Our three-day visit to Porto started off with a lot of rain. So when we saw there would be no change on the second day, we decided to change things up. We took the early train and went off in search of some sunshine. Luckily, we found it in the canal city of Aveiro.

woman in front of art nouveau museum in aveiro

Nicknamed the Portuguese Venice, Aveiro is famous for its canals and barcos moliceiros. These uniquely-shaped boats were used for collecting seaweed back in the day. Today, you can take a ride inside the moliceiros.

canal and moliceiros boats in aveiro

Personally, I thought Aveiro makes for an excellent day trip from Porto. It was warmer than in Porto but not too big for a short visit. It’s an extremely walkable city, as you follow along the canals and wander into the small streets.

What’s more, your first introduction to Aveiro is an impressive one. The old train station covered in beautiful blue azulejos is a genuine work of art. From afar it looks as if it’s depicting a scene, like a mural of sorts. There is a new railway station next to it but you’ll forget all about it when you see this one.

azulejos train station in aveiro

From then on, it’s a stream of enchanting facades. Run-down or grandiose, I loved them all equally. In all possible colors, with azulejos or without, the architecture of Aveiro has a lot of unique details.

Art Nouveau in Aveiro

One thing that might surprise you about a small city like Aveiro is the amount of Art Nouveau architecture. In the early 20th century, emigrants returning from Brazil wanted to express their new riches through this architectural style. Since it was the early days, the Aveiro style of Art Nouveau found its unique voice. However, while the facades were ornate, the interiors followed traditional construction.

The most famous building and one everyone will notice, is the Museum of Art Nouveau. With many decorative floral elements and a shade of turquoise blue, it’s a real eye-catcher. I have many favorite Art Nouveau buildings in Europe and this one definitely made the list. It’s such a perfect example of Art Nouveau that only Portugal does in its own original way.

art nouveau museum building in aveiro

On the other hand, the group of houses on Rua João Mendonça is like something out of a dream. Completely unique in their own way, they make for a picturesque photo. Seeing as we’re talking about Portugal, the famous azulejos got an Art Nouveau twist. They would depict motifs typical for the style, being both decorative and practical.

row of beautiful art nouveau houses in aveiro

Aside from that, you can also visit the Museum of Aveiro, situated inside a 15th-century convent. While in Aveiro, make sure to also take a stroll through the Infante D. Pedro Park. With grand staircases decorated in azulejo tiles, colorful houses, and pergolas, this park is one of Aveiro’s hidden gems.

infante d pedro park in aveiro

Like most Portuguese cities, Aveiro also has a local delicacy of its own. Ovos Moles is a pastry made of egg yolk and sugar, encased within a wafer. Often shaped as shells, it also comes in other forms and can be dipped in chocolate. If I’m being honest, it wasn’t my favorite thing despite my sweet tooth. But at least we discovered a cute pastry shop thanks to it. Confeitaria Peixinho looked like we had stepped onto the set of a Wes Anderson movie!

Ultimately, the best way to discover Aveiro in one day is to walk, walk, walk. Wander through all the streets and peek behind every corner. Notice the cobblestone streets covered in various maritime motifs because Aveiro is a port city. In a way, because a lot of the houses are rather short, Aveiro felt like a little model of a city. It’s just an adorable place hiding a lot of charming buildings!

All things considered, we were so happy about our day trip choice. Swapping rainy Porto for sunny Aveiro for one day was an excellent idea. We only regretted not being able to include the colorful Costa da Nova in our itinerary. But I suppose that’s just another reason to revisit in the future!

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