Located less than an hour away from Porto, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Aveiro several times. And let me tell you, it’s one of the most charming cities in Portugal 🥰. So, I decided to put together this Aveiro itinerary for a 2-day visit with all the tips I gathered throughout all my visits.
Aveiro is often known as the Venice of Portugal because of its canals, which, in a way, remind us of the canals of Venice. Although, in my opinion, the cities have little in common besides the canals, Aveiro is one of the cities most worth visiting in Portugal.
The city may not be very big, but there is certainly something to it that makes you fall in love with it and want to return again and again.
Throughout this post, besides the best things to do in Aveiro in 2 days, you will also find other tips to help you plan your visit to this Portuguese city, such as: what is the best time to visit Aveiro, how many days are necessary, accommodation in Aveiro, among others.
What is the best time of year to visit Aveiro?
Being a coastal city, the weather in Aveiro is often uncertain. In the autumn and winter months, the probability of being cold and raining is much higher. So, if you can avoid visiting Aveiro at this time of year, do it.
To increase the chance of good weather in Aveiro, I suggest visiting the city from April to September, where the temperatures will be milder and the probability of rain lower.
How many days do you need to visit Aveiro?
The historical centre of Aveiro is not very big, so if you want to visit its main points of interest, you can easily do it in just one day.
However, I think it makes sense to stay a bit longer to visit other places near the city, such as Costa Nova, for example. That is why I suggest 2 days to visit Aveiro.
This Aveiro itinerary was prepared for 2 days in the city. However, in the end, I will share an alternative version for those who have only one day in Aveiro.
How to get to Aveiro?
The most convenient and fastest way to get to Aveiro is by car. The cities of Porto and Coimbra are the closest to Aveiro – 50 minutes only. From Lisbon, the distance is slightly longer (2h40; 250 km). That’s exactly why many people chose to visit Aveiro as a day trip from Porto.
However, you can also reach Aveiro by public transport:
- Porto: there is a train that leaves General Torres station (Gaia) and takes about 40 minutes to Aveiro. General Torres station has metro connections to downtown Porto (São Bento, Aliados, Trindade, for example). It is also possible to make this trip by bus (Flixbus, ALSA, Rede Expressos).
- Coimbra: train from Coimbra-B station (56 min) or, alternatively, Rede Expressos bus (45 min)
- Lisboa: train (2h10) from Lisbon Santa Apolónia or Oriente. There are also buses from Rede Expressos, but the journey takes about 3h15.
If you don’t want to worry and leave the travel planning to someone else, you can always opt for an organized tour from Porto, for example. There are several options:
Is Aveiro worth visiting?
Despite being a much smaller city than Porto or Lisbon, Aveiro is one of the most charming cities in Portugal. Its canals and the moliceiros (traditional boats) that cruise there, the fresh fish, the salt pans and the typical sweets, easily leave those who pass through there wanting to come back.
So, the answer is YES! I think it is well worth visiting Aveiro!
Accommodation in Aveiro
Although I have never stayed in Aveiro due to the city’s short distance to Porto (where I live!), there are several accommodation options in the city:
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Activities & tours in Aveiro
Aveiro Itinerary – 2 days
Before starting the 2 days itinerary in Aveiro, I am sharing a map with the main points of interest in the city to help you plan your visit to the city.
Aveiro Itinerary – Day 1
The first day of this Aveiro itinerary will be spent exploring the best places that Aveiro’s historical centre has to offer 😍.
» Carcavelos Brigde
I start this itinerary of Aveiro on one of the oldest bridges in the city. Carcavelos Bridge, also known as Lovers Bridge, connects the two banks of the Canal de S. Roque (water channel) and it is here that we can find the city’s coat of arms.
Its name comes from the fact that many of the Aveiro salt pans were owned by lords from the Lisbon area (Carcavelos is a place in Lisbon).
» Botirões Chanel and Bridge
I suggest continuing this Aveiro itinerary towards the Botirões bridge, which joins the S. Roque Canal to the Botirões Canal.
This canal is one of the most important in Aveiro and is especially photogenic due to the colourful buildings on both banks.
» São Gonçalinho Chapel
Located in the Beira Mar neighbourhood (one of the most emblematic in the city!), this small chapel is dedicated to São Gonçalo – considered by some to be the city’s patron saint.
At the beginning of January, there is even a celebration in honour of São Gonçalo next to this chapel that consists of throwing cavacas (a traditional Portuguese sweet) to a crowd that tries to catch them with the most diverse objects.
» Vera Cruz Church
The Vera Cruz church may go unnoticed, but if you are lucky enough to catch it open, I recommend a visit inside to appreciate the gilded carved walls.
💡 EXTRA TIP: A visit to Aveiro is not complete without trying the famous ovos moles – Aveiro’s best-known sweet. These can be found in any café in the city, but I recommend Confeitaria Peixinho.
» Art Nouveau Museum
The Art Nouveau Museum is an interpretative centre of all the elements of Art Nouveau that are scattered around the city of Aveiro.
📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The Art Nouveau Museum can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm to 6 pm.
Next to the Art Nouveau, you can also take a walk in the pleasant Rossio Garden.
» Fish Market
The Fish Market is one of the most emblematic places in the city of Aveiro, where besides the possibility of buying fresh fish, it is possible to taste one of the region’s delicacies in the various fish-specialised restaurants.
💡 EXTRA TIP: At the end of 2022, it was announced that the Fish Market will change its location to the Manuel Firmino Market.
» Central Canal and General Humberto Delgado Square
From the Fish Mark, I suggest you walk to General Humberto Delgado Square, located above Aveiro’s Central Canal.
In this square, besides the building of Capitania do Porto de Aveiro, other elements that steal the visitors’ attention are the four statues on each side of the bridge that separates the two banks of the Central Canal.
These statues aim to represent the life the people of Aveiro lived years ago.
» Moliceiro ride
An Aveiro itinerary isn’t complete without a moliceiro boat ride. This is an excellent way to get to know the city from another perspective 😉.
Most tours start near the banks of the Central Canal, so this is a good time on the itinerary to take this tour. The tour usually takes about 45 minutes, and the visit includes some brief explanations of the city’s main points of interest.
The tours tend to pass through the 4 main channels of Aveiro: Canal Grande, Canal de S. Roque, Canal do Cojo and Canal das Pirâmides. Tickets cost 13€ per adult and 6€ for children under the age of 12.
Although it is possible to buy tickets on the spot for the moliceiro rides, you can also book in advance, as is the case with this tour. Booking through GetYourGuide has the advantage of being able to cancel the tour up to 24 hours before the activity.
» Cojo Canal and Friendship Bridge
I suggest you continue your tour in Aveiro following the banks of the Canal do Cojo towards the Aveiro Congress Centre.
The walk is quite pleasant and in between, you will also be able to glimpse the Friendship Bridge (Ponte dos Laços da Amizade). This bridge was created in 2004 by two university students who placed colourful bows on the bridge to celebrate the union of people.
Gradually, people added more bows and nowadays, the bridge has lots of them, creating a cute effect.
Nearby you can also find the Manuel Firmino Market, where you can find various products on sale, such as flowers, vegetables and fruit.
» “I Love Aveiro” Staircase
Crossing Canal do Cojo to the other bank, I suggest a visit to the most famous piece of street art in Aveiro. I am talking about the stairs painted with the words “I Love Aveiro”.
» Aveiro Cathedral
Aveiro’s Catedral, also known as Nossa Senhora da Glória Church, is a baroque-style church that dates back to the early 15th century. It’s not the most beautiful church ever, but it’s worth a quick visit.
» Marquês de Pombal Square
The next point on this route through Aveiro is Marquês de Pombal Square where we can find, among others, the old Carmelite Convent, which is currently being used by the police.
In addition, don’t forget to take a look at the Portuguese pavement (calçada portuguesa) in this square, where all the Zodiac signs are represented.
» Snack in Aveiro’s most colourful café
While you’re in Marquês de Pombal Square, I suggest a short break in one of the most colourful (and Instagrammable!) cafés in Aveiro. The M Bakery Aveiro, in addition to delighting visitors with its decoration, has so many delicious things to try out!
It’s not exactly a point of interest in the city, but I find this café so charming that I think it’s an excellent tip for anyone visiting Aveiro!
» Republic Square
The next point to visit on this Aveiro itinerary is Republic Square. In this small square, besides the Aveiro City Hall, we can also find the Aveiro Theatre and the Misericórdia Church.
Aveiro Itinerary – Day 2
If the first day of this Aveiro itinerary focused more on the historical centre of the city, the second day will be dedicated to exploring some places no longer located in the city centre, such as Costa Nova and Barra Beach.
The easiest way to visit these places outside the historical centre is by car. Even if you don’t have a car when you are visiting Aveiro, you can always use a taxi. The trip certainly won’t be too expensive since the distance is less than 15 km.
» Typical Costa Nova houses
I suggest you start the day in Costa Nova, known for its colourful striped houses. Although there are several, the best-known ones are located along Avenida José Estevão. Use this location in Google Maps to easily find the houses.
These houses were originally used as warehouses for fishing nets and other fishing-related materials. Later, the houses were transformed and started to be used during the bathing season.
There are several theories to explain the coloured stripes. Some say that the stripes were for the houses to be more easily identified on foggy days, others say it was for fishermen to know which house was theirs when they were drunk 😂.
Regardless of the theories, one thing is certain: a walk along the colourful houses of Costa Nova is a must.
💡 EXTRA TIP: Take advantage of the walk along the Costa Nova waterfront to try the famous “tripas de Aveiro”. This is a kind of folded crêpe that can have various fillings, from ovos moles to chocolate. In my opinion, it is a bit too much, so I would ask for one tripa to share with someone else.
» Barra Beach and Lighthouse
One of the amazing things that Aveiro also has to offer are its beaches. And that’s exactly why I chose to include Barra beach in this itinerary!
There are several options of beaches in the Aveiro district and that are perfect for a day well spent at the beach. However, Barra beach is the closest to the city of Aveiro. Besides, it has a very photogenic lighthouse and, for that reason, I chose it to be part of this itinerary.
» Aveiro Museum
Returning to the historic centre, I recommend a visit to the Aveiro Museum, where we find a collection of sacred art. One of the most valuable pieces in this museum is the marble tomb of Joanna of Portugal.
📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm to 6 pm.
» Infante D. Pedro Park
This visit to Aveiro may be coming to an end, but the surprises aren’t over yet. One of the most beautiful parks in the city and which is, in my opinion, a must-see is the Infante D. Pedro Park.
The park was built between 1862 and 1927 on a former property of the Santo António Convent. It is currently the largest green space in Aveiro.
The park is not very big, but it has some nice details 🥰. If you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to visit this park!
» Aveiro Salt pans (Salinas de Aveiro)
Sometimes it feels good to save the best for last, and this is definitely one of those cases. The Aveiro salt pans are, without a doubt, one of the most emblematic places in the city of Aveiro. And they are especially magical at sunset, as we can play with our reflections in the water.
You can park your car here and then simply cross the bridge to the salt pans. You will soon find an opening that allows you to get down and walk around the salt pans.
If you are interested, it is also possible to take guided tours of the Aveiro salt pans (7€ per adult) and learn more about the salt extraction techniques. Find out more here.
💡 EXTRA TIP: It is also possible to try bathing in the salt water (especially interesting in the summer!), in places like Marinha da Noeirinha. More information is available here.
Aveiro in one day Itinerary
And if you only have one day available in the city? No problem! Find out how to see the best of Aveiro in 1 day:
- Carcavelos Bridge
- Botirões Canal/Bridge
- Fish Market
- Central Canal
- Moliceiro ride
- General Humberto Delgado Square
- Canal do Cojo
- Friendship Bridge
- Infante D. Pedro Park
- Aveiro Salt pans
Aveiro Itinerary if you have more days available
And what if you have extra days available to visit Aveiro? Don’t worry because the experiences available in Aveiro don’t end here. I leave you some suggestions of additional activities you can try in the Aveiro’s surroundings. Some of them are a bit further and can be considered as day trips from Aveiro:
- São Jacinto Sand dunes
- Ria de Aveiro Walkways
- Vista Alegre Museum
- Sever do Vouga
- Válega Church
- Pateira de Fermentelos
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