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Barra Beach


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A Day on the Beach

Translated by Hannah Mactear — 2 years ago

Original text by Inês Melo

What can you do on a hot day during your holidays? That's right, there's nothing better than a trip to the beach.

I'm going to talk about an excellent beach that belongs to my list of favourite beaches, Barra Beach!

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I tend to go to Barra Beach because it's in Aveiro (the city where I live), however, every time I go there I get more and more eager to go back again and again, and you'll soon see why.

In Aveiro there are two big beaches, Barra Beach and Costa Nova Beach.

These two beaches differ in that the Costa Nova beach is a little bit further than Barra Beach (for those who come from the centre of Aveiro), and beyond this the Costa Nova Beach has a few more bugs that can be a nuisance.

For example, a friend of mine has only ever been to the Costa Nova Beach once, when a fish stung his foot. He then had the annoyance of having to cut short his trip to the beach, on top of the pain in his foot.

Barra beach is cleaner in this respect than the Costa Nova Beach, which just has the standard things you find at the beach, shells, rocks and the odd bit of rubbish left by a bather (which, luckily, happens rarely).

The only advantage of the Costa Nova Beach is the beautiful houses surrounding the beach, which are the typical houses of Aveiro, small, striped and colourful. It's worth going to the Costa Nova Beach just to see these beauties.

As always, I'm going to divide this blog by topics so that I can describe the beach more easily.

Travel

There is easy access to Barra Beach, on top of it being close to the centre of Aveiro (around 10 minutes by car), the road is in excellent condition, since it is a continuation of the motorway. The worst thing is the Tolls which you receive on the way, and I think that they shouldn't reach 0, 30€ per trip, but which begin to add up if you make several trips.

However, there are also alternatives for those who don't want to take the car. It's also possible to go by bus and even by bike!

It's true, on the road from the centre of Aveiro to Barra Beach there is a cycle path, which, despite being beside the motorway, is quite safe. Going by bike is the best way to get to Barra, not only because you neither pay Tolls nor waste fuel, but also because you burn calories all the way to the beach! I have to confess that I've never gone there by bike, but I imagine that it would take 45 minutes to get there from the centre of Aveiro. Although I haven't gone by bike, I have gone by car and by bus.

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Going by coach is also an excellent option. It's very easy to go by bus to Barra Beach, there are many coaches with many timetables, quite a few frequent trips and good timings, which means for exemple that you go early in the morning and come back at the end of the day, or for those who are more adventurous, you could also come back at night! I don't remember the exact prices, but the price of each trip must be about around 2€. As for bus stops, there are frequent stops along the city's main street, and the last stop is Aveiro station. One the other side, the side of Barra Beach, there are two or three stops, all of which are very close to the beach, which is good for lazy people and also for those who don't like to walk a lot. Moreover, if you are bringing heavy stuff you don't need to worry, because the last bus stop is by a small wooden walkway that goes directly to the beach and passes through a large part of it.

Everything that makes Barra Beach a great place

The Weather

Just to let you know, the weather in Aveiro is rather unstable. One moment it can be a beautiful sunny day, when suddenly clouds appear and it starts to rain. As Barra Beach is part of Aveiro, it also shares this weather instability of the city. However, and very luckily, this happens very rarely in summer. So if it's sunny and you want to go to the beach don't stay at home worrying that it might rain, because that might not happen. But watch out that the opposite doesn't happen. One moment it can be raining, the next it's sunny, warm, and a great day to be at the beach. But, as I said, this doesn't happen very frequently in summer.

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So the weather on Barra beach tends to be good, sunny, hot, but sometimes also windy. Sometimes the wind is a blessing because on very hot days it feels nice to have a breeze to cool you down, but on the other hand, on colder days, it can be a bit too cold. So the weather in Praia da Barra is not always good, as in most beaches, but when it is hot, it is hot for a good period fo time and rarely gets too hot. The same is true on days when it is not as hot... it's not too cold so it's pleasant on the beach.

The Sand

The beach is made up of fine or medium grains of sand. The sand is soft and great for spreading your towel out on for some lovely sunbathing. Closer to the waves there are more solid objects, mostly shells and whelks etc. That is, sediments from the sea that are close to the water, as is usual on beaches.

Warning

However, for those who likes to take long walks beside the sea, you must pay attention to where you put your feet, because you run the risk of stepping on a shell or something even sharper.

This also has positive aspects, because children love to play in this area because of the shells.

The Water

The water at Barra Beach doesn't have it's own central heating system, so it isn't particularly warm. However, I also think that the water isn't actually that cold, it's temperature is typical of beaches in this zone, which isn't hot, but also isn't cold, yet it is the type of water that you never want to leave once you've gone in. On hot days it's better to be in the water than out.

For those who are more sporty, you can do many sports like Surfing and BodyBoarding. The waves aren't generally very high, but you can still practice several sports.

I. S. N

In addition, Barra Beach is a protected beach, which means that there are always several lifeguards along the entire beach all day. Obviously, this makes a beach much safer and so you can be more at ease in the sea, regarding the risks you run, since the sea is always the sea.

Regarding the flag that signal the sea conditions, rarely a red flag, that's the say, it's almost always possible to go swimming since the flag is normally green or yellow. One of the very few times I saw a red flag on Barra Beach was a very hot day when suddenly a giant fog appeared from the sea within minutes, the flag soon changed from green to red. Just an anecdote to show what can happen there.

So don't worry see the flag as an obstacle, since it's usually green or yellow, luckily!

So I've shown you the conditions to make a great day on Barra Beach. However there is still something missing that makes your day excellent.

Barra isn't just a beach

It's clear that the objective of going to the beach is to sunbathe and dive into the waves. However, what can you do just after eating, for example? Of course, you can read, listen to music, play cards with your friends, like in any beach... but, on Barra Beach you can wander along the wooden walkway that runs along a large part of the beach. Near to the centre of the beach there is an enormous wall. The wall is about 500 metre long and is a great place to walk. The wall enters the sea and there is a light on the end to alert boats that it's there. The wall is wide, so you can walk on it with a bike or with pets. It's a great place and I would recommend it, especially for those who like to take nice photos like me.

Just opposite the wall there is, in my opinion, the most beautiful thing on Barra Beach, Barra Lighthouse.

Barra Lighthouse (or Aveiro Lighthouse) is about 60 metres high, , currently the second highest building of the Iberian Peninsula. With red and white stripes, Barra Lighthouse was fundamental for sailors for many years, and it is still used today!

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And did you know? You can even climb up it! I confess I've never done, but it's something I really want to do. A friend of mine has gone up it, so I know that it is possible to see the light at the top. However, if you have the opportunity to go up, be prepared, because I have heard that it has more stairs than you would expect... and it's very expensive. If you have the chance, do not hesitate to go up! It must be fantastic to have that view of the beach and of the city of Aveiro, since from above we can observe almost the whole city, as far as I know.

The Lighthouse itself is made from annexed infrastructures at it's base, although unfortunately I've never had the chance to see it.

Where to Eat and / or Drink

There are terraced cafés on the seafront, bars and pizzeriasif you are hungry or don't want to bring anything from home, there is a fantastic ice cream parlor called Gelataria Milano. It also has a great atmosphere, is well located (near the beach and near the lighthouse) and best of all, it has great ice cream!

In addition there are supermarkets in the surrounding area so if you've forgotten something you can pop over and buy it.

Go in the morning or in the afternoon?

Well, this is a good question. As the beach bar is quite near the centre of Aveiro, it is quite common to "take a quick dip" in the sea, so the tendance is to go in the afternoon. However Barra Beach is a great place to go in the morning and stay on for the afternoon!

One of the times I went in the morning, was the best day of all. Beach days are much better if you start in the morning. Ideally, prepare something to eat at home in the morning before you go.

My boyfriend Miguel, two friends and I decided to have a picnic at Barra Beach, we all took something to eat. We wanted quick and easy food, so we made hot-dog and after someone had sweets and cakes which typical of the region, juice and even strawberries with whipped cream for dessert!

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We left the house in the morning, went by bus and arrived at Barra Beach still in the morning. One of the benefits of going in the morning is space. For those who like to play football or rugby on the beach, in the morning there is plenty of space to make the field and play without getting close to other people. It is much easier to arrange this space in the morning than in the afternoon. In the afternoon you should also have enough space, but it will never be as comfortable and the ball too could possibly annoy some people if you are not careful.

Advice!

Apply sunscreen in the morning and reapply during the day to avoid getting sunburnt. If by chance you are walking on the wall you should also be careful with the sun, as when you reach the end you are quite far from the beach, so make sure you put on enough sunscreen, or that you bring some with you.

We came back right at the end of the day (also by bus, around 19:00) and we all agreed that the day was much better taken advantage of than when we went in the afternoon.

I am giving prominence to going to the beach in the morning or afternoon but don't forget that you can also go at night!

The Beach at Night

I have had the chance to go to Barra Beach at night, and it seems a completely different place. As there are several bars and cafés in the vicinity of the beach, it is normal that there are more people in the bars at night. The beach is completely transformed and is a very quiet place. Also it is fantastic to see the Barra Lighthouse at night. The Lighthouse must have about 5 or 6 lights, which makes it create several beams of light visible over a long distance (sometimes it is even possible to see these lights from the centre of the city of Aveiro). However it is forbidden to visit the wall at night because it is dangerous with the waves and everything else. Also I advise that if you go to the beach at night do not go alone, there is no lighting and so it is quite dark.

All in all, I strongly recommend that you visit Barra Beach, it is a great place that I never regret visiting. It is great not only to go swimming and sunbathing but also to visit new places, any time.

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