History

A prosperous seaport in the early 16th century, Aveiro was battered by a ferocious storm in the 1570s that blocked the mouth of the Rio Vouga, closing it to ocean-going ships and creating fever-breeding marshes. Over the next two centuries, Aveiro’s population shrank by three-quarters. But in 1808 the Barra Canal forged a passage back to the sea, and within a century Aveiro was rich again, as evidenced by the spate of art nouveau houses that still define the town’s old centre. Salt harvested here was taken to Newfoundland to preserve cod that came back as bacalhau (dried salt-cod).