Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by queenie mak
Located on the west coast of Portugal, Aveiro is a picturesque fishing town known for its Art Nouveau buildings, salt flats, patterned Portuguese pavement, and an egg-y dessert called ovo moles. The town is also known as the Venice of Portugal because of the canal system and the gondola-type boats called moliceiros.
And taking an Aveiro day trip from Porto couldn’t be easier. Aveiro is only 75km south of Porto and can be easily reached via the urban train. Aveiro is the perfect day trip destination, especially if you are travelling on your own.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to take the train from Aveiro to Porto, and how to spend an entire day in Aveiro seeing the best attractions the city has to offer.
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What you need to know before going to Aveiro Portugal
Before you visit Aveiro in Portugal, take a look at some of these useful travel tips for your day trip:
- Bring your credit card as many places accept credit cards only. Also, bring cash for smaller purchases.
- Use GoogleMaps app to navigate around Aveiro
- Download the Comboios de Portugal app and check the train schedule from Porto to Aveiro and back
- I recommend starting your Aveiro day trip early. Try to arrive in Aveiro by 9:00 am so you can comfortable follow my itinerary below
- The best way to see Aveiro is on foot as the city is quite small
- Be aware that some churches and museums in Aveiro close during lunch hour (12:30 pm to 1:30 pm)
How to get to Aveiro from Porto
The easiest way and cheapest way to travel from Porto to Aveiro is by taking the urban train. You can start the journey from either Sao Bento Station or Campanha Station in Porto.
All you have to do is buy a ticket from the counter or kiosk. This means you pay €0.50 for the reusable card and one title (means one ticket) for the cost of the train journey to Aveiro.
Porto to Aveiro by train
- Urban train: from Porto Sao Bento Station to Aveiro Station
- Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (about 1 or 2 trains per hour)
- Cost: €3.55 (plus €0.50 for the Siga reusable card)
- Check: Comboios de Portugal website for train schedules
Remember to keep the card so you can use it to take the train from Aveiro to Porto. And make sure to validate your card before getting on the train.
Aveiro day trip from Porto: 1-day itinerary
All the Aveiro attractions in my one-day itinerary are numbered and pinned on the interactive Google Map. All you have to do is to follow the numbered red pins throughout the day and see all the best sights in Aveiro efficiently and effortlessly.
1. Antigo Estação Caminho de Ferro de Aveiro (Aveiro Old Railway Station)
Address: R. do. Dr. João de Moura 2, Aveiro | Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Antigo Estação Caminho de Ferro de Aveiro is the Old Aveiro Railway Station and has been around since 1916. But you will see the restored station with blue and white tiles as soon as you exit Aveiro Station.
When you take a closer look at the panels of blue and white tiles, they show different scenes that depict typical characteristics of the area including the Aveiro salt flats, Aveiro during the beginning of the 18th century, and many more.
Besides the impressive decorative elements on the exterior of the old station, the interior of the building houses a gift shop and an exhibition area on the upper floor. If you forget to buy souvenirs in the city centre, you can always pick up a few souvenirs here before jumping back on the train to Porto.
2. Ponte dos Namorados
Address: Cais do Côjo, Aveiro
The Ponte dos Nomorados bridge in Aveiro is different from other “lover’s bridges” in other parts of the world. Instead of putting a love padlock on the bridge, a love ribbon or tie is used instead. The whole act symbolizes the unbreakable love and friendship between two people.
There are many ribbons of different colours tied to both balustrades. The cheerfulness and whimsical feel of the pedestrian bridge have made Ponte dos Nomorados one of the best attractions in Aveiro.
3. Sé de Aveiro (Aveiro Cathedral)
Address: Av. 5 de Outubro, Aveiro | Hours: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Sé de Aveiro (Aveiro Cathedral) is the only surviving structure in the old Dominican monastery. Founded in 1423, the church suffered many fires and left the building in bad condition. Many restorations were carried out, including the facade and the nave.
Today, you can visit this Roman Catholic church and see the Portuguese Baroque architecture style, Gothic sculptures, and a modern organ.
Make sure to take a peak inside and see the oldest religious building in Aveiro.
4. Museu de Aveiro (Aveiro Museum)
Address: Av. Santa Joana, Aveiro | Hours: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm (closed Mondays) | Admission: €5
Across the road from Aveiro Cathedral is Museu de Aveiro (Aveiro Museum). The building used to be the former Dominican convent but was converted to a museum.
For €5 entrance fee, you can see one of Portugal’s most valuable religious art collections. Besides all the religious paintings and artwork from the 15th to 20th century, the museum is best known for its ties with Saint Joana, the patron saint of Aveiro. Inside the museum, you can see Saint Joana’s tomb and azulejos (blue and white tiles) telling the story of her life.
Also, don’t miss the cloisters, fountain in the courtyard and the gold-leafed interior of the Chapel of Jesus.
5. Igreja de Sāo Joāo Evangelista (Convent of St. John the Evangelist) / Igreja das Carmelita de Aveiro (Church of the Carmelites)
Address: Tv. do Governo Civil, Aveiro | Hours: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday
Igreja de São João Evangelista (Convent of St. John the Evangelist) belongs to the Carmelite Nuns Order, which is why the church is also known as Igreja das Carmelita de Aveiro (Carmelitas Church).
Doesn’t matter what you call this church, the building itself was declared as a national monument in 1910.
And you might be wondering why that is because the exterior of the church seems rather plain and boring. But once you enter the church, your visual senses are bombarded by all the ornate gild work, intricate woodwork, and different types of architectural styles including Baroque and Roccoco.
Moreover, the most spectacular highlight of the Carmelitas Church is all the gold-leafed surfaces next to blue and white azulejo tiles. The contrast between gold and blue colours is considered to be the ideal design aesthetics at the time.
6. Street art and wall murals in Aveiro
Address: Rua de Coimbra, Aveiro
By now you may have seen a few murals and graffitis in Aveiro. There are a few along the way from Aveiro Station; some are painted on large vertical surfaces while others used a stencil technique where they remove a part of the wall to create an image.
At Rua de Coimbra, there is a large mural made with colourful tiles. The subject matter is all about typical Aveiro activities and things associated with the city, like moliceiro boat, ovo moles, salt, etc.
Also, take note of the beautiful black and white patterned floor. The Portuguese pavement, also known as calçada portuguesa is a traditional pavement used in pedestrian walkways in Portugal. Aveiro has many patterned sidewalks, but this one is one of the best!
7. Take a Moliceiros boat tour at the Moliceiros Pier
Address: across from Turismo Centro on Rua João Mendonça | Hours: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm | Tour price: €13
One of the best Aveiro attractions is taking a canal ride on a moliceiro boat. Moliceiros were used for fishing before, but now it is used as a vessel for touring around the canals of Aveiro, similar to the gondolas in Venice, Italy.
The boat ride is about 45 minutes and the colourful boat will take you to all the highlights along the Aveiro water canal.
All the boat tours along the Moliceiro Pier cost the same. I purchased an advanced ticket online for this Moliceiro boat tour. The process was easy and saved a bit of time. All I had to do was go to the meeting point, which is directly across from the Turismo Centro on Rua João Mendonça. Then I got a ticket for the next moliceiro boat tour.
However, if you don’t get a spot on the next boat, you can jump to #13 and #14 on the itinerary ie. have lunch first then go on the boat cruise.
I’ll list all the highlights on the moliceiro canal tour below. (And FYI you can see all these attractions on foot but it is so much more fun seeing it on a boat cruise).
8 & 9. Fábrica de Cerâmica Jerónimo Pereira Campos and the Monument to the Soft Eggs
Antiga Fábrica Jerónimo Pereira Campos Address: Cais da Fonte Nova, Aveiro
Monument to the Soft Eggs Address: R. Carlos Silva Melo Guimarães
First, the moliceiro boat sails to the south end of the canal. The boat passes the colourful Ponte dos Nomorados pedestrian bridge and Aveiro Forum. And then into Lago da Fonte Nova, one of the urban channels of Ria de Aveiro.
At the furthest end of the canal is the Jardim da Fonte Nova and the Antiga Fábrica Jerónimo Pereira Campos. The red-brick building with a smokestack in the middle used to be a ceramic factory. But it has been converted to a cultural congress centre today.
And on the left side is the Monument to the Soft Eggs. These whimsical sculptures celebrate Aveiro’s famous dessert: ovo moles. The actual sculptures mimic the nautical shapes of the ovo moles and the mould for making the egg-y dessert.
10. Salinas de Aveiro
Address: R. do Dr. Bernardino Machado 8, Aveiro
The moliceiro boat tour continues and travels all the way to the north part of the canal. And on the left side is the Salinas de Aveiro, the salt flats of Aveiro.
You can see mounds of salt from the molicerio boat tour (see the top photo above) and that’s about it. If you are interested in seeing more, you can walk back to the salt flats and see more.
Plus, there are salt baths on the premises! Take a long dip in one of the salt pools and reap the benefits from the minerals and the salinity of the saltwater.
And if you are interested in learning more, you can visit the Ecomuseu Marinha da Troncalhada, an open-air museum showcasing traditional salt production.
11 & 12. Ponte dos Botirões (Circular Pedestrian Bridge) and Ponte dos Carcavelos (Carcavelos Bridge)
Ponte dos Botirões Address: Cais dos Mercanteis 20, Aveiro
Ponte dos Carcavelos Address: Praceta Ria de Aveiro, Aveiro
The moliceiro boat tour continues towards the west where it passes two beautiful, yet very different bridges.
First is the Ponte dos Botirões (Circular Pedestrian Bridge), a steel bridge built over two intersecting canals: the São Roque canel and Praça do Peixe canal. The modern bridge has a loop or the infinity symbol suspended over the bridge by cable wires.
Pedestrians and cyclists can access the wooden circular bridge from four different access points. I would describe the bridge as a roundabout for cars, but this is for people and bicycles. Ha!
Next is the Ponte dos Carcavelos (Carcavelos Bridge), one of the oldest bridges in Aveiro. The old bridge collapsed, so what you are seeing is a new and improved bridge. Take note of the center of the bridge; it is decorated with the city’s coat of arms (an eagle).
After passing the second bridge, the moliceiro boat makes a u-turn and returns back to Moliceiro Pier.
13. Obelisco da Liberdade at Praça Melo Freitas
Address: R. Domingos Carrancho, Aveiro
Obelisco da Liberdade is the obelisk of freedom that was built to commemorate the centenary of the birth of José Estevão’s birth and the people of Aveiro who fought in the liberal war in 1828. The pyramidal obelisk is made of granite, limestone and marble.
The commemorative monument sits proudly in the centre of Praça Melo Freitas, where it is surrounded by intricate black and white Portuguese pavement. And if you look around Praça Melo Freitas, there are many Art Nouveau architectural-style buildings facing the open square.
When you walk further into the square, there are many shops and restaurants, which brings me to the next thing on the itinerary: lunch!
14. Have lunch around Praça do Peixe or Praça Melo Freitas
Praça do Peixe Address: Largo da Praça do Peixe
Praça Melo Freitas Address: R. Domingos Carrancho
There are many restaurants throughout Aveiro but the majority of them are concentrated around Praça do Peixe and Praça Melo Freitas.
When you are in Aveiro, definitely try different types of seafood. The city is known for caldeirada de enguias (Aveiro-style eel stew) and seafood cataplana (traditional seafood stew). But if eel might be too exotic for you, there are still plenty of other seafood and Portuguese food options.
Here are a few recommended places to eat in Aveiro:
- O Telheiro Adega Tipica de Alexandrino Pereira – traditional Portuguese restaurant serving typical Portuguese food, seafood and local specialties like eel and seafood rice
- Cais do Pescado – Portuguese seafood restaurant at Praça do Peixe
- Palhuça – a popular Portuguese restaurant serving local specialties
- Maré Cheia – Portuguese seafood restaurants serving all types of seafood including eel
- Tasquinha Do Leitao – they serve delicious suckling pig plates and sandwiches
15. Museu da Cidade (Aveiro City Museum)
Address: R. João Mendonça 9, Aveiro | Hours: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm | Admission: €2 (for both Museu da Cidade and Museu de Arte Nova)
Museu da Cidade (Aveiro City Museum) has several exhibits on everything and anything that has to do with the history of Aveiro. From old photographs to different artifacts, you can learn something new about the city.
However, there isn’t a lot to see throughout the three floors in the building that used to be an ancient convent. But the €2 entrance fee is worth spending because it includes the fee for visiting Museu de Arte Nova, the next stop on the Aveiro itinerary.
16. Museu de Arte Nova (Art Nouveau Museum)
Address: R. Dr. Barbosa de Magalhães 9-11, Aveiro | Hours: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm | Admission: €2 (for both Museu de Arte Nova and Museu da Cidade)
Museu de Arte Nova (Art Nouveau Museum) is a 3-story museum that houses different types of Art Nouveau artwork from fashion to sculptures and other unique art pieces. However, the collection of work is quite small compared to other museums I’ve been to.
For me, the best part was seeing the facade of the museum. I really like Art Nouveau, especially in architecture. And it was great to see all the design intricacies in their building.
And I was given a brochure for finding all the Art Nouveau buildings and monuments in Aveiro. It became a scavenger hunt for me after leaving the museum. I followed the map and found most of the buildings. And many of them were already part of my itinerary, including Praca do Peixe, Museu da Cidade and Fábrica Jeronimo P. Campos.
17. Forum Aveiro
Address: R. do Batalhão de Caçadores 10, Aveiro | Hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
After all the sightseeing in Aveiro, check out Forum Aveiro, a shopping plaza with over 70+ stores. There are clothing stores like Zara, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius, Pull & Bear, Bershka and many more brands.
I always like to put the shopping options at the end of my travel itineraries so you are not carrying all your shopping goods around the city.
Also, there are restaurants and food courts if you want to grab something to eat before heading back to Porto.
18 & 19. Buy Ovo Moles de Aveiro at M1882 Maria da Apresentação da Cruz, Herds or Confeitaria Peixinho
M1882 Address: Rua de Coimbra 5 | Hours: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Confeitaria Peixinho Address: Rua de Coimbra 9 | Hours: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Before you end your day in Aveiro, there are a few souvenirs that you should get.
M1882 Maria da Apresentação da Cruz, Herds and Confeitaria Peixinho are two popular local pastry shops that sells Aveiro’s specialty: ovo moles.
Ovo Moles de Aveiro is a small pastry made with egg yolk and sugar wrapped with a rice paper casing or wheat flour casing. The name literally means “soft eggs from Aveiro.” And they are shaped in nautical shapes like seashells.
Or get other sweet treats that are made with the same creamy yolk and sugar combination like the pao-de-lo de Ovar (sponge cake), cookies, tarts and many more.
And if dessert isn’t your thing, you can buy salt products like salt soap as Aveiro is known for its salt production. These souvenir items can be found anywhere in Aveiro.
When you are ready to take the train from Aveiro to Porto, walk back to the train station and make your way home.
Aveiro: things to do if you have more time
There are many more things to do in Aveiro other than the attractions mentioned in the itinerary. If you have more time in Portugal and want to spend another day in Aveiro, here are a few more things to do (see blue pins on the map):
- Praia da Costa Nova – gorgeous beach and fishing village with wooden waterfront cottages in vertical stripes
- Ecomuseu Marinha da Troncalhada – you can see the salt flats from the moliceiro boat tour, but you can go back and get a guided tour of the open-air museum, soak in the spa baths and even get a massage
- Museu Marítimo de Ílhavo e Aquário dos Bacalhaus – learn about cod fishing at this modern maritime museum
- Marinha da Noeirinha – soak in the mineral-rich saltwater pools and stay overnight on a houseboat
Are you ready to visit Aveiro in Portugal?
I hope so! All you have to do is to follow my one-day Aveiro itinerary. I did all the heavy-lifting of planning the perfect itinerary so you can enjoy the day trip.
Let me know in the comments if you like this itinerary of if I am missing anything attractions that should be on the one day tour.