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Wild and without hitchhiking: Aveiro

We’re off to Aveiro! After spending way longer than we had planned in Porto, it’s time to move on. As usual we’re sad to leave. Porto has been spectacular in every way imaginable. Incredible food, beautiful people, stunning architecture, beaches, nostalgic trams, cheap beers, warm weather, you name it. Today we are going to hitchhike to Aveiro. It’s not too far, about an hour down the coast, some 75 kilometres.

Before we head off, we spend the morning doing some last minute sightseeing. Including the world famous beautiful book store: Livraria Lello. When it gets to lunch time we drag ourselves away from the centre back to our hostel to grab our bags. We jump on the metro D line and get off at the last stop, Santo Ovídio.

There is a roundabout which connects to the highway and that’s where we shall wait. And wait we shall. And wait. For one hour, for two hours, maybe three.

Hitchin’ not happenin’

Well it’s certainly not going to plan. Our first hitch hiking attempt in Portugal is lacking. No one is stopping, nor are they the slightest bit interested. The afternoon is drawing to an end. We were adamant we would get an easy lift. Our last option is the train. It seems to be pretty cheap to Aveiro, so back in to town we go, to the train station.

The trains to Aveiro go from Porto-Campanhã, which is a shame because the main train station, Sao Bento is stunning. Nevertheless, the train ride is cheap. Although it’s clearly cheap because the train looks like it’s been repurposed from the scrap yard. It’s not just aesthetically displeasing, it’s completely useless. Numerous times the train stops and the power cuts out, plunging us in to darkness. It’s now pitched black outside too, because the 40 minute train journey takes 2 hours. Of course we don’t get a seat either as the whole two carriages are absolutely rammed!

We arrive in Aveiro at an unruly hour, it’s dark and empty. We’re shattered from the long day and all the exploring over the previous days but we’ve got to lug our rucksacks a bit longer to an Airbnb where we are staying for two nights. The owner is nice, the room is small, but clean and tidy. We chuck our rucksacks on the floor and pass out almost immediately.

Successful hitchhiking episodes!

Train on the Glacier Express route above Urseren valley
Switzerland

A hitchhiker’s dream: Road tripping through Switzerland

It’s early morning, fog is hanging over the forests and frost covers the ground beneath us. Once again, we’re standing by the side of a road, waiting for some kindhearted person to take us to, well, pretty much anywhere this time! We’re in Filisur, a tiny village on the Glacier Express line in the south-east […]

May 7, 2019
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The town walls of Chur from above with mountains in the background
Switzerland

Wild and without a shortage of rides

After a very short introduction we are packing our bags and leaving St. Gallen for Filisur via Chur. As always, we wish we had more time but that seems to happen with every place we visit. St. Gallen was unexpectedly beautiful. We were not prepared for it since we only came so Caroline could visit […]

April 23, 2019
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A view of the campsite: Camping Freizeitsee Zenz
Austria

Wild and without a clue how to hitchhike

Hitchhiking for over three months, carrying all of your belongings and shelter in your rucksack requires a lot preparation and money. After spending many, many smackers on equipment, from a tent to a french press (Girl needs her coffee!), only to discover in the process that so many more items are needed, you have to […]

September 20, 2017
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Aveiro to Costa Nova

We’ve pretty much got one day in Aveiro and we are heading straight for the beach, and the beautiful beach houses of Costa Nova. It’s all a bit stressful because we didn’t realise that the beach requires a bus. It’s almost 11KM down a highway. Trying to figure out where the bus goes from is adding to the stress and we change our minds multiple times before finally deciding on a location. It turns out to be correct and the bus picks us up on time.

For details about the bus timetable and locations refer to the facts section at the bottom of the post!

The journey is smooth, if not a bit long, it stops many times along the way and doesn’t go direct. The stop for Costa Nova is right in the thick of it. Within one hundred metres of walking we are on the beach, the beautiful golden sands stretching for an eternity.

The beach is absolutely massive, there is no one around what so ever. We spend the next hours walking far out, finding ourselves a little piece of paradise and relaxing there. It’s a bit too cold to swim so we paddle and build an epic sandcastle.

Well, we’d like to see you do better without a bucket and spade and only your hands!

Candy houses of Costa Nova

At some point I go off to explore the beautiful wooden coloured houses of Costa Nova. It’s absolute eye candy everywhere, and cute overload. Like a little toy village on the beach. If only we could afford to stay in one…

After exploring for a little I head back to the beach to meet Caroline and we stroll down the wooden walkways above the beach. The sun is slowly beginning to set, casting wonderful smooth orange light on to the crashing waves. We spot numerous silhouettes of fisherman on the edge of the beach and rocks, the sun burning behind them.

The sun dips below the horizon and a fine mist begins to descend, glowing ever so slightly pink from the last escaping rays of light. In the distance, almost disguised, we make our way to the beautiful lighthouse of Barra.

Costa Nova beach with pink mist after sunset

We are drawn and enticed by the giant red ringed lighthouse. Slowly we make our way towards it and admire it in all its splendour. Towering above everything for kilometres and kilometres, the protector of the oceans.

Back at the bus stop with a while to wait we watch as the lights rotate on the lighthouses with a dreary hum, the stars behind it, sparkling in the deep blue night sky.

Praia da Barra lighthouse in the night sky

More cute towns

Colourful side street with cute doorways and plants
France

Wild and without an art education: Arles & van Gogh

Not exactly unhappy to leave the campsite in Manosque, we get up considerably early (for us anyway) and make our way to town to get a ride from there. Today we finally want to get to the seaside! (with a quick stop in Arles). I’m dreaming about sandy beaches and wild horses in the Camargue. […]

October 1, 2019
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St Wolfgang at night reflecting in the lake from the opposite shore
Austria

Wild and without a ticket

We’re on the road to Salzburg area – it’s only our third time hitchhiking and we’re apprehensive – the last time didn’t go so well. We want to get to a campsite on Wolfgangsee, a beautiful lake in the Salzkammergut region of Austria.  There are two ramps on to the Autobahn in Schladming and we’re not sure […]

December 30, 2018
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Vintage boat house at Drei Weieren in St. Gallen
Switzerland

St. Gallen: Sneaky shots and vintage vibes

Wahoo, we have crossed our first border as hitchhikers! It’s been an eventful journey to St. Gallen that started early in our beloved Innsbruck. We love Innsbruck so much, we wrote not one but two posts about it! We splurged on a room there last night. When I say splurged, I mean a room without […]

April 17, 2019
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Sampling the local cuisine

We love Portuguese food, in fact, we can’t believe how much we love it. We weren’t clued up about it when we arrived, but it’s blown us away. The vegan food in Porto was just incredible! We’re even carrying around a bottle of Piri-Piri sauce to put on all our sandwiches that we make.

Anyway, about sampling the local cuisine. Today we’re not. We’re going to Pizza Hut because we have been craving it for weeks and this is the first place that has one. Don’t hate us, sometimes it’s the small things that bring comfort and joy.

The Pizza Hut is even fancy here, it’s got a view on to the pretty canals with the almost venetian rowing boats. That counts as culture right?

We head back to our apartment to research hitchhiking points for tomorrow. We’re heading to the capital, Lisbon and we are super excited!

I’ve been reading a book, The night train to Lisbon, for the last weeks in anticipation for the capital city. In fact, one of the main reasons we planned this trip in the first place, was to visit Portugal and in particular, Lisbon.

Before we leave Aveiro tomorrow, we’d like to have a little explore, waltz around the canals, grab a coffee and meander around the little streets. We stroll home, do some research and prepare for our journey tomorrow.

Aveiro exploring

Our Airbnb in Aveiro from outside with pretty blue tiles
Our Airbnb for the last two nights

Morning comes and we hastily pack our huge rucksacks with all our belongings and navigate to the town centre to grab some brunch. Along the way we pass lots of pretty buildings, understated but with lots of beautiful tiles. We pass a simple whitewashed church adorned with magnificent azulejos depicting biblical scenes.

It’s warm and the sun is shining so we take a seat outside at a cute cafe and order some food. The streets are busy with locals and tourists alike, we sit back and let our minds wonder, relaxing, people watching.

It’s time to make our way to Lisbon so we head to a spot we researched, passing by the canals. The canals are full with gondola like boats, intricately painted with bright and vibrant colours. Aveiro is known as the Venice of Portugal.

We’re not quite fond of this comparison, it seems that every country has its own Venice. Non truly compare, though many are very pretty: including Aveiro and France’s Venice of the Alps: Annecy. The latter of which we visited only two weeks prior. In the case of Aveiro, at least they have the pretty painted boats, which of course you can take a trip on.

The boats are actually known as barcos moliceiros. They are traditional flat bottomed boats used for collecting seaweed from the lagoon.

Aveiro Gondolas on the main canal

Hitchhiking fails in Aveiro

We make our way to the hospital, where there is a big roundabout. We should be able to catch a lift from there. The road joins a highway to Lisbon. We’re nervous about hitchhiking since we’ve not yet had a successful ride in Portugal.

On the way to the hitch location we pass some beautiful gardens. Unfortunately we don’t have time to visit but we would absolutely recommend it. There’s a river, lots of flowers, regal walk ways with a grand romanesque trellis, small lakes, fountains and pretty bridges. Definitely worth a visit.

We hurry past, determined to get to our hitch spot and catch a lift. The weather is perfect but it seems our charm is dissolving in Portugal. To cut a long story short we wait for hours but no one stops. Demoralised, we lug ourselves and our rucksacks, heads down, for forty minutes back to the train station and wait for the next train to Lisbon.

Adios Aveiro

The next train is not for a while so we grab some snacks for the ride and admire the magnificent old train station, extravagantly decorated with azulejos. Now unused, hidden behind a building site fence.

Anyway, next stop: Lisboa!

FACTS FACTS FACTS

How to get there

Well we definitely don’t recommend hitchhiking! There are of course people who have had more success than us. We have read that the Portuguese are not very receptive to hitchhikers although we had more positive experiences in the south.

There are direct trains from both Porto and Lisbon. From Porto you can get there for as cheap as €4 if you take the slow train. From Lisbon it’s around €20. Check the Portuguese train website for prices and timetables.

The closest airport is Porto, if you are flying in.

Blabla car is also used in Portugal so you might want to use that. We used it to get from Lisbon to Faro.

Getting to Costa Nova from Aveiro

The bus cost €3.75 (at the time of visiting) for a return. You can catch the bus from the bus station next to the train station. The company is Transdev.

Go to their website (Portuguese only) and select Aveiro (Ter. Rodoviário) for Origem. Select Costa Nova (Biarritz) for Destino. Destino is destination. Biarritz is where the lighthouse is. If you want to go to the colourful houses, select Costa Nova – Parque as the destination instead. That is the last stop. After you’ve filled that in, press Pesquisar to load the timetable and prices for the whole day. You can also specify a date and time using the Data/Hora field.

Things to do

  • Walk around the canals and old streets of Aveiro. Maybe even take a ride on a boat. You should be able to get a ride for 10-15 euros.
  • Visit the beautiful garden park Parque Dom Pedro Infante.
  • Walk around the pretty candy striped houses of Costa Nova.
  • Relax on the beaches of Costa Nova & Barra. Make sure to walk the board walks and escape from the masses. It’s easy to find your own piece of paradise, especially in low season.
  • Visit the magnificent lighthouse of Barra, the tallest in all of Portugal. It is very romantic, especially in the evening or during a sunset. You can climb the 283 steps to reach the top, but only on Wednesdays. It is free though! Check the times over here.

Accommodation

We stayed in an Airbnb which was €50 for two nights. It was nice and quite central (in Aveiro). There are a few campsites around, including some very close to the beaches so you might want to check those out. Orbitur Vagueira is open all year round and looks quite nice.

If you’re not in to camping (they do bungalows and huts too!) check out the deals on booking.com below:

Booking.com

Pro Tips

  • Take sandwiches and drinks to the beach, the restaurants are expensive there!
  • If all you care about is the beach and Costa Nova, save yourself the bus journey and stay on a campsite or an apartment in Costa Nova rather than Aveiro.
  • Bring a bucket and spade to the beach to build an epic sandcastle!

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