It is thanks to Nelson Carvalheiro that I discovered Aveiro, and learnt all about its beautiful network of canals, Art Nouveau buildings and wonderful sweet delicacies called Ovos Moles de Aveiro. As soon as I read Nelson’s post Aveiro was on my list, never envisaging we would be visiting only a few weeks later.
We were in Porto when I realised (thanks to numerous advertising boards) how close Aveiro was. There are numerous organised day trips from Porto, and I’m sure they are excellent but they do seem expensive. Aveiro is one of those places where you don’t really need a guidebook let alone a guide and it’s also very easy and cheap to get there by train. The organised trips do arrange boat rides and often a quick visit to Costa Nova, which are all great but if you enjoy exploring on foot and long lunches you’ll want more flexibility than an organised trip can offer. So we recommend catching the train, and making your own arrangements.
The obvious and shortest route from the railway station is along Avenida do Doutor Lourenço Peixinho, which is where you will find all the incredible Art Nouveau. It was a Monday though when we visited and consequently Jo’s Monday Walks were in my head and so we took a detour south to find the canal basin!
From here (Cais da Fonte Nova) we headed west and followed the canal into the centre of Aveiro. We could have hitched a ride on one of the many and colourful moliceiro boats. These boats were once powered by sails in the lagoon to harvest the moliço (sea grasses/seaweed), but are now are powered by engines and transport tourists around the ferry system. They are beautiful boats with wonderful paintings depicting their or their owners origins.
We were tempted to board one of them as they look so much fun and clearly at this end of the canal network were much quieter. However we decided a brief stop for coffee was needed first. And then after coffee (well green tea for me!) in the brand new shopping complex we opted to continue our ramble alongside canal do Cojo, canal Central, canal de São Roque and canal das Pirâmides.
We soon realised travelling by foot under constantly changing skies was enabling us to appreciate the beauty of the boats, Aveiro’s buildings and canal system far more than if we had been in one of the moliceiro. The canal walls are quite high in places and the moliceiro don’t explore every canal section. I acknowledge though they give excellent running commentaries and are reasonably priced. So again we were tempted . . . . .
However we were also feeling rather peckish! So instead of hopping aboard a moliceiro we returned to Cais dos Mercantéis y Cais dos Botirões. A rather beautiful quayside by the fish market with lots of places to eat and drink.
I suspect it is busy here in high season and at weekends but on a Monday in March it was peaceful and the restaurant was superb. After our incredibly long lunch it was time to explore the Canal dos Santos Mártires, a much narrower and quieter canal to the south east. From here we meandered our way back to Avenida do Doutor Lourenço Peixinho and onto the railway station. The Art Nouveau buildings are stunning as is the old station, but you’ll have to wait for those photographs as this was meant to be a short post for Six Word Saturday (oops 600 rather than 6 Debbie)!