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What to Visit in Oporto and Aveiro Region
Portugal is a seafront country . The tail of Europe with infinite resources … a piece of heaven.
For your holidays or permanent residence, this country has a mild climate, with 3000 hours of sunshine per year and 850 km of splendid beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, making of Portugal a perfect destination during all seasons, just a few hours away of any capital in Europe.
In this country that has the oldest borders of Europe, there is a great diversity of landscapes within walking distance, many leisure activities and a unique cultural heritage, where tradition and contemporaneity are combined in harmony.
The gastronomy, the wines and the friendliness of the Portuguese complete an offer of quality tourist services, whether for a weekend or for a longer holiday whether in the countryside or in the city.
Portugal is situated in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean.
In the European continent, the Portuguese territory occupies an area of 88,889 km2 (218 km wide, 561 km long, 832 km Atlantic coast and 1,215 km land border with Spain).
Located next to the Atlantic Ocean between the European continent and The Azorean archipelago covers an area of 2,355 square kilometers and consists of nine islands – São Miguel and Santa Maria in the Eastern Group, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial in the Central Group, and Flores and Corvo in the Western Group.
Connections with the mainland and Portugal are carried out in a 2 hours flight .
The Madeira Archipelago with an area of 741 km2 is situated in the Atlantic Ocean about 500 km from the African coast and 1000 km from the European continent ( 1h30 flight fromLisbon). It consists on the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and the uninhabited islands of the Desertas and Selvagens (which are Natural Reserve Areas).
The climate in Portugal varies significantly from region to region and is influenced by the relief, latitude and proximity of the sea, which provides mild winters, especially in the Algarve.
Some Places to Visit in Oporto
Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu de Arte Contemporânea)
Place of an extensive park very well maintained and pleasant, a Museum of Contemporary Art scratched by Álvaro Siza Vieira and an house in art deco style that gave name to the Foundation.
Cathedral of Oporto (Sé Velha)
Besides the church started in the XII century, it is worth visiting the cloisters, covered with tiles. From the terreiro, where is the pelourinho and other monuments, there is a superb the view over the Douro river and the typical houses on the two margins.
Lello Bookstore (Livraria Lello)
Known worldwide, among other reasons because its stairs inspired the author of Harry Potter.
It is considered one of the best and most beautiful bookstores in the world.
Besides the beaches, it is a leisure place with chairs and cafes next to the sea. There is also a pergola that gives a especial charm to the pictures taken there.
Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa)
Beautiful building from the XIX century where it stands out, not only the famous Arab Hall, the Pátio das Nações but also the noble and scenic staircase .
Clérigos Tower (Torre dos Clérigos)
It is one of the emblematic monuments of Oporto by Nicolau Nasoni, the most renowned architect of the baroque period of northern Portugal.
From the top, the view over the city and the river deserve the climb.
The House of Music (Casa da Musica)
Its bold architecture signed by Rem Koolhaas and the diversified musical agenda make it an icon of Oporto.
It is one of the most attractive neighborhoods of Oporto city, where you can feel the warm and popular atmosphere of the people of Oporto.
Saint Francisco Church (Igreja de São Francisco)
Main temple of the Gothic construction of the city. Inside you will find the Baroque style: all fulfilled in gilded wood.
It is in the center of Aveiro, around the Rossio and houses where you can taste the delicious “ovos moldes”, which meets a set of interesting Art Nouveau buildings. The facades, where wrought iron elements and carved stone are not uncommon, unfold into arches and bow-windows. The decor runs through columns, skirting windows and doors and framing glasses and tile panels. If you are passionate about Art Nouveau and want to explore the best of tourism in Aveiro, do not miss out!
The Codfish Route (A Rota do Bacalhau)
Codfish has always been “the faithful friend” of Portugal, a “must” of Portuguese cuisine. Legend says that there are at least 1000 ways to cook it, and it is particularly difficult to say which is the tastiest! But the codfish does not boil down to the delight of Portuguese gastronomy, highly acclaimed. The history of codfish is a true epic, written by thousands of men who, over time, faced rough seas and wrote the history of cod fishing.
Barra’s Lighthouse (Farol da Barra)
The sun and the sea of the coast of Aveiro invite to visit the beaches. Start at Praia da Barra, located between the Dunas de São Jacinto and the Costa Nova beach, and discover the Barra Lighthouse. Rising magnificently, this is the highest lighthouse in Portugal and one of the largest in Europe, impressively marking the Ria de Aveiro’s encounter with the sea. Here, where extreme sports coexist side by side with the ancient fishing gear, the lighthouse of the nineteenth century stands more than 60 meters above sea level.
The Train Station (Estação de Comboios)
The Aveiro Train Station is decorated with a set of tiles from the Fábrica da Fonte Nova (1916), with regional motifs. This charming building, which is full of natural light, has the most important outdoor tile collection in Aveiro.
Costa Nova Beach (Praia da Costa Nova)
Part of the colorful and beautiful Aveiro is inseparable from the famous huts of Costa Nova. These typical constructions, originally used by fishermen of the zone to store the fishing materials, have been used over the years as holiday homes. Implanted on the edge of the beach, they greet the sea with its facades painted stripes of gaudy colors. Let yourself be conquered by the warm simplicity of the fishing spirit of Costa Nova, still so present in its sands.
Old Captaincy of the Port of Aveiro (Antiga Capitania do Porto de Aveiro)
The building of the Captaincy of the Port of Aveiro currently belongs to the Municipality of Aveiro. It is also known as the “Capitania dos Arcos” and its history is really long. Initially built as a tidal mill, it would later become a support building for the porcelain factory José Ferreira Pinto Basto, which founded the internationally known brand Vista Alegre. Later, in 1903, Francisco Augusto da Silva Rocha reformed the building to house the School of Industrial Design.
The Train University Campus (Campo Universitário)(Estação de Comboios)
Since 1973, Aveiro has hosted one of the most dynamic and innovative Portuguese universities. Situated between the salt flats and the center, the University of Aveiro brought a new dynamic to the city, enlivening the cultural life and contributing to the urban development with the creation of new spaces. Built as if it were a small city, the University Campus of Aveiro was designed by some of the most prominent contemporary Portuguese architects.
Free Bicycles (BUGAS)
Just like in Paris or Amsterdam, sightseeing in Aveiro can be healthy, eco-friendly and economical, as well as guaranteed fun. All you need to do this is a BUGA, the free use bicycle of Aveiro, made available by the municipality. Walk through the city, its heritage and history or be enchanted by the meandering Ria, on a fun ride on two wheels … at zero cost!
Fish Market (Mercado do Peixe)
It’s a delicious market. Since 1910 it is in the Bairro da Beira Mar! In addition to the fish, more than fresh, you always have the option to go up to the restaurant on the first floor and then just choose. Fish, of course!
Sweet Eggs (Ovos Moles)
Visiting Aveiro and not taste the sweet eggs (ovos moles) is a sin. This typical regional sweet, inherited from the traditions of the women’s convents, takes shape with the indulgent mixture of eggs and sugar, made with the knowledge of tradition. After the communities of nuns were extinguished, the recipe of this divine sweetness passed from generation to generation, keeping alive to this day. Let this sweet temptation take over your taste buds and feel yourself in heaven.
The Moliceiros who are now seen tearing the waters of the river (Ria) were not always tourist boats. In the middle of the nineteenth century they were harvesting the “moliço”, the sludge that existed in the river (Ria), which, after being spread out in eiras to dry in the sun, served as fertilizer for the sandy lands of the region’s farmers. But the progressive substitution of moliço by chemical fertilizers made the activity decline throughout the twentieth century.
Salt Water River (Ria de Aveiro)
The river (Ria) conquered Aveiro becoming its heart. It is what identifies the city giving it light and life, and permanently marked the local traditions. In Aveiro everything lives around these 47 kilometers of water arranged parallel to the sea. It is the Ria, a silver mirror that reflects the color of Moliceiro boats and Art Nouveau houses, which makes seductive and unique the charm of Aveiro.
Salt Production (Salinas)
Salt production has always played an important role in the economy of the Aveiro region. What used to be a thriving economic activity has been somewhat diminishing in recent years. Only a few “salinas” remained. At the Troncalhada Eco-Museum, you can learn a lot about the salt extraction process.