Aviero is a beach town with a canal! Everyone in Porto referred to it as the Venice of Portugal. While there was a very nice canal, and we have never been to Venice, it seemed as though that claim might be a slight exaggeration. This was another easy day trip from Porto, just an hour’s train ride from the main station in Porto. It was a lovely day for the ride and the tourist information center at the train station set us up with a nice map and tickets to take the canal tour on one of the traditional boats. Aviero’s traditional use for the canal was to transport the salt from the nearby salt flats and for harvesting a specific algae used as fertilizer. The salt process is no longer commercially viable, but they still harvest some in the summer using the traditional methods so the tourists can see how it was done. Nowadays, the boats are used to give tourists a nice ride through town to see the lovely tiled covered buildings.

The canal goes right through the heart of town and there are many beautiful buildings. The tile is both decorative and useful in repelling the effects of the salty air so close to the sea and the salt marshes.
One of the two types of traditional boats used in the canal. These could transport several tons of salt or algae along thee canal.
Over the years some more modern bridges have been put across the canal. This one is pretty striking from a distance, and as you get closer…
It is even cooler! the bridge is circular and the single arm supporting it is curved like a ribbon!
The canal is wide enough to allow several boats to pass, but does not seem to divide the town too much.

Aveiro is also home to the first open air mall in Portugal, built in the 1990s and still a bustling place these days. We didn’t make it to the salt flats or the beach on this trip, so we will have to return some day.

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