center), close to the train station. The station, exuberantly decorated with 28 tile panels, is another notable attraction in Aveiro.
The São Roque canal has an arm that passes close the Fish Square, with its famous Market, a beautiful example of iron architecture. The surrounding area, with several restaurants, bars, and terraces, is one of the liveliest in the city.
The whole River has exceptional conditions for the practice of water sports and, inside, the most characteristic traditional activity of Aveiro stand out: the production of salt.
The moliceiro boat and its colorful charm
The moliceiro is an elegant working boat, destined to harvest and transport the typical vegetation of the Aveiro River - the moliço. Chemical fertilizers have reduced the demand for this vegetation, which is why most moliceiros are currently used for tourist cruises now. The moliceiro exists throughout the Rivers surface, varying its dimensions according to the area where it is navigated. It is a boat with very low sides - to facilitate the harvesting and loading of the moliço -, measuring 2.5 meters wide and 1 meter long. Built of pine wood, it resists, on average, 7 years of work and its means of propulsion are the sail, the rod or the tow. One of its characteristics is the cheerful colors used in the composition of its panels: blue, yellow, green, red ... The variety of panels is endless, and the themes represent the decorator's imagination. It is precisely in these panels that the most witty and humorous drawings and legends. Here images of popular devotion, regional professions, women's representations, among others, are widely represented.
Discover Aveiro, an amphibious city and unique in Portugal. Without having the monumentality of Venice, it has a bit of land and water, tradition and modernity that gives it a unique setting and without a doubt a different atmosphere. Contact us and book your Aveiro City Tour now.