Visiting Aveiro – So close and so nice

Aveiro – Portuguese Venice

Did you think that Portugal was the only country without a so called Venice or Venezia or Veneza?

We have water so we have also our Venice. What do they have in common?

1 – Water and canals
2 – The smell
​3 – A similar typical boat (Moliceiro versus Gondola)

What are the differences?

1 – The palaces
2 – The prices
3 – 15 000 000 tourists each year
4 – “Ovos moles”

​These are the big notes. But there are many small ones, that you’d better check for yourself.

Canals and moliceiros


Moliceiros are traditional boats that were used for harvesting moliço (a type of algae used as agricultural fertilizer) in the ria. The colorful boats, like gondolas, reinforce the identification of the city with Venice, gliding through the canals, always full of tourists.

Old capitania


The Old Capitania (Port Authority) also known as the Casa dos Arcos, was in the 15th-century a tide mill. later used as a drawing school, cooperage, and storehouse. Rebuilt in 1903 blending Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles, it houses today the Municipal Council, after moving the Captain of the Port to Gafanha da Nazaré.

Cathedral and museum


The cathedral was a Dominican monastery from the 15th century. It is in Baroque style and contains a Manueline-style stone cross of São Domingos, classified as a national monument.

At his side the city’s museum occupies the old convent.

Santa Joana

Santa joana
Santa joana

The most famous and precious part of the museum is the tomb of Santa Joana, a 17th-century masterpiece of inlaid marble mosaic. It takes center stage in a lavishly decorated room, with a gold-leafed chapel displaying azulejos (hand-painted tiles) depicting her life. Santa Joana, later canonized, was the daughter of king Afonso V.

Tourist office

Tourist Office

One of the most beautiful spots in the city is a group of Art Nouveau buildings in the city center, next to the “Capitania”.
One of these buildings combines beauty with functionality, housing the local tourist office.

Squares and gardens

Manuel firmino
Manuel Firmino in Aveiro

The increase in tourism has led to the beautification of the banks of the most frequented canals. Spacious and inviting parks and gardens now flank these canals, making a stroll on foot almost as pleasant and picturesque as a ride on the endlessly passing boats.

Ovos moles

Ovos moles
Ovos moles

Originating from the convents (known as Doces Conventuais), these thin wafers filled with a rich egg yolk and sugar mixture have a fascinating history and since 2008, the authentic “ovos moles” can only be made in Aveiro, classified as a product with Protected Geographical Indication by the European Union.

If you appreciate those “Doces Conventuais”, check Alcobaça each November, for the most complete diversity.

It's there Melià


No, I didn’t stay at this hotel, in fact I never needed to sleep in Aveiro, less than two hours from my bed, however, if I needed it and could afford it, this would be my choice, so perfect is its location (and the reputation of the chain , indeed).

Trip in the ria


Of course, no visit to Aveiro is complete without a moliceiro ride along the estuary. It doesn’t even take an hour, it’s cheap, it’s cool, and it doesn’t require long lines outside of special days.

Royal school
Royal school

The boat trip shows a new angle of the best things to see in the city, but also allows for some discovery. For example, just from the boat I noticed the Royal School of Languages ​​that has been operating in this certainly older building for a few decades.

Humberto delgado
Humberto Delgado

The city’s central hub is this square that connected and replaced two old canal bridges. Nearby is the Misericórdia church, which we did not visit.

What did I write in 1989 in my first touristy visit to Aveiro?


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It’s exaggerated the comparison to Venice, but Aveiro is, really very tight to water.

A few canals cross the city, and in the neighborhoods, most of their life is connected to the sea and lagoon.

​Aveiro is mainly a growing industrial city, with the sea present everywhere.



The top icon of the city is the traditional boat used to pick algae from the lagoon, called Moliceiro.

​Now a fading activity, it keeps being the “official” image against the reality of a growing industrial area, but it is not much than a touristy relic nowadays, possible to book for a short trip.