Decorated Boats and Striped Houses

I took full advantage of a rare day without rain to get out on my bike and see a bit more of Portugal. Today’s day-trip took me to Aveiro where I saw the decorated boats and then to nearby Costa Nova and its striped, seaside houses.

Aveiro is near to the west coast of Portugal, and about 57 kilometres (as the crow flies) south of Porto. The journey could be done in less than an hour by taking the motorway and toll roads, but those are not the most enjoyable for motorcycling. So I asked my TomTom to set a ‘winding route’ to Aveiro that avoided the toll roads. The result was a 90km route that took about two hours to drive. My fingers were getting a bit chilly on the ride down – so I turned on the heated grips. Luxury! Loving the BMW.

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The red marker denotes the location of Aveiro

Aveiro has been referred to as the ‘Venice of Portugal’ due to its canals, and the boats that offer rides to tourists. These boats are called moliceiros and they were initially used to rake and gather moliço, a variety of aquatic plants that grew submerged in the lagoon. But the boats have now found a new trade, showing tourists around the canals and the lagoon.


The prow and aft of the moliceiro boats are decorated with paintings, each unique to the boat. Many of the paintings are somewhat risque and take a light-hearted look at life. The style reminds me a little of the cheeky postcards that were common in British seaside towns when I was a boy. Other boats have religious themes painted on them and I even saw one with a picture of Cristiano Ronaldo (kind of a religious figure in Portugal).


Whilst I was walking around Aveiro, a sister bike stopped to visit with mine 🙂


Next up was a quick visit to Costa Nova, a small fishing village about 10km from Aveira, situated on a narrow peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ria de Aveiro lagoon.

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As I arrived in Costa Nova, the tide was low in the lagoon and there were a group of people out on the sand bars, digging for shellfish. It is still an active fishing village and there are several seafood restaurants offering the local catch.


But I’d only come to see the brightly striped houses that overlook the lagoon. These pretty little houses were once humble fishermen’s huts, used to store nets. Many have now been converted into holiday homes but the candy-stripe pattern has remained for most of the buildings along the road into town.

Which is the prettiest – my bike or the houses?


After viewing the houses, it was time for the ride home. The day-trip covered a total of 201km and about four hours in the saddle. It was a good day out that certainly helped me to feel more comfortable on the bike. Lots more to come once this rainy weather clears up.


  1. What a fascinating days outting! Love your description & visuals. Portugal & in particular Porto area is a fabulous location! Give my love to Bev! Following your blog as we watch our ancient Weinberg starting the process of being replanted! Life is good.

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