Aveiro, “The Portuguese Venice”, is a charming, picturesque city and an ideal day trip from Porto, Portugal.
Famous for its canals and architecture, Aveiro city centre is a lovely and peaceful place to spend a day or two when you’re visiting central Portugal.
There are quite a few things you can experience in one day in Aveiro, yet you may want to extend your visit and stay overnight to see even more.
Here are some of the best things to do on an Aveiro day trip from Porto.
How to get to Aveiro from Porto
You can take the train from Porto to Aveiro, or take a guided tour with a pick up from your Porto hotel.
The train ride from Porto to Aveiro takes about an hour on the urban train.
Go to one of the big train stations in Porto, Campanhã or São Bento, and take a train from there.
The urban trains run quite frequently and you can buy tickets at the station. For schedules check Portugal’s railways website that has the shortest URL ever: cp.pt.
There is also a faster Intercity train that will take you there in about half the time and costs a bit more.
You can also take a bus or BlaBla car to get from Porto to Aveiro. Do a quick search on GoEuro to see the available options.
Arriving at Aveiro
You’ll arrive at Aveiro’s modern train station, but as you step outside you’ll see its old train station building which is a great start for the trip.
Those amazing blue Portuguese tiles (“azulejos”) so typical of the region, cover the building, depicting historical scenes.
From the station, take a walk to the city centre along the wide Avenue that you’ll see just in front of you, called Av. Dr. Lourenço Peixinho.
Along the way you’ll pass by the canal and the local shopping centre called “Forum”.
The city of Aveiro is perfectly walkable. You can see it by yourself, but there are also some Aveiro sightseeing tours available.
Aveiro’s beautiful canals
It’s called the Portuguese Venice for a reason 😉
The beautiful canals, bridges and little painted boats are all symbols of Aveiro.
One of the reasons this place feels so peaceful is the water and the cute boats.
The decorated gondola-like boats called “Moliceiros” run up and down the canals and if you want to take a tour you will find quite a few leaving from the centre.
A boat tour usually takes about 45 minutes and costs €10. If you’re visiting Aveiro on a guided tour, this should be included in the tour price.
Museums to visit on an Aveiro day trip
There are several museums in Aveiro and you can get a super affordable single ticket for €5 that grants you entrance to all of them.
The Aveiro museum pass includes:
- Aviero Museum Santa Joana
- The Aviero City Museum
- The Art Nouveau Museum
- The Marinha da Troncalhada Ecomuseum
They are open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 6pm, so don’t plan a day trip to Aveiro on a Monday if you’d like to visit any of them.
If you’re visiting Aveiro on a day trip, you may want to pick only some of these museums to see in one day and leave time for other things to do in Aveiro.
For me peronally, four museums in one day trip seemed a bit too much, so I opted for the €2 pass and went to two museums.
That’s a combined ticket for the City Museum and the Art Nouveau Museum.
Conveniently, both of these are on the same street and within a couple of minutes from each other.
Aveiro City Museum
The City Museum, or Museu da Cidade in Portuguese, is dedicated to the history of the city of Aveiro.
It’s a pretty large museum and the exhibitions are spread over several floors.
It has a collection of items, big and small, from different time periods that are typical of Aveiro, plus some local contemporary art.
There are clear explanations in English so you can follow this historical journey easily.
When you go out of the museum, cross the road to take a look at the building itself. It is an impressive combination of Art Nouveau and Portuguese tiles.
Art Nouveau Museum of Aveiro
Continue along the canal, and just a couple of minutes away from the City Museum, you’ll see another impressive building.
This one is hosting the Art Nouveau Museum of Aveiro, or in Portuguese: Museu Arte Nova.
Enter and climb a ridiculously narrow but appropriately decorated staircase to reach the second floor.
There you can watch a documentary film introducing the Art Nouveau movement in different places around the world.
When I visited there was also a small exhibition on fashion influenced by the Art Nouveau style.
Regardless of what exhibition is on when you visit, take the time to appreciate the marvellous interior of this building.
The top floor of the museum has a temporary exhibition. When I visited it was about tiles made in Aveiro in the Art Nouveau style.
Although all the exhibition texts were in Portuguese, it was easy to follow and enjoy the display.
Art Nouveau architecture in Aveiro
At the Museu Arte Nova you can pick up a map of Art Nouveau buildings around the city.
Aveiro has many of those and they are among the best things to do and see in Aveiro.
Even without the map, you can simply walk around the small streets and just look up.
This impressive architectural style arrived in Porto in the early 20th century.
The typical elements of Art Nouveau, like whiplash lines and nature-inspired themes, are often mixed in Aveiro with traditional Portuguese architecture – the gorgeous painted tiles that you will see everywhere around the centre.
Combine a day trip to Aveiro with a visit to Coimbra
I visited Aveiro as a day trip from Porto, but I’ve been told it’s possible to combine it with a visit to Coimbra as well.
You can do that on a full day trip, departing from Porto in the morning. Here are the details of a one day trip that covers all the highlights.
Where to stay in Aveiro
If you’ve fallen for the charms of Aveiro, you will probably want to stay overnight in the city and explore more the next day.
There are some good reasons to stay more than one day.
You can take your time, visit more museums or churches, visit Costa Nova and Praia da Barra (a beach outside Aveiro), or take a trip to Ovar to see more of those lovely Portuguese tiles.
Here are some of the best places to stay in Aveiro:
OC Salon Charm Hostel & Suites
5-star hotel in Aveiro city centre. With nicely decorated rooms and a great location this is an excellent place to stay in Aveiro.
A modern 4-star hotel in a central location in Aveiro with excellent reviews.
Aveiro Rossio Hostel
A budget friendly option for backpackers. This hostel offers bicycle rental and breakfast, clean rooms and friendly staff in the centre of Aveiro.
Lonely Planet guide to Portugal
Get the up-to-date Lonely Planet guidebook to Portugal with colour maps, pictures and itineraries, as a book or an ebook (or both). You can also download individual chapters just for the parts of the country you’re going to visit.