Aveiro: the Venice of Portugal

in Pinmapple2 months ago (edited)

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Heading out of Coimbra in our little rental car we made our way North to the city of Aveiro, a town known for its Nouveau style architecture, its canals, and its colorful gondola boats called Moliceiro's.

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The city is located in the Northern part of Portugal about a 45 minute drive from Porto in the North and Coimbra to the South.

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The city is quite large but has a small historic quarter that gives it a unique character unlike any other city that we saw in the country.

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To me everything there felt renovated and revamped in a way, like old facades covered in new plaster and paint.

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It felt a little like a resort town really - like the tourism dollars were really being put to work. You know the feeling - like money is in the air or something.

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In the center of the old town is a small square with a lot of shops and restaurants. It's not a large place to explore but the area is a good spot to grab lunch or dinner or afternoon ice cream or drinks.

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Ria de Aveiro


Aveiro is located on the edge of a salt water lagoon called the Ria de Aveiro. Historically the lagoon had an abundance of fish which made the city a very prosperous fisherman's village.

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Fisherman's Quarters

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The lagoon also contained several salt marshes that provided salt for the entire country of Portugal. Seaweed harvested from the area was used as fertilizer for agricultural crops.

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In the late 16th century a violent storm passed through the lagoon and closed it up. It was an event that proved disastrous for the city's economy.

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Fishing declined and salt could no longer be harvested and for the next few hundred years the population of Aveiro dwindled.

Another "Venice of"


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Over the last few years I've come to learn that first rule of travel and tourism marketing is that if a city has at least one canal in it then they will forever refer to themselves as the Venice of.

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Don't get me started on the cliché of cities comparing themselves to Venice. Every country has their own version of the famous city and they are always severely disappointing. The label always does a disservice to the destination because it sets expectations for visitors way too high. Places would be much better off if they avoided the label altogether and just highlighted their own attributes. But what do I know?

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Aveiro has three canals that connect to the Ria de Aveiro so naturally the city refers to itself as the Venice of Portugal. In this case it at least has gondolas (Moliceiro) so the comparison is just a tad bit closer than usual. They provide tours of the city for a very reasonable price. I think it was around 12-14€ for about 45 minutes when we were there. We didn't take them up on the offer though.

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The Moliceiro's are painted in bright colors, which makes them super lively and full of character. The paintings are flirtatious scenes that are pretty funny in my opinion.

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Most involve old men copping a feel or spying on woman bathing...
Wait... that actually sounds really bad in writing, much worse than it looks in person... I think...

Take a look at the photos and let me know your thoughts. Are the images humorus and fun or pervy and creepy?

A Church


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After touring around the canals and the old town we made our way back to our car along a different route than we had taken to get there.

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We passed by this little church and decided to check it out. It was still our first day in the country and we weren't "churched out" by this point.

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The church was small and modest and nothing too special really, but I took photos in there so I may as well share them.

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I liked the organ and the tile work on the walls.

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My Overall Takeaway


I thought that Aveiro was a nice city with its own unique feel about it but for me I wouldn't consider it a "must see" location. Other than the canal and Moliceiro tours I didn't think that there was really that much to do there. We spent maybe a little over an hour touring the city and I would be hard pressed to stretch that any further. If you took a 45 minute Moliceiro ride and ate lunch or dinner in the old town then you could maybe make half a day of it. Overall I personally feel like there are better places to see in the country so keep that in mind.

You might disagree so if you've been to Aveiro or plan on going in the future then let me know your thoughts on it in the comments.

Thats it for now. If you are interested in seeing more of our trip to Portugal than stay tuned, theres more to come. Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

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I thought the images were amusing in that old fashioned pervy way.

I have Portugal on my to visit list. I can't believe I have never been!

Haha yeah, that's kind of what I thought as well. When you try to describe them in writing they just sound wrong though lol

Haha! I was going to comment on those gondolas the other day and lost internet and just coming back.

The painted ladies surprised me, a little bit racy, a little colorful, playful but, wait! Where is that man's hand? I can just imagine! They were hilarious!

I hate when they claim to be the Venice of... anywhere!

The architecture is grand and the lines are beautiful.

Haha yeah, the paintings on the boats are all those things indeed.

I hate when they claim to be the Venice of...

Yeah, agreed. I wish places would just stick to highlighting their own positive attributes.

And when they don't have one worth crowing about?

Haha I want to say that every place has something but that's not exactly true. In that case I'd say that they should probably not focus on tourism and find another way to generate income in the city haha.

Its not true, I know that well enough. Ha! Another way to generate income? Get some of those women to work! :)

Get some of those women to work!

???

The ones depicted on the boats? 😆

YES!!!!! They will be raking it in! LOL

Hey @leaky20
Very quirky boats all around.
The town is quaint and charming indeed...I agree with what was mentioned below. It's like a mix of different countries and concepts.
Lovely photos:))

Yeah the boats were very quirky lol.
I liked the bright colors.
Definitely a mix of different places indeed.

Thanks. Glad you liked the photos 😊

Looks like quite a mixed bag, bit of Venice, bit of Amsterdam, bit of Portuguese tiles, and plenty of old European building. Not sure what to make of this place

Haha very true. It is a unique spot in that regard. I wish that places wouldn't compare themselves to Venice though. It's such a cliché.

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So beautiful place!! I had no idea that in Portugal you could find a place like that!

Yeah it was quite beautiful indeed. Thanks for the comment.

OMG! The architecture made me fall in love! It is so colorful and I love every tiny bit of details of everything! Thank you for sharing! Splendid shots!

Thanks I'm glad that you liked it. The Nouveau architecture is quite nice.

I did! And you're welcome :)

Wow!... A poem of lights and colours!.... It's a lovely place and you have done an excellent photographic work!.... Thank you for sharing!

Thanks! I glad you liked the photos 😁

Wonderful architecture 🤓

Yeah it was quite nice 😁

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Thanks for the support. I appreciate it 😁

This has got to be the best "Venice of.." that I've ever seen. We have a few here in the UK, but you can't imagine how unlike Venice they are lol.

Haha oh yeah. I've been to a few in France and its kind of ridiculous that they make the comparison. It's like, "just because you have a creek running through town does not make you Venice." I hate when places make the connection. It's just silly.
Aveiro does have similar boats though so its probably the closest comparison that I've seen so far as well. Lol.

The architecture of the church is really splendid. It looks like as if you are visiting back to the century old days.

Yeah it was a nice church. Quite small and modest but still nice.

this city is beautiful. I didn't know there was such a place in Portugal. Actually it is reminiscent of Venice, even the boats are similar

Yeah the city is quite beautiful in places.

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Hi @leaky20
It turns out that there is also a place similar to the atmosphere in Venice. They really take care of the beauty of all the buildings. It became an alternative choice for tourism there.
Some of the colors of the buildings really liven up the atmosphere there.

Your photos are so cool. Your photography skills are excellent.

Yeah they do take care of their buildings in the city. You're right about that.

Thanks for the comment 👍

what a wonderful place of colour, nicely captured, have a good week

Yes, it was very colorful for sure. Have a good week as well.

Awesome photos well done on the Portugal insights, very inspiring. I would settle there if I had a chance - though it would need to be by the sea.

Thanks. I'm glad you liked the photos. The town is fairly close to the sea so it could work for you lol.

That looks pretty awesome. I might check that place out in the winter.

Are you close to there or do you have a trip planned to Portugal this winter?

I will spend the second winter in a row there this year. Will be in Portugal from October until may next year.

Oh, nice! That's a good amount of time. It's a great country to spend the winter thats for sure. What was your favorite city or destination the previous trip?

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I love this place, is so amazing.

Have you been there yourself or do you like the photos?

I like the photos. Because, I can't travel there

I understand.
The nice thing about Hive is that we can all travel vicariously through others

Oh yeah. That is so cool. And thanks for share you work and this photos

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Looks so good! 👍👍👍