Tourist brochures say that Aveiro is the "Portuguese Venice". Local-patriots say that Venice is the Italian Aveiro. I like to say that Aveiro is, just like Venice is, completely unique and therefore shouldn't be compared to any other place. Recently, this picturesque city has become one of the most visited locations in Portugal. Part of its fame is due to the lovely canals and the lagoon - Ria of Aveiro. One of the ways to visit the canals is a boat ride in a moliceiro, but you can also walk, which I recommend.
The Central Canal is the main canal of the city. It goes through the very city center, connecting most of the spots importante for culture and leisure, like shops, restaurants, museums, etc. Walking by the Canal, you will find some breathtaking arte nouveau buildings and eventually arrive to Rossio, the famous square with a few palm trees, where the oldest neighbourhood of Aveiro, Beira Mar, starts. A stroll by this canal is an excellent introduction to Aveiro.
If you start going back, you will end up at the Canal do côjo. Before, this canal that ends as a small triangular lake, only served to connect the old factory with the rest of the city. Nowadays, the beautiful factory building is used as the Congress Center of Aveiro, and the surroundings offer some of the best views of the city. Here you can give food to dozens of friendly ducks and to some less friendly seagulls, have lunch in OlaRia restaurant inside the old Factory, play with frisbee, dance capoeira, or just have a picnic under the eucalyptus trees nearby. Once you are here, don't miss the most famous stairs of Aveiro.
Saint Roque's Canal (Canal de São Roque) represents the north-east border of Aveiro and it's located in the old fishermen's neighbourhood of Beira Mar. Here you will find the old salt storages, nowadays being used in different ways. There is an old and small but beautiful yellow bridge called Ponte de Carcavelos (also known as "The bridge of couples in Love") and a chapel of S. Gonçalinho nearby. Along the canal there is an open air gym and a jogging path. Also, you are at the right place to start your walk around the Passadiços de Aveiro.
Lastly, if you go towards the highway, you will end up at the Canal of Pyramids (Canal das Pirâmides). The canal was named after two pyramids that used to symbolise the entrance to the City. The pyramids, initially placed in 1780, were at some point relocated closer to the city. Right across the canal there's an interesting museum dedicated to the salt culture in Aveiro - Museu da Troncalhada. It's a perfect place if you are interested in getting to know more about the traditional salt production.
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