Here’s part 4/5 of our 10-day Portugal Trip. We started our journey in Lisbon (part 1), including a day trip excursion to Sintra & Cascais (part 2), then made our way to Coimbra (part 3) for two days, and now we’re here at Aveiro & Costa Nova before hitting our final stop in Porto.
Aveiro is a charming city to explore and a change of scenery from our last stop in Coimbra. While Coimbra is all medieval and historical, Aveiro is all colourful and vibrant. We made Aveiro as a stop en route to Porto but you can totally do it as a day trip option from Porto as well.
Aveiro & Costa Nova (1 day)
Dubbed as “Venice of Portugal”, the biggest charm of Aveiro is their picturesque canals. Where Venice has gondolas, Aveiro has moliceiros – which are the colourful traditional boats of the area. Another charm of Aveiro is the beaches. Costa Nova is just a short bus ride away and you’ll be greeted with Instagrammable colourful houses along the strip. Here is our itinerary for Aveiro and Costa Nova:
Getting to Aveiro
From Coimbra, it’s a quick half-hour train ride from Coimbra-B station to Aveiro. If you’re coming to Aveiro for a day trip from Porto, regular trains operate from Porto’s Sao Bento station to Aveiro. The journey is about 1 hour and 15 minutes long.
Aveiro is quite a compact city so it’s quite easily walkable from Aveiro train station to the city centre. It took us roughly 10 minutes to walk from the station to our hotel at the city centre by the canals. And it’s not hilly at all compared to the other cities!
Bus to Costa Nova
Once we arrived at Aveiro and dropped our luggage at the hotel, we decided to hit up Costa Nova first. Regular buses run from Aveiro’s centre to Costa Nova. Look out for bus L5951, which takes you to Costa Nova (the last stop) in about 40 minutes. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the beach and the distinctive colourfully striped houses.
Lunch at Marisqueira Costa Nova
Conveniently just nearby the bus stop is this restaurant named Marisqueira Costa Nova. We had a fantastic meal there as we enjoyed the lobster curry, mixed seafood rice, as well as trying out fried eel, which is a local speciality. Portions were generous and the quality of seafood is tremendously fresh. I’ve had eel plenty of times before, usually Japanese style in the form of sushi or rice bowl. But I’ve never had deep-fried ones like this before. It’s certainly interesting but I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m completely head over heels about them. Overall, the main seafood dishes we had were absolutely superb and I loved it!
Visiting in mid-April, the beach has proven to be extremely windy – getting sand-slapped is not fun at all! But that doesn’t take away the beauty of the beachside and I can imagine that being quite ideal for windsurfing.
The beach is really quiet when we visited and we get to enjoy its rugged landscape by ourselves. There is a long trail to walk along the coastline but the battle with the wind made us turn back after just a short walk.
Aveiro Canal Cruise
We hopped on the bus and returned to Aveiro after Costa Nova. Once we arrived, we decided to join one of the canal cruises, which is the best way to see the city. As mentioned, the Portuguese has their own version of gondola here called moliceiros. Traditionally, moliceiros are used for seaweed harvesting but they are now mainly used for running canal cruises. The cruise was a chilled one and each boat has a tour guide showing you a few sights around.
Ovo Moles at Confeitaria Peixinho
Ovo Moles is a local delicacy in the Aveiro region. Essentially, it’s a sweet treat that’s made with just egg yolks and sugar. Traditionally, the sweet egg yolk mixture is filled into rice paper or a wafer shell. But at Confeitaria Peixinho, there are other pastry variations to try out as well.
Confeitaria Peixinho is actually the oldest Ovo Moles shop in Aveiro founded back in 1856. But there is nothing looking ‘old’ about the shop. The shop is modern and charming, with almost a ‘fancy’ feel to it. We tried the traditional ovo moles, which we really enjoyed, and tried out one of the cakes as well but that one was a tad bit underwhelming. The ovo moles are certainly a lovely bite and I bought more as souvenirs to bring back!
A Walk Around Aveiro and Sushi Dinner
For the remaining time before dinner, we just leisurely walked around the city. Every street and corner were pretty and charming, and it is quite easy to navigate around. Eventually, we grabbed dinner at a restaurant half served as a Japanese sushi place and the other half for Brazilian barbecue. We went with sushi though the food wasn’t particularly impressive.
(Next Day) Breakfast at Dolce Infusao
For the next morning, we had breakfast at this cute local cafe called Dolce Infusao. Interestingly, it’s got a little English tea house vibe there and you get to enjoy the likes of scones and such. We also had avocado toast, a pastel de nata, and some other small pastry nibbles. It’s all in all a cute spot to pop by!
Right before we head off to the train station to make our way to Porto, there happened to be an antique market going on around town so we stopped by a little bit before checking out of our hotel to continue the journey.
All in all, Aveiro has been such a lovely stop and a lovely breath of fresh air from our journey so far! From there, we travelled to our final destination of the trip – Porto.