We did not travel far today. We visited two destinations, Costa Nova and Aveiro. Our stay for the night (one night) was at Aveiro. Both destinations were very scenic and unique in their own ways.
It was a 50 minute drive for 76 km from our “stay” in Vila Nova de Gaia (Porto) to Costa Nova. Along the highway about 10 km from Costa Nova, we saw an exit to Aveiro town which was where we would return after Costa Nova. It was another 10 minutes before we arrived at Costa Nova Beach. There was a huge public carpark and parking was free.
Costa Nova Beach was a strip of land with Aveiro Lagoon on one side and the Alantic Ocean on the other side. The most amazing sight was the row of stripe painted houses! Some were yellow stripes, some were blue, some red…etc etc. These colorful houses looked delightful again the bright blue sky.
This colorful houses were call “palheiros” of Costa Nova. Palheiros meant haystacks. When the fishermen of Ílhavo to move to Costa Nova settled in Costa Nova they built “palheiros” to store their fishing net and related equipment. Later the interiors of these “palheiros” were remodeled when the families of the fishermen shifted in. The “palheiros” were mainly painted in red, blue, green and yellow. It was believed that stripes of different colors helped the fishermen located their haystacks on foggy days or when they were drunk.
Delightful houses at Costa Nova beachIt was a nice delightful stretch of walk. These colorful stripes “palheiros” were now shops, restaurants, cafes, local accommodation, etc etc.. It certainly made Costa Nova a very unique place.
It was a weekday and surprisingly there were a number of visitors at the beach. When we were done with our walking we went back to look for a nice place for coffee break. We sat down at the outdoor area of Rimini cafe and had ice-cream and then cafe latte. It was luxuriously to be out at a beach enjoying the sun, ice cream, coffee and the breeze.
We left Cafe Rimni after a long relaxing break and on our way out of Costa Nova beach we stopped by the center part of Aveiro Lagoon. There we saw several people “walking” on water. Wow the bay was so shallow, we wondered what were the fishermen “fishing”.
We moved on to the dunes of Costa Nova, “Barra Aveiro Beach”. There were several wooden paths/bridges that led to the dunes, unfortunately it was difficult to find parking places anywhere near them as all the parking spaces were filled . We parked our car slightly further away and walked to the dunes.
It was a quiet day at the dunes, the waves were gentle and the breeze was nice, there were some swimmers in the water and couple of water paragliders. The beach was very long, luckily there was a long wooden path that ran parallel to the beach line and it made walking so much easier.
From Costa Nova to Aveiro was a 10 minute drive. We drove to our “stay” and parked free practically right outside our “stay” by the street. After a short rest we walked out to the “Grand Canal” of Aveiro!
It was a one minute walk from our stay to the “Grand Canal” of Aveiro. Almost immediately we saw the dock where visitors boarded the boats. We did not bother to take the boat tour as the weather was too hot and a walk by the canal looked more interesting.
Many tourists were queuing by the dock side under the hot sun, waiting to board a brightly painted “moliceiro boat”. The boat ride cost €10 per adult and was for probably 45 minutes ride. There were walkway on both sides of the canal so planned to walk down the canal on one side and return on the other. Soon we saw a building that seemed to be sitting in the canal, it was the Assembleia Municipal de Aveiro (Town Hall).
Near the town hall was a huge modern shopping center. We detoured from our “canal-side-walking” into the shopping center. There were shops, cafes and restaurants and for a second time of the day we had a coffee break. The shopping center had a roof garden so we went up to explore hoping to catch a view of the “Grand Canal” from a high vantage point. Unfortunately on the roof garden there was no opening to view out to the canal.
Thirty minutes later we were back to continue our “canal-side-walk”. It was fun seeing the colorful boats floating by. Along the canal were several pedestrian bridges to facilate crossing. The canal ended in a large rectangular cul-de-sac by a Tile/brick factory.
In the 19th century these Moliceiros boat were used in seaweek harvesting. The seaweed consisted of sludge. that collected at the bottom of the river, were dried and used as fertilizer by the farmers in the area. This form of fertilizers went out of use with the arrival of chemical fertilizer. These days the boats were built for the purposes of ferrying tourists on the “Grand Canal” of Aveiro.
Aveiro Canal was much shorter than we had expected. It did not take us long to return to the dock side where we started our walk. It was just 1 km from the dock side to the cul-de-sac end. It was too early to go back to our stay so we took another walking route that went by Jardim do Rosso (garden) and did a loop.
On the way we passed a very architecturally impressive building. It was Museu Arte Nova of Aveiro that resided in Casa Major Pessoa, one of the most architecturally admired building in the city. The exterior had stone farcade with extraordinary art nouveau detail and wrought iron embellishments. This building had an eagle right at its apex.
Soon our walk took us to the canal that ran parallel to the highway. The canal had row of short houses facing the west. Initially we did not think much of this row of shop houses until the sun began to set and front side of the houses began to glow!
We followed the canal and turned right into a short channel which should be in the direction back to our stay. By the channel was a row of colourful low buildings which were mainly cafes and restaurants and surprising all of them were packed with visitor. It seemed that this was a popular place for viewing sunset in Aveiro. Coffee and sunset.
From the channel to our “stay” was a shortcut that went through an alley full of restaurants. Unfortunately it was too early and they were not serving dinner till an hours later. So we left and went back to the dock side again. By now the time was about 8.30 pm and all boat cruise had ended and many boats were anchored along the dock side.
With the tourists gone Aveiro turned into a very quiet town. Luckily some cafe were still opened for business and we went into one for another round of cafe latte. Today was the day we broke our record on the number of coffee break we had in a day. Lucky for us coffee was inexpensive in Portugal!
On our way back to our stay we we passed the town hall again. It was lighted dimly, how sad! We were hoping that it would be spectacular lighted up like those we saw in some pictures of this town hall.
We booked our stay in Aveiro at booking.com and the place was called “Aveiro 5 Estrelas“. It was a studio apartment with kitchen. The cost was €58 per night. We knew before hand that there would be street parking near our studio apartment but did not expect to get a space practically just 20 steps away.
It was self-checkin into this “stay”. We unlocked the main door (green) of Number 40 using the code emailed to us. The door opened into a white corridor and our unit was on the ground level at the end of the corridor. There was a stairs going up, so we knew that there were more units on the upper level.
The studio apartment was lovely. It was beautifully furnished. It had a full kitchen with utensils, crockery, coffee maker, oven, induction stove and spices for cooking. The end of the room opened out to a beautiful outdoor sitting area.
Our outdoor sitting area was an enclosed back porch and our host had place a white color shade over the entire porch to block out the sun. The far wall of the back porch was a full wall picture of a very scenic coast.
We cooked two meals at our stay. A breakfast of eggs and pasta in cheese-cream sauce with coffee and tea. For dinner we had pizza with bacon and mozzarella cheese, salad and cherry. We loved cheese so whenever our “stay” had an oven I would made my almond base cheesy pizza!
We loved our stay at Aveiro 5 Estrelas very much. The place was well furnished, cosy, clean and large. We liked the fully kitchen, the free street parking and most importantly its proximity to the canal!
Accommodations : Aviero