The Aveiro region captures the essence of a destination we would expect to see in a travel guide, with its moliceiros (similar to Venice’s gondolas), natural ponds, its elegant nineteenth century architecture and cobblestone streets – a very special place where the old meets the new with grace.
One of the most enchanting destinations in this country, this charming city also known as the “Portuguese Venice”, has a water canal that allows these colorful moliceiros to float by the pastel colored Art Nouveau buildings. This quiet urban atmosphere is the ideal setting for a holiday.
The Ria de Aveiro – The ria de Aveiro is what you can call a “hydrographic accident”. There are many along the Portuguese coast – when the sea level dropped a few centuries ago, many natural lagoons were left behind. The Ria de Aveiro is composed by many islands, lagoons and canals of all shapes and sizes, flowing out to the river Vouga. The Ria is 45kms long, ranging from Ovar to Mira (famous for its beach), with Aveiro in the centre and Ílhavo nearby. In the Ria de Aveiro there is salt production and many salt evaporation ponds, also known as salterns or salt pans. Many water sports are also practiced here, which is also a bonus for people touring the area. Beyond leisure and fun, the Aveiro Port has intense industrial and commercial importance on the Portuguese coast.
The Convent of Jesus – Founded in the 15th Century, this old Dominican convent is strongly associated to the most famous princess from Aveiro – Blessed Joan of Portugal. She was known for her religious devotion to religion throughout her entire life – she entered the convent when she was 20 years old in 1472 and lived there until she died 18 years later. Here at the Convent of Jesus you can see her marble tomb, as well as Manueline porticos, baroque motifs, Manueline inspired cloisters and mannerist chapels that embellish this historical monument.
Igreja da Misericórdia (The Church of Mercy) – This church is on e of the most attractive examples of religious architecture in this region. Built in the late 16th century, this monument displays a traditional façade with blue and white tiles, renaissance elements in its porticos and a wonderful selection of colorful tiles within.
Vista Alegre Museum – Aveiro is the birthplace of the famous Vita Alegre porcelain, a superb example of the Portuguese tradition with ceramics. Located within the original factory, where these delicate works of art are produced, this museum is one of the most visited attractions in the region. Admire the historic remains of the very first pieces made by Vista Alegre, the evolution of their designs; learn how and what tools and machinery are used to create these porcelain wonder and how they have evolved to present day.
Museum of Aveiro – Set inside the magnificent Convent of Jesus, this museum is considered one of the most important religious artifact museums in Portugal. It exhibits a collection of Portuguese paintings dated back to the 17th and 18th centuries, meticulous work of tiles, elegantly crafted gold pieces and a vast collection of clothing, jewelry and relica.
Maritime Museum of Ílhavo – This museum exhibits an interesting selection of ethnographic information of the maritime importance of Aveiro, as well as fascinating examples of the first moliceiros, a variety of navigation tools and photographs and the largest collection of rare seashells in the country. In 2003, this museum was awarded the prestigious Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies Von der Roke, for their modern design.
Regional Delicacies – “Ovos Moles” (egg yolk and sugar pastry); “Barriga de Freira” (Nun’s Belly – egg, cinnamon and sugar mix in a bread based pastry)