Aveiro and Costa Nova combined trip is hands down the best day trip from Porto. Many call Aveiro a Venice of Portugal. I wouldn’t, though.
If you are coming to Aveiro expecting miles of canals, Renesaince architecture picturesque bridges and gondoliers – you will be disappointed. Not because Aveiro isn’t a beautiful town. It’s because it’s gorgeous in its own way and shouldn’t be compared to any other city.
Is Aveiro worth visiting?
Of course! And definitely!
Aveiro is a charming and unique Portuguese town, a former fishing village located just a little over an hour of a train journey from Porto. The town is actually a thousand years old and was founded due to salt production and later commercial shipping.
You will not see a town like this anywhere in Portugal, and with the added bonus of nearby Costa Nova – Aveiro and Costa Nova day trip from Porto is a must!
This former fishing village is now a quirky town rich in Art Nouveau architecture and man-made canals, dividing the town into quarters where very original and colourful Molicairo boats offer tourists a canal ride and a bit of a laugh.
Why the latter? I will explain further down.
Aveiro is entirely walkable and can be easily seen in a day. But visiting Aveiro and not seeing Costa Nova and its famous colourful seaside houses would be a waste. So I highly recommend combining Aveiro and Costa Nova into one magical day trip from Porto.
You don’t even have to arrive too early. I had a pretty late start to my trip and managed to see and do everything I wanted.
Below i picked some of my favourite things to do in both Aveiro and Costa Nova and created a little day trip itinerary for you.
How to get to Aveiro from Porto.
The train is definitely the easiest and fasts way to get to Aveiro from Porto. There is a direct train from Porto to Aveiro departing from either Sao Bento or Campanha train station. Aveiro is the last stop on this route so you won’t be able to miss it. It is also a really pleasant train journey with some scenic views of the ocean.
It takes just a little over one hour to get there and one two way train ticket comes to around €7. You can check here for the timetable and current ticket price.
Aveiro and Costa Nova Day Trip from Porto Itinerary
Explore Aveiro’s canals and take a closer look at Moliceiro boats.
As you arrive at the train station, take Avenida Lourenço Peixinho, the main road which will take you directly to the town centre and central pier. From there you can take a walk around the town and explore its canals.
Take a closer look at the colourful boats. Traditionally, those brightly painted ships were used for algae transportation but now offer a very touristy but still fun way to explore the city.
Each boat has a different and unique design identifying the owner of the vessel. If you take a closer look, quite a few of them are pretty funny, if not a bit naughty!
From the main pier, you can take a boat trip but shop around before choosing one. Different operators offer those trips, and prices may vary.
Have lunch at Fish Market Square (Praça do Peixe)
While browsing around the town you will most likely come across Fish Market Square where you will find plenty of seafood and local food restaurants. This is a great place to have lunch and recharge before taking on the rest of the day.
Unfortunately, these days establishment keep closing and reopening so I won’t be recommending any particular restaurant. But my main tip is to always choose the restaurant or bar that is busy with the locals rather than tourists.
What I’ve also noticed while travelling in Portugal – the less bothered the waiter is (meaning not actively inviting you to step in) – the better the food will be! That is of course if like me you are looking for a traditional and authentic experience 🙂
Praça do Peixe is centrally located and surrounded by charming cobbled streets and colourful buildings. As the name suggests you will find a fish market there so the food served by the restaurants couldn’t be any fresher.
Take the Art Nouveau tour around the city
To walk off the lunch, I suggest a fascinating walk around the city.
Aveiro, along with Barcelona, Brussels, Budapest, Glasgow, Helsinki and Havana, is a member of the “Réseau Art Noveau Network”. In itself, Aveiro is a city-museum.
Art Nouveau was a trendy international movent of art, architecture as well as applied and decorative art most popular between 1890 and 1910.
Inspired by natural forms and organic shapes found in nature like plants, flowers, the primary intention of Art Nouveau was to break down the traditional distinction between fine arts and applied arts.
Aveiro is a perfect display of this art movement. You can view all the Art Nouveau buildings by taking a tour. You can finish the tour by visiting the Art Nouveau museum located above the Casa de Chá, a café with an outdoor garden.
The added bonus of this tour is that as you walk around the town searching for Art Nouveau buildings, you will be able to explore all its corners, charming little streets and original shops and cafes.
Exploring the town and letting myself be surprised by it, was my favourite part of the visit.
Take a bike tour – Eco Cycling Route (Via Ecológica Ciclável)
If you prefer spending your day in a more active way and have a spare day in Aveiro, I recommend taking Eco Cycling Route (Via Ecológica Ciclável) bike route which can also be walked on foot.
You probably won’t fit it in a day trip, but if you are in the area for a little bit longer, it is definitely worth considering. Or you can skip the boat ride and take a healthy bike ride instead 🙂
The track was inaugurated in 2018, and it’s a wooden walkways route that allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of Ria de Aveiro and surrounding landscapes.
It has a length of 7.5km and is actually a part of a 48km bike route connecting Estarreja and Mira. The Aveiro section starts at the end of the S. Roque Canal (under the A25 bridge), passing through the Ribeira de Esgueira Pier and ends in Vilarinho, next to the Novo do Príncipe River.
Bicycles are free to rent in Aveiro at the BUGA shop in Manuel Firmino Market, but make sure you have your own lock and be at the store as early as you can so you don’t miss out on available bikes.
Take a trip to Costa Nova and Barra and stay for sunset
Aveiro and Costa Nova can easily be combined into one day trip from Porto – and it should!
How to get to Costa Nova from Aveiro?
There is a direct bus from Aveiro to Costa Nova and Barra leaving from the train station or the town centre very near the Moliceiros Pier. I have spent a bit of time looking for it, so I have pointed the exact location for you and you can find it here.
The journey takes approximately 40 minutes and the ticket costs €2.5 one way and can be purchased with the driver. The bus company is called Transdev and you can check the current timetable here.
You can also take an Uber or Bolt with one way fare ranging between €7 and €9.
I recommend getting off at Costa Nova and making your way to Praia da Barra for the sunset.
Otherwise, you can get off at Barra, walk by the river promenade to Costa Nova and return by the sea to Barra. You can then take a return bus from Barra to Aveiro. This was the exact route I took.
The coastal views and the beach all along are spectacular.
The whole area is shaped into a narrow peninsula so you can walk along the river promenade on one side and on the wooden walkways right on the beach, on the other side. Don’t miss any of them – both walks are greatly enjoyable with incredible vistas!
I always thought that the colourful stripy houses are located right by the beach – somehow all the photographs seem to give this impression. Is it only me? But directly on the beach, you will find few nice beach bars and long wooden pathways spanning in between the dunes. The houses are located further into the land but can be seen and easily found from any point during the walk.
What I have noticed during my travels is that things are hardly ever the way I expected them to be. But most of the time way better, and it was the same case with Aveiro and Costa Nova.
Costa Nova and Barra beaches are spectacular! I stayed till sunset, and it was the best decision.
After snapping some sunset photos, you can take a return bus or taxi back to Aveiro.
Dinner by the Canal in Aveiro - Perfect end to the Aveiro and Costa Nova day trip from Porto
Aveiro has plenty of restaurants, snack and tapas bar spread around the whole town. I personally really liked the spot near the smaller canal not far from the Fish Market with quite a few seafood restaurants as well as snack and tapas bars where I have eaten.
I had such a good time that I forgot to take pictures, but it’s a lovely area to settle for the evening. The below photograph shows the exact location I spent the evening before heading to the train station.
I truly enjoyed my day spent in Aveiro and Costa Nova. It’s a fantastic day trip from Porto, and if you are staying in the area for more than a couple of days, Aveiro and Costa Nova should be on your to-do list!
Both locations are super unique, and you won’t find any other place like this!
Let me know your thought if you have also visited. I will look forward to hearing from you.
Happy travelling 🙂
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