Aveiro is often compared with Amsterdam or Venice, despite having only three canals, but the many medieval features it has managed to preserve do make it very attractive. This is due in no small measure to the barcos moliceiros and a canal trip on one of these boats shows Aveiro at its most appealing. On such a trip visitors can see some magnificent Art Nouveau buildings and house fronts decorated with beautiful azulejos (particularly attractive are the tiles in the railroad station).
About halfway between Oporto and Coimbra, the old port and fishing town of Aveiro is attractively situated on the east side of the Ria de Aveiro, a lagoon 47km/29mi long and up to 7km/4.5mi wide, well stocked with fish, with many branches and windings which earn it the local name of the pólipo aquático…
The fine beach of São Jacinto lies close to woodland and the São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve, with well preserved dunes and varied fauna and flora.
Those who appreciate good food can taste the delicious eel stew and a variety of sea and lagoon fish soups. But Aveiro is specially known for its sweets: the most famous is ovos moles (soft eggs), sweetened egg yolk in candied casings shaped like fish or barrels.
Chief town of the district, Aveiro is the see of a bishop and one of Portugal’s main west coast ports. The people of Aveiro and the surrounding area live chiefly from the production of salt, obtained from the salt-pans on the shores of the Ria de Aveiro, the gathering of seaweed for use as a fertilizer, and the manufacture of porcelain and ceramics, an industry established here in the early 19th C. As well as being an attractive town, Aveiro has magnificent beaches in the vicinity and fine alluvial countryside along the Ria de Aveiro.