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Europe, Portugal

If you are looking for a pictouresque and colourful Portuguese city, where the labyrinth water canals play the part of streets, this is it. Just south of Porto, and also accessible by a 35 minute train ride, it is considered by The Guardian as one of the top 10 best quieter spots in Europe.

Perfect for a less crowded break than Venice but with a similar vibe, Aveiro has lots of vivid houses and hand-painted gondolas (here, moliceiros) to fill up any camera. Curiously, one of its annual high points is also the Mardi Gras, a non-quiet moment at all. Plus, art seems to also connect these destinations but, in the Portuguese case, it is expressed in the Costa Nova beach houses. Originally used as fishermen’s storage, these red, blue, green and yellow striped houses are one of the north coast’s icons. And the story behind them? Some say it helped boats find their way in foggy days, others also claim that it was for orientation but when fishermen had one drink too many and thus would help them get the key in the right door….

Aveiro is also home to another of Portugal’s symbols: the Vista Alegre porcelain. Founded in 1824, it is currently recognized as one of the world’s leading brands and includes tableware and glassware. Here, it welcomes visitors to its original porcelain and crystal factory, museum and to the Montebelo Vista Alegre 5-star hotel marvelously integrating the magnitude of the local palaces, chapel and museum and an exceptional modern welcome.

Finally, if there is one reason that brings you to Aveiro are the “Ovos Moles”. To come here and not taste them is a sin but tasting this sweet temptation will take you to heaven. Obtained by mixing eggs and sugar indulgently, it is prepared according to traditional knowledge based on the recipe from the local ancient feminine convents.

Summed up, definitely worth a stop.


Image credits: José Manuel