Aviero, the Venice of Portugal

Our whistle coffee stop from Porto to Lisbon took us into Aviero.

Aveiro is referred to as the ‘Portuguese Venice’ thanks to its canals, the bridges over the canals and the painted colourful moliceiros, which is the towns take on the gondolas of Venice. But although the city centre has canals and pretty boats, the similarities end there. It is certainly attractive. The lagoons of Ria de Aveiro have been a major salt-producing centre for centuries and this is evident from the flat coastal landscape and salt pans which abound around the town.

My research shows that the original usage of the moliceiro was to transfer the harvest of seaweed, which was the main source of fertilizing the farmland of Aveiro. These days, they are mostly used for boat rides along the canals. The moliceiros are known for their bold colours and decorations.

If you are a fan of Art Nouveau movement, you should visit Aveiro. Walking in the streets, especially alongside the river reveals many buildings with this style. These are elegant structures. The usage of exposed iron and large, irregularly shaped pieces of glass for buildings is fairly common.

Aveiro’s pavements are far from boring. Here, the black and white cobbles (calcada portuguesa) take on many motifs, swirly circular patterns and geometric forms. It adds a visual interest to simple paths, squares and cobble-stoned roads.

Aviero was a surprise to us. It is certainly a town that deserves more time to be devoted to it, learning about its history and walking the quiet streets, observing daily life.

Leave a Reply