Portugal City Travel Guide: Aveiro
- Population 56,000
- Pronounced (uh-vye-ro)
- Town of canals and pretty bridges.
- Situated on a large lagoon and wetland south of Porto at the mouth of the Rio Vouga.
- A real 'sea' town: famed for fish and salt.
- Gateway to surrounding beaches on the Atlantic Coast.
Located on the Lisbon-Porto train line along the Costa de Prata, Aveiro (uh-vye-ro) is a regional port city with a population of over 56,000. Historically, the city has prospered as a seaport, with salt as one of its main industries. In spite of relative economic decline, it boosts a spectacular bird sanctuary nearby, the Museu de Aveiro (Tel: 234 423 297), and charming canals and homes. Decent beaches are within easy reach.
Aveiro was originally founded in the time of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The development of the salt industry, agriculture, and fishing, and the first cod-fishing expeditions to distant Newfoundland in 1501 brought the city a period of great prosperity in the 16th century. However, in the winter of 1575, heavy storms destroyed the deep channel that had once linked the marshy lagoon known as Ria to the sea. This effectively destroyed the city's sea trade. The Ria was not joined to the sea again until the early part of the 19th century with the building of the Barra Canal in 1808.
Today the city's many hump-back bridges and canals and pastel-colored homes give it a genteel, relaxed feel. In the canals, you can see the beautifully painted boats known as moliceiros. The bird reserve is at Sao Jacinto and is accessible via a bus (and then a small boat) from the AV Aveirense bus stop on Rua Clube dos Galitos. The wooded area has walking trails and bird-watching hides. Visitors can only stay for a maximum of 2 and a half hours and must enter between 9-9.30am or 2-2.30pm and book in advance.
The Museu de Aveiro, founded in 1458 and located on Rua Miguel Bombarda (234 423 497), features the tomb of Princess Joana, which is a marble mosaic masterpiece and some stunning azulejos. The museum is the former Mosteiro de Jesus, where Joana lived as a nun until her death in 1490.
There are some good surfing beaches around 13km west of Aveiro at Praia da Barra and Costa Nova, which can be reached by bus from the city center. Praia de Sao Jacinto is a long stretch of dunes north of the lagoon.
Aveiro city hosts a monthly arts and crafts fair on the second Sunday of each month at the Praca Melo Freitas showcasing local products.
Aveiro Tourist Office
Regional Tourist Office of Rota da Luz.
Rua Joao Mendonca, 8.
Tel. 234 420 760; Fax 234 428 326.
Getting to Aveiro
Aveiro is more easily reached by rail than bus. There are ten high speed Alfa Pendular train departures a day from Lisbon's Santa Apolonia Station via Gare do Oriente to Aveiro Station on intercity trains that take two hours and 10 minutes with both 2nd class seats, and first class seats. Altogether there are 20 trains of various types between Lisbon and Aveiro a day.
On the high speed Alfa Pendular trains, the prices are higher in Conforto class than in Turistica class.
Traveling south from Porto, the journey takes one hour from Sao Bento on local trains or 30 minutes from Campanhã Station on express Alfa Pendular trains. There are regular trains to Coimbra from Aveiro which take 1 hour.
The first train from Campanhã to Aveiro is at 5.47am with the last train a slow Urbano at 12.59am taking an hour. The last high speed Alfa Pendular train is at 8.47pm but there are later Urbano and Intercidades services.
Note: You can save 10% by buying a return ticket. Children under 12 years of age and people aged 65 or over receive a 50% discount.
From Lisbon take the A1 highway north. Takes about 2 - 3 hours.
On the bus from Lisbon, it takes 4 hours and costs less than the train. The journey to Coimbra is around 45 minutes. There are also local buses to Figueira da Foz (2 hours) and Praira de Mira (50 minutes).
At the low end, there is always the drink-all-night-sleep-in-the-fountain option. For those not so inclined, camping is an option. The parque de campismo (234 369 425) at Barra and Gafanha da Nazare (234 366 565) northwest of Ilhavo are both reasonable and close to town. For those who prefer a roof, the pousada da juventude (234 420 536, fax 234 382 395) which is 1.5 km south of town is good value for a double, or for a multiple. Reservations strongly recommended. A good deal near the train station is Pensao Avenida (234 423 366) on Avenida Dr Lourenco Peixinho. Residencial Beira (234 424 297), Rua Jose Estevao 18 and Residencial Palmeira (234 422 521), Rua da Palmeira 7.
Mercure Aveiro, Rua Luis Gomes de Carvalho 23, 45 rooms.
Book Hotel Accommodation in Aveiro
The Rota da Luz area is, not surpringly, known for its seafood cuisine: cod (bacalhau), eel (enguias) and shellfish. Close to the train station, Café Restaurant O Aquario, Rua Almirante Candido dos Reis 139 (234 425 014), is reasonable. Near the fish market, Restaurante Ferro, Rua Tenente Resende 30 (234 422 214), serves pratos do dia. Vegetarian fare can be had at Sonatura, which is located at Rua Clube dos Galitos 6 (234 424 474).
Along the Canal Sao Roque beyond the fish market, there are several good places to toss one down: Estrondo, Cais de Sao Roque 74 (234 383 366), Urgencias, on a nearby corner (234 428 082), and Salpoente, Cais de Sao Roque 83 (234 382 674).
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opposite Town Hall
Local football team
Aveiro is home to SC Beira Mar, a first division side in the Portuguese domestic league that plays its home matches at the Estadio Mario Duarte. Thanks to Euro2004, the team plays in a brand new stadium that was purpose-built for the tournament. The US$39 million Estadio Municipal has a capacity of 30,000.
The average high June temperatures for Portugal is between 22 degrees Centigrade and 26 degrees Centigrade.
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