Aveiro: Portugal’s Art Nouveau Capital

Aveiro buildings

If you’re planning to visit northern Portugal, Aveiro is one of those really unique cities that keeps tourists coming back over and over again. It has salt ponds that produce fine cooking salt, it’s the home of ovos moles, and it has the fun and colrful moliceiro boats. But what you probably didn’t realize was that Aveiro is full of beautiful Art Nouveau architecture. In fact, it’s classified as the cidade-museu da Arte Nova, or “Art Nouveau city-museum”.

Art Nouveau museum Aveiro

Art Nouveau door

Museu Arte Nova Aveiro

The reason why there are so many beautiful Art Nouveau-style buildings in the city is because at the turn of the 20th century, many Portuguese returned form Brazil with their newly-found wealth. The returned emigrants (and other, wealthier families) built homes in the latest style that was taking Europe by storm. Sources point to this architectural change in Aveiro starting in 1904. Even today, Aveiro is one of only 20 cities in the world that make up the Réseau Art Nouveau network: cities whose Art Nouveau heritage is significant.

Yellow art nouveau

 Art Nouveau facade

Art nouveau museum back

Aside from being a “city-museum”, Aveiro also has an actual Art Nouveau museum in the city. It’s not expensive to visit, but I was actually a little disappointed in it. The building has some pretty details inside, as well as information on the art movement, but I was expecting some of the opulence you see on the front and back of the building on the inside, which is not the case.

Art Nouveau tiles

Art Nouveau azulejos

If you want to see stunning 110-year-old architecture, simply walk along Aveiro’s central canal and look all around you. Don’t forget to look down some of the pedestrian-only squares and streets for more architectural treasures. One thing you may notice during your walk is how the Art Nouveau style in Aveiro has a distinctive Portuguese aspect to it: in the form of azulejo tiles. Only, not the blue and white azulejos we all know and love; no, these ones feature curly foliage, animals, and other natural elements that are so archetypal to the style. It’s an Art Nouveau connoisseur’s dream!

Have you been to Aveiro? What’s your favorite building?

Art Nouveau gate

Previous Story
Next Story

You Might Also Like

  • Tony Raposo
    May 23, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Gorgeous buildings
    Hope I remember when to add to itinerary

    • aportugueseaffair
      May 23, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Yes you should definitely go if you have time!

  • BeckyB
    May 29, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Found it just extraordinary when we were there . . unfortunately we were running for a train so didn’t quite get the shots I was hoping for. Delighted therefore to have seen your post this morning so I can enjoy in all their glory 🙂

    • aportugueseaffair
      May 29, 2017 at 10:14 am

      So glad to hear it! Maybe one day you can return with more time 🙂

      • BeckyB
        May 29, 2017 at 2:27 pm

        I hope so . . such a wonderful city.

    %d bloggers like this: