The historic town of Aveiro, situated on the west coast a little less than an hour’s drive from Porto, is known as the Venice of Portugal thanks to its network of canals navigated by gondola-like boats known locally as barcos moliceiros.
With uninterrupted sea views and an abundance of fresh sea air, this city is emerging as a top option for anyone looking for a calm and peaceful pace of life in the Old World.
Aveiro is also refreshingly affordable, offering big-city amenities at a nice discount to costs in Lisbon and Porto. The area is popular for its fresh fish, grilled mackerel, and gastronomic diversity, and a three-course meal can cost as little as 7 or 8 euros in a midrange restaurant. In Lisbon or Porto, you’d spend twice as much for a comparable dining experience.
You could rent a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of Aveiro for as little as 400 to 450 euros per month. Comparable digs would cost at least 600 euros per month in the capital.
Add 30 to 40 euros per month for internet and cable TV and 70 to 80 euros per month for electricity and water, and you see how a couple could live comfortably in Aveiro on a budget of less than 1,000 euros per month.
Less than 1,000 euros per month for a comfortable new life on the coast of Europe. Remarkable.
You could invest in a home of your own in Aveiro right now for half the cost (on a per-square-meter basis) of buying today in Lisbon. The most central and sought-after neighborhoods include Bairro do Liceu, Alboi (near to the city center, the public hospital, and the university), Bairro do Glicínias, and Bairro da Forca (this is the most distant neighborhood from the city center, popular among retirees).
Boasting many gardens and parks, Aveiro is very dog-friendly. If you’re planning on relocating with your pet, put the neighborhoods in the Drinks garden (the Alboi area) at the top of your list.
Aveiro is also relatively flat and low-lying, making it an ideal city for walking and biking. Everything is within easy strolling distance of everything else; sidewalks are wide, footpaths in good condition, and many areas pedestrianized. This city is definitely a good option for someone with mobility restrictions.
Neighborhoods are small, and locals are friendly. On nearly every corner is a tiny bakery, café, or minimarket, and shopkeepers will know your name after just a week or two.
Aveiro is never as hot as Lisbon, and the sun shines a little less often. Temperatures here range from an average low 5 degrees Celsius to an average high of 25 degrees Celsius, rarely falling below 0 or above 31 degrees. Aveiro doesn’t see snow, but it is colder here on the coast and through the New Year.
Come spring, the focus returns to the Barra and Costa Nova beaches, just 5 kilometers from the city center. Both have repeatedly been awarded Blue Flag distinctions for their cleanliness and amenities. The surfing along this coast is among the best in Europe.
Barra is home to the largest lighthouse in Portugal, and Costa Nova is known for its colorfully painted wooden houses… and both are earning a reputation for their traditional-style beachfront cafés.