Born and raised in the coastal town of Aveiro, in Portugal, Miriam Augusto, between seashells and the sea breeze, started to explore the world at early age.
Later, this unconditional passion for travelling, collecting moments, memories, experiences, friendships, while trying to leave a positive impact wherever she was passing, lead her to open an Adventure Travel Agency, where sustainability it’s the main core – The Wanderlust.
Nowadays, she spends her time between Portugal and the World. Backpacking, she likes to get lost and wander through countries with a culture and civilizations completely different from hers. You can follow her adventures on the blog Salty Soul Journeys and who knows if you don’t turn into a #saltywanderer!?
Aveiro, skipped most of the times by the travelers, is an unexpected delight. Known as the Portuguese Venice, due to its canals winding through the city, looped over by footbridges and adorned by colourful moliceiros – the traditional boats, is the perfect place to take a break, and where you can easily visit the main attractions in the city by Buga – the city’s bicycle.
Inhabited by Cagareus on the seaside and Ceboleiros1 inland, besides its several attractions, here are 5 things that make this city so special.
Its traditional party – São Gonçalinho
São Gonçalinho is a seaside neighborhood party that moves all the region. Taking place every year on 10th of January, the party can last for 5 days with all the city celebrating.
During the days of celebration, promises are paid to São Gonçalinho – the holy matchmaker – by the pilgrims, throwing kilos of cavacas from the top of the chapel, while on the street the crowd tries to catch them. The cavacas are sweet and covered with sugar, which can be of two types: round and relatively soft (to be eaten), or elongated and very hard (to be thrown from the top of the chapel).
As a good Portuguese party, it has to have a traditional beverage. Licor de Alguidar, is an alcoholic beverage traditionally made with mint flavour. During these days, the revelers drink it directly from the cavacas while attend to the several events provided by the party.
The local cuisine
Aveiro also has an incredible gastronomy with a vast option in what concerns salty and sweet dishes.
If you’re a seafood lover, this is the place! Actually, Aveiro developed historically due to its traditional fishing fleet and proximity to the ocean, which influenced the region’s cuisine. Right in the centre of the town, there’s a fish market, dating back to late 18th century, where you can buy fresh fish daily. Caldeirada de enguias (Eal steamer) is one of the most remarkable dishes that you can taste.
Ovos moles (Sweet eggs), in what concerns sweets, are the most famous of all. A traditional delicacy made of…eggs and sugar! What makes this sweet particularly original is the way it looks – inside wooden barrels, painted with local motifs, or in shapes inspired in the sea, filled with this sweet. Following sweet eggs there’s Tripa de Aveiro, a kind of uncooked dough filled with sweet.
Ria de Aveiro and the surrounding buildings
Distinguished as the city-museum of Art Nouveau in Portugal, Aveiro is a member of the “Réseau Art Noveau Network”, along with Barcelona, Brussels, Budapest, Glasgow, Helsinki or Havana. The best way to admire these enchanting buildings dating from the 20th century and also understand Aveiro and its people is doing a boat tour through the city canals by moliceiro – the boat once used to pick up the moliço. It would give you a different perspective of the built and natural heritage with an absolutely stunning view. If you have the chance, do it while the sun goes down to have a golden and magic perspective of the façades.
The salt-pans and its natural spa
The salt-pans are part of the history and typical landscape of Aveiro. The Troncalhada, an eco-musem located in one of the canals, is one of the places where you can watch the salt workers – marnotos – scraping the crystalized salt with their traditional tools, gathering it into a small pail and adding it to a large mound resemble pyramids glistening in the bright sun. While they work, you can spoil yourself in the salty pool and the salty Spa, taking advantage of their therapeutic properties of high salt concentration. An experience that for sure you won’t forget!
The beaches of Barra and Costa Nova
Costa Nova and Barra, embraced by the Ria de Aveiro and the Atlantic Ocean, are the nearest beaches from the city and that you can easily access by bus.
A delight for water sports lovers, that can practice all year-round both have, however, its own highlight and a reason for you to wander around. In Costa Nova, it’s hard not to feel enchanted by its traditional colourful striped houses, built in time by fishermen in order to keep the fishing nets and other fishing material. In Barra, you can climb the tallest lighthouse of the country and of Iberian Peninsula, dating from 1893, time when it was concluded, with 62 meters high and 66 meters above the sea level with its red and yellowish stripes. From its top, I can assure you that you’ll have one of the best coastal panoramic scenery in the country.