Discover Central Portugal’s lesser-known gems on our seven-night Aveiro, Canals and Coimbra holiday.

The historic landmarks, windswept beaches and timeless mountain hideaways of Central Portugal have been a popular staycation destination for generations. Particularly the city of Aveiro – often referred to as ‘the Venice of Portugal’ thanks to its system of canals and inland waterways, its eye-catching Art Nouveau architecture, and its warm and welcoming locals.

Sitting on the Ria de Aveiro, a vast seawater lagoon, the city’s cuisine has always followed the seasonal ebb and flow of the sea and the catches of the local Moliceiros fishermen. The Ria da Aveiro is also a protected nature reserve, home to storks, herons and flamingos – the charming beachfront town of Praia Costa Nova sits at its western mouth and is famous throughout Portugal for its pretty, candy-striped houses.

Leaving Aveiro, you’ll head south to the royal city of Coimbra, birthplace of the Kings of Avis. The medieval and manueline architecture at the centre of the city’s university is UNESCO-protected: the Biblioteca Joanina, the Capelo de Sao Miguel and the impressive Via Latina are amongst Portugal’s most-precious national treasures.

You’ll also visit Coimbra’s namesake: the ancient Roman city of Conimbriga. At its peak in the 1st century AD, the city had an estimated population of 10,000 and you’ll have a chance to explore a typical Roman domus with its beautifully intricate mosaics. The Museu Monografico de Conimbriga also preserves some of remarkable archaeology unearthed at the site: the sculptures, coins and jewellery of the city’s high-status residents, side-by-side with the domestic household items of everyday Roman life.

From Conimbriga, you’ll head into hills of the Serra da Lousa. Time stands still in the region’s remote Aldeias do Xista – the Schist Villages where long-held and well-loved traditions are cherished: in the local architecture, in its cuisine, and its art and handicrafts,

You’ll end your stay in the northern city of Porto, your closest connection by air, and it’s easy to extend your holiday if you’d also like to include a short stay in this exciting and dynamic city.



You’ll begin your holiday with a flight direct flight to Porto. You’ll be collected on arrival by our driver for your journey south to Aveiro.
You’ll explore Aveiro on foot and by boat, with a moliceiro boat trip along the central canal.
You might like to walk Passadicos trail through the Ria de Aveiro nature reserve, or you can head west to Praia Costa Nova beach – famous for its pristine sands and candy-striped palheiros beach front houses.
You’ll collect your hire car, before driving south for a three-night stay in the pretty university town of Coimbra.
You’ll explore Coimbra on foot, with visits to the Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha, the Fado Centre, Se Velha Cathedral, the Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, and the Paco das Escolas - home to the famous Biblioteca Joanina.
You’ll visit one of Portugal’s most important archaeological sites, the Roman ruins at Conimbriga, followed by a drive into the Serra da Lousa mountain range, famous throughout Portugal for its Aldeias do Xisto or Schist Villages.
You’ll leave Coimbra today, driving north for an overnight stay in the Cais da Ribeira district of Porto.
You’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

From £2100 per person

We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

Direct flights from the UK to Porto, accommodation in twin/double en-suite rooms on a B&B basis, taxi transfers, a Moliceiro boat trip and four days car hire.


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