The Ria de Aveiro occupies an area of around 10.000 hectares and it is considered as one of the most interesting geographical accidents, in the Portuguese coast. It has beautiful natural landscapes and it homes a countless diversity of fauna and flora — from the most varied species of plants to the gracious flamingos and herons. It is a lagoon formed as a result of a sea retreat which consequently has created coastal strands. It also fulfills the channels that cross the city in a way that poetically always remind us of the Italian Venice. About the Ria, the Portuguese writer José Saramago once wrote: it is a living body that connects the Earth to the sea like a huge heart.
A boat ride on the typical moliceiro through the city channels (and its surroundings) is part of the wonderful experience that a visit to this place can offer along with the discovery of all its charms. These particular boats were formerly destined to transport the moliço, an aquatic plant that once was used as an agricultural fertilizer. Nowadays, they are one of the most estimated and colorful symbols of the city. Besides being a tourist means of transport, the moliceiros are also an authentic canvas for beautiful traditional paintings or for the inscription of popular expressions. If you go for a moliceiro ride, you should know that there are several tours to choose from. You can pick from the destinations that are closer to nature to historical and cultural ones.
Aveiro is also a place which preserves its history and estimates its ancient connection with faith and art. One of the city’s most famous monuments is the Igreja da Misericórdia (Mercy Church), dated from the 17th century and inspired in the Baroque style — it is very popular due to the traditional tiles that decorate its façade. But there is more: you should visit the ancient Convento de Jesus (a 15th century Dominican convent), as well. Nowadays, it houses the Museu de Aveiro (Aveiro Museum) — one of the oldest and most important museums of sacred art. Besides holding a rich collection of paintings and sculptures (dated from the 17th and 18th centuries) and a beautiful asset of antique clothes and jewelry, it has a very interesting section dedicated to the art of tiles painting.