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Aveiro - the small Portuguese Venice


Aveiro city, known as the "Portuguese Venice", is a city in the center of Portugal on the coast. Not a very large city, but it has been gaining much importance over the years, especially due to the Aveiro University.

Climate

Aveiro has a rather mild weather, the average annual temperature being around 15°C. The coldest months are December, January and February, when the temperature is around the 10°C, and the warmest are June, July and August when the temperature often rises above 30°C.

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Transportation

To get to the city, the best option would be to take the plane to Porto airport (International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro, 45 minutes from the city) and then the bus or train (CP - http://www.cp.pt/) to Aveiro. The train station in Aveiro (the building covered with tiles) is close to the center and has good and fast connections to Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra.

In the city, the transport company is "Moveaveiro" (http://www.moveaveiro.pt/). It's got nice conditions and plenty of lines, but when it rains, the buses tend to arrive late! The tickets for the bus cost 1, 60€. You can also rent a BUGA ("Bicicleta de Utilização Gratuita de Aveiro", a free-to-use bike in Aveiro) in the several spots spread around the city. You just need to put a 2€ coin to rent it for the whole day, and they'll give you back the coin when you have finished using the bike. It's an awesome idea!

Prices

A cup of coffee costs around 0, 60€, beer during the day can cost up to 1, 20€ but at night the bars usually have promotions. As for the food, it's worth eating the "daily meals/dish of the day", that usually cost about 5€. In the University's canteen, lunch costs about 2, 15€.

Shopping

Most people go shopping at Fórum Aveiro (http://www.forumaveiro.com/) or to Glicínias Shopping (http://www.glicinias.pt/).

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Food

The main dishes of the area are: "Caldeirada de Enguias" (Eel stew), "Vitela assada" (roast veal), "Leitão à Bairrada" (very typical food in the Aveiro district that I highly recommend! ). In terms of sweets, try the "Ovos Moles" and the sweets derived from them ("Castanhas de Ovos", "Fios de Ovos", "Lampreia de Ovos", etc. ). Some come in wooden containers decorated with paintings representing the region... simply delicious.

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What to visit:

  • Mosteiro de Jesus (15th century) - the Aveiro Museum is also here;
  • Sé Catedral de Aveiro (Igreja de São Domingos);
  • Igreja da Misericórdia de Aveiro;
  • The house where Eça de Queirós lived when he was in Aveiro and the tavern he used to go to;
  • Museu da Arte Nova - it's located in the old "Major Pessoa" house, the main example of "arte nova" in the city (art Nouveau) which keeps all of its original characteristics;
  • Aveiro University is equally beautiful, has excellent conditions, and it is quite the pleasant view for those who like contemporary architecture;
  • Eco-Museum - this museum allows one to get to know more about the "salinas" (salt pans) and the techniques used to get the salt, a major element for the whole region's development;
  • Casa Museu Egaz Moniz (Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1949);
  • The "Moliceiros'" shipyards (you can visit the building workshops of handmade "moliceiros" and "saleiros");
  • The "Barra" lighthouse - the tallest in Portugal, second tallest in Europe and third tallest in the world!
  • Ria de Aveiro - It's over 45km long, and in the central canal that goes through the city you can see the classic "Moliceiros" (typical and unique boats decorated with traditional decorative panels of the region);
  • Bairro à Beira Mar - a typical neighborhood recently restored where you can see the classic fishermen houses, with the "salinas" as the background set.

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To get to know the city better, it should prove interesting to take Moliceiro boat rides through the canals (for 5€ - see http://www.ecoria.pt) or maybe take the usual touristic panoramic bus ride (5€).

Beaches

São Jacinto beach - this amazing beach is located at the nature reserve of the São Jacinto dunes. Golden, thin sand and clear water... paradise on Earth.

Night

The bars where all students usually go to (until about 2 a. m) can all be found at "Praça do Peixe" (where fish is sold during the day). The bar "KGB", for example, is always packed on academic nights (every Thursday). "Bucha e Estica" has great promotions on "minis" (small beers), "Ómega" has nice couches and a nice dance floor. I also recommend "Café da Praça" to have a nice coffee accompanied by nice music, sometimes live music, and "Casa Pina" is where every Erasmus goes to taste some "bagaço". The Bar do Estudante or B. E (Student's Bar) is also a good and a cheap place to go, where a small beer costs 0, 50€.

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When bars get to closing time, people usually go to "Club 8" (which has discounts for students on Thursdays). There is also "Estação da Luz" but to this one, besides being more expensive and far away (so much that you need a car to take you there), you can only get in in pairs and they have a strict dress code.

Obviously you should avoid walking around town alone, especially into dark alleys such as the ones near "Praça do Peixe", and also around "Bairro de Santiago", "Parque da Macaca", and some streets close to "Convívio".

Well, be sure to enjoy your stay in this charming "small Venice"!


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