I had literally never heard of Aveiro, Portugal before starting to research places to visit in Portugal. But then it kept popping up on lists of day trips from Porto, and, drawn in by the nickname the “Venice of Portugal” and the gorgeous Aveiro, Portugal pictures, I knew I was going to have to visit.
It turned out that Aveiro was anything BUT the “Venice of Portugal”. Sure, there are the canals and the boats, but where Venice is packed and well-trodden, Aveiro was almost completely empty and held a palpable sense that there was so much left to be explored. And explore I did.
Rather than tack Aveiro on as a day trip from Porto, I booked myself a hostel dorm bed for two nights with the intention of embracing the slow travel way of life and discovering every nook and cranny of this town I truly felt was calling my name. I’m so glad I did because Aveiro absolutely deserves more than one day.
Here are 23 Aveiro, Portugal pictures I hope will prove that to you.
Let’s start with the canals because, well, that’s what Aveiro is best known for. Contrary to what your guidebook might tell you, there really aren’t that many canals in Aveiro. But the ones there are are definitely worth a look.
The colorful Moliceiros were once used to harvest seaweed but now ferry the few tourists Aveiro receives along the canals (pro tip: all of the tour operators charge the same, so it doesn’t matter which one you use).
At sunset, when the day trippers are gone and the boat captains have closed up shop, the waterways are all yours. I’ve never felt more at peace.
Portugal is famous for its tiled buildings, and nowhere in Portugal did I see more of them than in Aveiro. Looking back at my Aveiro, Portugal pictures, almost half of them are of houses. Because they were all just THAT pretty.
The same evening I enjoyed the sunset at the canal, I walked around during golden hour, getting lost in the alleyways, photographing houses, and loving every moment of it. The few locals who ventured out that evening gave me strange looks, perhaps wondering how a lost tourist had made it this far out and if I had missed the train back to Porto. If I had, it wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
The Ovos Moles
Aside from the canals, the one thing all the guidebooks touted the most about Aveiro was the signature sweet: ovos moles. Egg yolk and sugar mixed together and wrapped in rice paper casings shaped like shells or other nautical shapes. Legend has it that a nun with a serious sweet tooth invented the mixture one night when she had a craving and wrapped it in the paper to keep it a secret.
I won’t tell you how many ovos moles I ate while in Aveiro (mostly because I lost count), but I will tell you that it was enough to ascertain that they are delicious and alone are a good enough reason to visit Aveiro, Portugal.
You wouldn’t normally expect a city with almost no name recognition to have good museums, but the museums in Aveiro, Portugal are absolutely delightful. In one day I visited both the Museum of Aveiro and the Art Nouveau Museum and neither disappointed.
The Museum of Aveiro is housed in the old 15th-century convent which was home to Saint Princess Joanna. It is a drop-dead gorgeous building which is also home to a surprising amount of gorgeous religious art. At only €4/person, you really can’t miss it.
The Art Nouveau Museum is absolutely charming. It’s small, and most of the descriptions are only in Portuguese, but that’s what Google Translate’s photo feature is for. There’s also a self-guided walking tour of art nouveau buildings in Aveiro, which I really wish I had done.
Like any self-respecting European city, Aveiro has a lot of gorgeous churches. But unlike most churches in European cities, these churches are gorgeous in their own, unique way. When I think of European churches I think of grand, gothic spires. But these tile facades and curving accents are in a league of their own.
Bonus Aveiro, Portugal Pictures
The canals, the tiles, the museums, and the ovos moles are all good reasons to visit Aveiro, but that’s not where the charm of this energetic city stops. From the sprawling public parks to the delicious restaurants, there really is no better place to spend a few relaxing days.
The Parque Dom Pedro Infante, for example, is easily one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever been to.
There are plenty of statues and other public art scattered around the city too. Not that Aveiro needs them–it’s a work of art in and of itself.
Finally, the food. Food in Aveiro was that perfect mix of old world charm, delicious flavors, and reasonable prices. There’s really nothing to complain about. Outside of the ovos moles, I didn’t really get any food pictures, but here’s one of one of my favorite restaurants from my time there to whet your appetite:
So, have I convinced you to go to Aveiro yet?