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Why The Venice Of Portugal Is Becoming The Country’s New Tourism Hotspot

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With a new record for visitors, one lesser-known city in one of Europe's trendiest countries is beginning to make a name for itself.

Not commonly mentioned in “things to do” or “places to see” when visiting Portugal, this pretty city has remained under the radar until now.

Central canal in Aveiro

Growing from just 30 listed accommodations a decade ago, the city has expanded exponentially to over 2500, growing into the newest tourism hotspot of Portugal.

Beyond the vast cultural cities and stunning coastlines lies another gem reminiscent of a European icon – Venice, Italy.

Nothing will beat this classic destination, but travelers are packing their bags to set off to the next best thing, which is the lovely city of Aveiro.

A Day Trip Or Main Stay?

happy tourist in aveiro portugal

There are many delightful destinations in Europe with scenic canals flowing through the city center. We all know Venice and Amsterdam, perhaps even Bruges, Belgium, but Aveiro is still climbing the popularity ladder.

While no one is able to fly directly into Aveiro, one common way for the record number of visitors in 2023 was to take a day trip from yet another record-breaking city – the stunning city of Porto.

It seems to be a common theme running in Portugal, and for good reason. The country has been gaining popularity over the years.

Especially since the digital nomad craze has taken the world by storm, which begs the question – is Aveiro just a day trip or is it better suited as your base?

street of umbrellas in aveiro portugal

This scenic city is home to roughly 80,000 residents, so it's relatively small compared to other major Portuguese cities.

But there are many small towns that are so idyllic and have such a vibe that they hold their own against the powerhouses. Aveiro being one of them.

Porto is less than an hour away driving-wise and even less by taking a cheap train. However you decide to explore Aveiro, there are more than enough accommodations available to keep you here as long as you see fit.

No Tourist Fees Or Global Warming Fiasco

boats on canal in aveiro

Say what you want about the political buzzwords of “global warming” or climate change”; the reality is Venice is on track to meet its demise one day, or at the very least become radically altered from what it is today.

We're not going to pretend to solve these problems, but what we do know is Aveiro is one of the best affordable alternatives.

As far as we know, Aveiro has no expiration date and there for sure aren't any tourist fees tacked on just to visit.

aerial view of aveiro portugal

The beautiful canal (Canal Central) is the main attraction of the city, hence taking on the moniker of ‘the Venice of Portugal'.

The moon may not meet your eye like a big pizza pie, but the delightful boat rides through this charming city will have you ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the surrounding scenery of historic architecture.

This area is undoubtedly the heartbeat of the city, where tourists can peruse local shops and get a delicious taste of local eats, such as the region's renowned seafood dishes.

Just like the appeal of many Portuguese destinations, nice beaches, such as Praia da Costa Nova and Praia da Barra, are also within close reach.

lighthouse on Praia da Barra in aveiro portugal

Looking Ahead

Still flying under the radar even with record visitor numbers, the economy is booming, and the community doesn't want to end the hot streak.

Fully embracing the “new tourism hotspot” label, more investments are being made to continue the upward trajectory to become even more popular in the coming years.

Some would say that makes it more exciting to visit in the future, while others may argue now is the best time in case the crowds become too much to handle.

Hotel Aveiro Palace

When the secret is out, it becomes tricky to remain authentic, and right now, Aveiro still holds true to its charm without an overflow of tourists.

The city has already seen significant growth with new and improved hotels, but there will be even more to choose from down the road.

Not only that, but more attractions, such as new city parks and camping sites are expected to open sometime in 2025 to give travelers even more to look forward to beyond beautiful beaches and romantic canals.

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