The best things to do in Porto will always have to do with touring the majesty of the most important city in northern Portugal. As well as extending the tours to nearby communities that are equally characterized by their beauty. Just as it happens with Braga, the Douro River Valley or in this case, the coastal city of Aveiro.
I invite you to continue reading this informative compilation that I have researched for you so that you have a clearer and more concise idea about the guided tours that take you to Aveiro from Porto and the benefits associated with these small tourist trips. Remember that the best way to make the right decision is to understand exactly what you are investing your money and time in.
1. Half day tour to Aveiro and Costa Nova and cruise in Moliceiro
The best way to get to this place if you are visiting Porto and feel like getting out of the city to explore new horizons is to book a tour that includes the city of Costa Nova and Aveiro itself in one itinerary that is paid for in one price.
This planned tour offers you several convenient details and one of them is the pick-up at the door of your hotel or accommodation in the coach or minibus that is available for the trip. This means that you will share the tour with a small number of people and this is ideal if you prefer to experience this type of event in a more familiar and intimate atmosphere.
At the same time, there is the fact that between Aveiro and Porto there are only about 76 km of distance and in less than 1 hour you will be getting off the vehicle to start walking the streets of this city that is founded since the time of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. As you will travel with a guide on board the minibus you will have the opportunity to hear all kinds of stories about the past of northern Portugal and specifically about the city you will visit.
When you are already walking through the streets of Aveiro the guide will continue telling you details about the particular architectural style of the city and the next thing that will happen is that you will embark on a Moliceiro. This is a kind of boat very similar to the Venetian gondolas and being on it, you will have a tour of the canals of the city and also the lagoon that borders the coast of Aveiro.
Eventually, you will get off the Moliceiro and head to the other end of the Ria de Aveiro to start touring the Praia de Costa Nova. Keep in mind that this tour is offered in English and that means that your tour guide will always be at your disposal to solve any doubts about the itinerary or about the history of the sites you are getting to know.
Details of interest:
- Price: a tour like this usually costs about 45 euros per adult and about 24 or 25 euros for children between 12 and 4 years of age. Children are usually free and there are child seats available if you wish.
- Duration: this tour usually takes about 4 to 5 hours in total, but keep in mind that 1 hour and a half of that time is for the transfer to and from Porto.
- Means of transport: it is almost always a minibus or a coach with a maximum capacity of 25 passengers. These are modern vehicles, with internal air conditioning, which usually include charging ports for your electronic devices and wifi on board. This is because they are basic quality standards for the best excursions and day trips from Porto.
- Advantages: this activity does not take up the whole of your day and still offers you the opportunity to get to know other corners of northern Portugal in a relatively short trip. It is therefore one of those excellent things to see and do in Porto during a 4-day trip.
2. Day Trip to Aveiro and Coimbra from Porto
There is another alternative to get on a guided tour to Aveiro and it is those tours that in addition to visiting this beautiful coastal city also include a stop in Coimbra. Coimbra is known as the city of knowledge in Portugal, for being the place of the foundation of the oldest university in the country and one of the oldest in Europe.
The start of the itinerary is basically the same, as the coach chosen for the transfer also picks you up at your hotel or waits for you at a predetermined departure point. You will drive for approximately 45 minutes to the Ria de Aveiro, while also listening to the guide's stories and explanations in Spanish. However, when you arrive in Aveiro, the order of the visit is reversed compared to the other alternative.
In this version of the tour, you start at Praia de Costa Nova, then go to the center of Aveiro to see the streets and the cathedral of the city and eventually ride a Moliceiro.
The next step of the itinerary would be to have lunch in a typical Portuguese tavern, while you are still in Aveiro and when all your companions have finished you get back on the coach heading south. This will eventually lead you to the city of Coimbra. There you will be for the rest of your afternoon touring the community that is known as the cradle of knowledge in Portugal.
Details of interest:
- Price: this itinerary is a bit more expensive than the previous alternative due to the fact that it includes two cities that are not so close to each other. The price is usually between 65 euros per adult and about 40 euros for children between 15 and 4 years old.
- Duration: this is a more extensive tour and on average usually lasts 9 hours or even 10. So you can expect a departure from Porto in the middle of the morning and a return in the early evening.
- Means of transport: these are coaches or minibuses that usually have a maximum capacity of 25 people. The comfort conditions are identical to those expected of the vehicles used in the first excursion I mentioned.
- Advantages: Coimbra is a destination worth visiting if you are in the north of Portugal. So if you have time to enjoy an excursion like this it is a good idea to take advantage of your trip to Aveiro by adding another destination to the itinerary.
What will I see on a trip to Aveiro?
In international tourism, the city of Aveiro is known as the Venice of Portugal. This is because it is a coastal city located in the fluvial formation that occurs with the mouth of 3 different rivers. Although actually the most important detail of its geography is the network of canals that form in the historic center of this small but important city. Which you will know through a Moliceiro ride.
This boat ride lasts about 45 minutes and therefore I advise you to buy some Ovos Moles, a typical sweet of the city, to taste them while you learn about the period in which the Moliceiros were used to collect seaweed from the Ria de Aveiro. This tour has nothing to envy to the Porto cruises and will actually be one of the best memories of this excursion.
You will also get to know the Costa Nova and it is a coastal town that is known for the beautiful dunes that are located in front of the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and for the agglomeration of wooden houses painted with brightly colored stripes. They are spread out in the section of the city that faces the Ria de Aveiro.
What's different about a trip to Aveiro with Coimbra on the itinerary?
During an approximately half-hour drive from Aveiro you will begin to hear about the history behind Coimbra, a city with a medieval Portuguese aesthetic. It stands out for being the cradle of the country's first monarchic dynasty and for having the first university in Portugal, founded in the 12th century.
When you arrive in this city you will walk through its narrow and steep streets, while learning about many of the buildings that have their origins in the time of the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, the university campus of the University of Coimbra is declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco for its historical importance and architectural particularity.
This is a good activity among the things to do in Porto in December, as it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the versions of winter meals that are prepared in both Aveiro and Coimbra. The church of Santa Cruz with the tomb of the first Portuguese king, the Joanina Library located in the university campus and the baroque cathedral of Coimbra, are some of the corners that you will know in the guided walk that you will have around the city.
The return to Porto will be a little longer due to the fact that 35 minutes are added to the 45 minutes trip that was given from Aveiro in the first excursion. But this is an excellent opportunity to rest from the trip and to be able to think about evening activities that are part of the plans to see and do in Porto with children.
How to book a trip to Aveiro from Porto?
There are two ways to book this kind of excursions that I have mentioned. The first one is online and it is definitely the most convenient of all. This is due to the fact that they are platforms that allow you to pay with your credit card, almost always have free cancellation and also offer fixed prices that even usually have discounts in low tourist seasons.
The next alternative you have at your disposal is to book in a tourist agency when you are already in Porto. But this is actually a very inconvenient plan for several reasons. One has to do with the price, since any service that is ordered immediately is much more expensive than one that is booked in advance.
The other reason has to do with the availability of the itinerary, as there is no guarantee that there will be enough seats for the number of people that will accompany you on the trip. That means you could miss out on the chance to travel with a guided tour to Aveiro from Porto during your entire visit to the city.
Duration of tours to Aveiro from Porto
Based on the two alternatives that I have presented to you, it can be stated that the average duration of a trip to Aveiro from Porto is about 5 to 6 hours.
This figure is a reference only for the excursions that go to Aveiro without including another destination in the route. Since going to Viseu or Figueira de Foz would double the duration of the tour, just as it happens in the tour that includes Coimbra as another destination of the trip.
I advise you to keep in mind this issue of the duration of the tours from Porto to Aveiro, as it is important that you have alternative plans in the city for your return. On a 10-hour tour you will arrive before sunset or early evening and on a 5-hour tour you will have half an afternoon and a full night to continue enjoying the largest city in the north of Portugal.
Tips for a trip to Aveiro from Porto
The first tip I can give you is to go with clothes that are quite comfortable, as you will go from the seats of a minibus to walking through the streets of a sunny city. Then you will sit in a rowing boat and also enter historical buildings and walk through the dunes of a coastal city.
That implies temperature changes all day long and with that you will constantly give up the comforts of the previous activity to replace them with the new ones.
I also advise you to bring sunscreen because Portugal is quite a sunny territory, even in winter. You should not forget the idea of buying some snacks in Porto due to the fact that you may get hungry on the way and it is not sure that you will have the possibility to have lunch in Aveiro, at least in the shorter itinerary of the first alternative mentioned above.
I also advise you to bring entertainment such as electronic devices or cards and portable board games if you are traveling with children. Because the journeys in the vehicle could become very boring for them depending on their habits and ages
Why is it advisable to take a trip to Aveiro from Porto?
Aveiro is one of those small cities in the north of Portugal that perfectly encapsulates the beauty of this region and offers a very faithful look to its visitors of the way of life that develops in this part of the country.
Its significant proximity to Porto also makes it a recommended destination, since it is a plan that can be perfectly combined with other urban activities in the city in the same day. Leaving these excursions for the morning or afternoon, while the rest of the day is still available to marvel at the most influential and beautiful port of Portugal's past.
Moreover, this can be a good escape from the city if you plan to spend a whole season there. Since it is no secret that every now and then it is an excellent idea to have a tourist visit to a quieter place to alternate with the movement and frenzy that characterizes large and crowded metropolises.
What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting Aveiro from Porto on my own?
If you wish, you can get to Aveiro by taking a train from Sao Bento station and it will take you about an hour to get there. This is a favorable option if you are interested in spending more time in this small port city or if you like train rides.
However, guided tours will always be your best alternative for the sake of tourist convenience. A guide tells you everything you need to know about the city you are visiting and the minibus driver takes care of everything related to the transfer to and from Porto.
So with a guided tour you only have to worry about enjoying the experience and the prices really couldn't be more favorable. Especially if you take into consideration that there are other activities such as the Moliceiro ride that are included in the price.