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Discover Barra and Costa Nova: the beach getaways by Aveiro

Like all the Aveiro locals, Nuno and I spent many summers with our family and friends on the beaches of Barra and Costa Nova. Being an affordable summer destination, the shore is brought to life every year by the influx of visitors coming from the neighboring cities to soak up the rays, boogie-board, and stroll on the boardwalks.

 

promenade at Barra beach

But when winter sets in, the beach remain the cheeriest getaway for the local sun worshipers to escape — so there’s still plenty to do during the cold season as well.

 

Public transport from Aveiro to Barra and Costa Nova beaches

You can take the Transdev bus (L5951) in the Rossio area or near the Train Station, which takes you to Barra or Costa Nova in around 40 minutes. The round trip ticket is €3.75 and the time tables are here:


Bus time table from Aveiro to beach

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Keep in mind that your bus stops are called either Barra or Costa Nova, not Forte da Barra which is far from the beach.

 

Weather Warning

The most frustrating thing about living in Aveiro is the constant stiff wind that won’t quit. That’s why if you’re coming to spend a day at the beach, be sure to get yourself a windscreen. There’s 90% chance that it’ll be breezy and not get pounded by sand will make your day much more pleasant.
Summer average temperature: 20ºC

Windy beach

Don’t expect warm tropical waters either, it’s the Atlantic ocean here.
Sea average temperature: 16ºC

Having said that, there’s still a 10% chance of you having the best beach day of your life, ‘cause when it’s good, oh… it’s gooood.


Barra Beach

The beach is divided by a long breakwater: to its right is the laid-back ‘old beach’ (or meia-laranja). To the left and stretching along 1.5 km is the ‘new beach’, frequented by different types of crowds spread throughout its length. Right next to the breakwater is where families and children hang, but if you keep moving you’ll find a younger demographic in the area called 7º ano.

 

The beach and breakwater of Barra beach

 

The Lighthouse

It’s right here on Barra beach that you’ll find the highest lighthouse of the Iberian Peninsula, and the oldest in Portugal. The view from the top is spectacular and a definite must-see.

 

Barra beach in Aveiro
Barra beach view


Go up the 288 steps on Wednesdays, during the summer from 2 PM to 5 PM and in the winter from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Free of charge.

 

Meals

As the commercial and residential areas are right next to the beach, you’ll easily find many options to eat and drink but these are the ones we recommend:

Miami serves our favorite burgers in the entire world along with the crispiest fries!

 

Miami burgers restaurant

 

For good handmade pizza try Pizzaria Brasão on the main street in front of the lighthouse. Also on that same main street is the hip sushi house Barba Azul.  

But if you don’t feel like spending time on a restaurant, grab a quick bite at the supermarket Auto Mercado Gonçalves in the beginning of the breakwater: they sell deep fried goodies, bread, fruits, and drinks. Grab what you need for an utensil-free meal and have a picnic at the beach!

 

Mini Market Gonçalves exterior
Mini market in barra beach

 

For an afternoon snack

Regueifas:
Try the Portuguese sweet bread called regueifa or a pão de deus with sugar and shredded coconut on top. Regueifas are a staple from Barra and have been sold here since we can remember. In fact, a good summer day is not complete without a regueifa.

 

Regueifas and pão de deus


Get yours at the Iracema kiosk, a small wooden stall right at the entrance of the breakwater.

Iracema kiosk

 

Bolacha Americana:
Bolachas Americanas, are big wafers sold by a loud gentleman carrying a white can through the beach. He’s a well-known figure in Aveiro and has been selling Bolachas Americanas since he was 12. His name is Carlos, and you won’t be able to miss him if he walks by you.

 

Bolacha americana

 

Tripa:
If you haven’t tried a tripa yet, do it! Along the main road parallel to the beach, many kiosks sell them with a myriad of fillings to choose from.

 

Vendor making a tripa of Aveiro

 

For more info on other Aveiro delicacies and dishes read Aveiro Travel Guide: best food, bars, and accommodation.

 

What to do in Costa Nova

By now, you probably saw one of these colorful striped houses on the internet — they’re in Costa Nova, only a 15-minute walk from Barra beach. Around here, key attractions are organized on a main street parallel to the sea, along with locally owned shops and seafood restaurants.

Striped houses of Costa Nova Aveiro

The beach

The smaller beaches are a great alternative to the crowded sands of Barra, perfect for relaxing and sunset strolls.

 

Costa Nova beach

 

The fish market

On the main street is the tiny Municipal Market where the hardworking fishmongers sell the catch of the day like they’re mother and grandmothers taught them: effusively. It’s a treat to walk through and a great place to get a typically Portuguese gift.

Municipal market Costa Nova
During summer opens from 8 AM to 8 PM.
On winter weekdays opens from 8 AM to 12 PM. On weekends opens from 8 AM to 6 PM. Always closed on Mondays.

 

A must-eat in Costa Nova

Don’t miss Café Atlântida and try a pastel de nata — they’re said to be the best in Aveiro. The staff is not friendly, but the tarts make up for the tartness.

 

pastel de nata atlantida Costa Nova

 

Beach bars and cafes

Along the boardwalks of Barra and Costa Nova are several beach bars providing fresh drinks, good music and bean bags for lounging on the sand.

In Barra, the ones we like best are 7º ano de Praia and Offshore, right next to each other.

 

Offshore bar


In Costa Nova, we always hang out at Bronze
because it has the best terrace and sea view.

 

Bronze in Costa Nova

 

The boardwalks

In the midst of winter on those days when we’re missing summer the most, we often go for a stroll along the boardwalks whilst eating a warm tripa. Walking on the sand dunes and having the ocean as a backdrop makes them extra scrumptious. You should try it: it’s both soul cleansing and artery clogging.

Barra beach boardwalks


Some people use the boardwalks for jogging though.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Choices.



Other activities

Through the scenic route from Barra beach all the way up to Costa Nova, is an excellent path for running, cycling, and skating. If you don’t have gear for any of that, rent a bicycle on Be Tour at the Memorial Park in Barra beach (between the lighthouse and the ria) for €5 per hour. Only from June to September.

 

Bike rental in Barra beach, Aveiro


Many schools offer lessons in surfing, sailing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, stand up paddle on the ria, and the list goes on.

Surf’aqui – Surf school: with surf lessons, bodyboard, longboard, stand up paddle lessons.

Trillhos d’Água  Diving school: for diving lessons.

Ria ActivaWindsurf and Kitesurf lessons

 

About the accommodation

Accommodation at the beach tends to be even pricier than in the city, so go enjoy your day by the ocean and return to Aveiro by the end of the day — there are plenty of buses to take you there and back.

However if you came prepared, camping can be an affordable option: there’s a camping ground in the middle of the residential area in Barra.

 

 

Note that every place mentioned on this post is marked on maps.me. Download the app and the map for guidance. If you have any questions, contact us. We live here and we can help you out! 

 

 

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