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.
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:
(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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
For an afternoon snack
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.
Get yours at the Iracema kiosk, a small wooden stall right at the entrance of the breakwater.
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.
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.
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.
The smaller beaches are a great alternative to the crowded sands of Barra, perfect for relaxing and sunset strolls.
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.
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.
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 Costa Nova, we always hang out at Bronze because it has the best terrace and sea view.
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.
Some people use the boardwalks for jogging though.¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Choices.
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.
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 Activa: Windsurf 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!