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Situated on the edge of an extensive coastal lagoon system, Aveiro (uh-vey-roo) is a prosperous town with a good-looking centre and a youthful, energetic buzz. It's occasionally dubbed the Venice of Portugal thanks to its small network of picturesque canals. But where the Italian city has gondolas, Aveiro has moliceiros – colourful boats traditionally used for seaweed-harvesting but now used for canal cruises.

There are several beaches within easy striking distance, and the nearby São Jacinto nature reserve provides walking and birdwatching – Aveiro’s name is possibly derived from the Latin aviarium (place of birds).

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Aveiro.