Because of the way that our flights worked out and our villa rental being only for a week, we ended up with extra days in Portugal for us to do something beyond the Algarve. We went back and forth. First we had talked about Sintra but heard there wasn’t more than a day trip there, then we talked about driving to Spain but where we wanted to go (Sevilla or Cadiz) put us too far from the Lisbon airport and we didn’t want to have to drive for hours the day of our flight. And so after a bit of research, we settled on Aveiro. It’s a coastal canal town located about 2 1/2 hours north of Lisbon.
This meant that on the day we left the Algarve, we had about a 5 hour drive which is more than we normally would like, but as it was a scenic drive and we were in no rush, this worked for us. We drove through mountains, along many farms with goats and cows, cork trees (yes, cork comes from trees!), nests of pelicans and so much more, eventually making our way to Aveiro by mid afternoon.
Aveiro is most definitely a small city, though by Portuguese standards, it’s on the larger side. It was our understanding that Aveiro is a “canal city”, so we expected there to be more than 2 canals. That was about it. However, the sky was a beautiful blue and with many of the homes in the old town covered in beautiful tiles, everything sparkled. Palm trees, blue skies, the water and tiles made for a beautiful background.
We wandered the city and ate some ovos moles which the area is famous for. They were tasty but a bit too sugary, even for me (which is surprising)! We took a canal cruise one day and were surprised how little you could see in a 45 minute boat ride – it was pretty but not much to write home about (and yet, here I am, writing home).
But beyond looking at the beautiful homes and walking along the canals, there just wasn’t much there for us to do, at least that we could find. There was no aquarium for the kids or even a zoo – just something beyond walking around. In looking for things to do, we actually went to the movies one evening to see Captain America: Civil War – side note on this, in theaters here they actually take an intermission for people to use the restrooms and get more snacks. We were quite surprised to be in the middle of an action scene when all of a sudden the lights went on! Even at the movies, there are cultural things to experience!
Our plan was to spend 4 nights in Aveiro, but by day 2 we were running out of things to do. In fact, we actually left the city to head to Porto for Liam’s birthday because we couldn’t find anything special to do with him. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, we just didn’t find anything and TripAdvisor wasn’t much more help in suggestions.
In summary, Aveiro is a good day (maybe 2) trip to see a small, pretty city, but save your time for somewhere else. We were a bit disappointed, especially after having such a great time in the Algarve. Thankfully, we are pretty good on the fly and we ended up changing our plans and headed to Sintra instead of staying the extra time in Aveiro – more on that next!
Knuffels en kussen,