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Aveiro Region: the perfect trilogy between Ria, Land and Sea

They call it the Portuguese Venice and perhaps the comparison is ungrateful: because there are unique flavors and knowledge. If you still don't know this region, stay here and get inspired.

It's like there's a perfect blend between poles that aren't opposites. Here there are waters that do not mix, but merge into the same culture. There is a smell of the sea and the river. There is natural and urban landscape, old and new art, boat trips and on foot, water sports and spas, museums and “striped houses”, sweets and savory, turmoil and tranquility.

Comprising 11 municipalities – Águeda, Albergaria-a-Velha, Anadia, Aveiro, Estarreja, Ílhavo, Murtosa, Oliveira do Bairro, Ovar, Sever-do-Vouga and Vagos – the Region of Aveiro has a bit of everything. Just as the rivers flow into the Ria de Aveiro, the Region's municipalities also converge here – as this is its greatest and most important natural resource. Whether on board a moliceiro boat, on a walk through the city, along the beach or on a trail, join us on this journey and live a unique experience.

Visit the city

On foot, by bicycle, by boat… or, if you like, all three. Why choose one way to visit the city if they all bring you different experiences? If you like to walk, you have the advantage that the city of Aveiro is almost completely flat, which makes the task easier. Fans of two wheels will find electric bicycles made available by us, which they can use any day of the week.

The moliceiro boat is on the must-see list. What is now known as a tourist symbol of the region, a candidate for UNESCO heritage, was once a work tool: in the 19th century, these boats were used to collect the sludge that existed in the Ria, known as moliço, which after drying in the sun, it was used as fertilizer. When moliço was replaced by chemical fertilizers, the moliceiros were no longer necessary and became the boats that today brighten up the Ria with their bright colors, each telling its own story. Notice the drawings and engravings of each vessel and note the religious motifs or the most “daredevil” jokes. Take a trip on one of these typical boats to get to know the city through the canals. If it's morning, take advantage of the best time to photograph the Palheiros da Costa Nova, with their red, blue and green stripes (once used as fishing warehouses, legend has it that fishermen began to paint them so they could be easily recognized when returning from the sea). If you go in the late afternoon, enjoy a beautiful sunset and watch the Ria change its hue, thanks to the effect of sunlight. At the end of June, you can also attend the Great Regatta dos Moliceiros, part of the Ria de Aveiro Weekend, an event lasting three days, with activities related to culture, heritage, sports, arts and local gastronomy, spread across the 11 municipalities of the Aveiro region.

Next to the main channel, widen your view and notice the buildings that rise in the “Art Nouveau” style. The movement emerged in Europe with the aim of transforming mundane, everyday objects into works of art. It arrived in Portugal at the beginning of the 20th century and settled in Aveiro by emigrants who had enriched themselves in Brazil and returned to their homeland with the desire to improve architectural details. In all, there are 10 buildings to discover, especially in the city center: notice, for example, the flowers on the façade of Casa do Major Pessoa and the gardens in the Bandstand of Parque Municipal Infante D. Pedro. As a member of royalty, the city of Aveiro even inherited the nickname of City-Museum of Art Nouveau – a title recognized worldwide by the Réseau Art Nouveau (a cooperation network made up of around 20 cities that best represent and preserve the heritage of Art Nouveau in their buildings). The Art Nouveau Museum is located on one of the banks of the central canal and here you can learn more about the history of this movement and appreciate the façade.

If you want to know a little more about the city, stop by the Museum of Aveiro. It is installed in the former Convent of Jesus of the female Dominican Order and it was here that, in the 15th century, Princess Santa Joana, daughter of Afonso V, lived. Her life dedicated to religion led to her beatification in 1693. Here you can visit the Mausoleum of Princesa Santa Joana and appreciate the gilded carving that decorates the interior of the church.

If you go on foot through the historic center, at a leisurely pace, at the whim of the holidays, take the opportunity to take pictures on the bridges, visit the Fish Market and take a break next to Praça 14 de Julho, while watching the city go by.

Arriving at lunchtime, try one of the typical dishes of the region – eel stew or lamprey – or enjoy fresh fish or seafood, taking advantage of being in a city with a fishing tradition. The sweets are a temptation that is not worth resisting: for dessert or for lunch, try the delicious Ovos Moles – served in wooden barrels or wrapped in a wafer dough crust – or a Tripa de Aveiro – similar to the American wafer, used in ice cream, but softer.

The city center can be visited in a few hours, but there is plenty to explore around. If you haven't marked it on your calendar yet, take a weekend getaway and book at least two or three days to visit the region.

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