Being a fan of projects such as Investments or the Sistelo Footbridges, as soon as he learned of the existence of Footbridges of Aveiro I made a mental note to visit them as soon as possible. Now, one afternoon on a sunny Sunday, I challenged the family to go to Aveiro to see the wooden walkways over the Ria de Aveiro. And so it was.
Although I love Aveiro very much and know full well that it deserves much more than a hurried visit - only to make a walk -, the truth is that this time I went there just to make the footbridges of Aveiro.
Next post, I share this family experience with young children, including practical tips to enjoy the best possible walk along the river on wooden walkways (spoiler alert: it is better not to start the trail in the city of Aveiro). Let's do it!
My experience at the Footbridges of Aveiro
We arrived in Aveiro about four in the afternoon. I parked the car next to the Cais de São Roque, where I thought it was the official beginning of the trail; and I went to the center of the city to find a taxi that would take me until the end of the course, in Rio Novo do Príncipe, Vilarinho - once I had decided to go the other way.
I had read in a National Geographic article that the first part of the trail (in the official sense, starting in Aveiro), the 2km between the São Roque Pier and the Ribeira da Esgueira Pier, "are not far behind the other five." It was this phrase that misled me. Although beauty is always subjective, the statement is an absolute lie to me, unless the journalist enjoys walking side by side with a busy freeway and a train overpass!
I do not believe, then, that making the trail to Aveiro was the best option; but by that time I still did not know that (see the practical guide at the end of the article, with all the tips, not to make the same mistake).
Sitting inside his taxi, parked at the beginning of Avenida Lourenço Peixinho, I met Mr. Albino. He was an old man who, in fact, should not even be working. "So much work?" I asked, in casual conversation. "Not. I was sleeping in the car an hour ago. " Outside, the contrast: Aveiro was as full of people as he had ever seen her. Whether it was the morning marathon, the antique fair, or the normal flow of tourists and Sunday visitors, the truth is that I do not remember seeing the city of Aveiro so crowded.
Slowly, we were taken to Rio Novo do Príncipe, in Vilarinho, exactly where the Footbridges of Aveiro end. For us, it was the beginning of a beautiful walk. We took our leave of Mr. Albino and began to walk.
Footbridges of Aveiro (beginning at the end): from Vilarinho to Esgueira
Between Vilarinho and Esgueira are little more than 5km, a good part of them in wooden walkways built on the Ria de Aveiro. It is a route without any difficulty, always flat and with a good condition.
There were a lot of people doing exercise (running and cycling); whole families to stroll, including with strollers; some noisier friends; and some domestic and foreign tourists. It was, so to speak, a Sunday very popular in the Passadiços de Aveiro.
At strategic points, there were informative panels on the flora and fauna of the ria. The kids learned that in the Ria de Aveiro it was possible to find animals like the flamingo, the long leg or the eagle-shrew.
And, no less interesting, a kind of open-air lesson on the terminology of fishing, sea, and river arts, printed on wooden benches along the trail. And so, my eldest daughter (and myself) came to know, for example, that "walking around" means "being driven by the current and the wind." In each bank, an apprenticeship. A beastly note!
When we finally got to Esgueira (the walk took longer than I thought, because the kids wanted to stop many times ... whether to rest, to snack, or for no apparent reason), we had walked more than 5km, a good part of which on wooden walkways .
The kids found a joke in the birding refuge, and shortly thereafter a small parking lot signaled the end of the wooden walkways.
Final part: from Esgueira to Aveiro
In fact, I thought that the walkways went to Cais de São Roque, in Aveiro, where he had left the car. But not. Instead, the remaining 2km were walked, first on the tar and then on a dirt track glued to the freeway. With the constant noise of cars. And without great landscaping interest.
Doing this part of the walk was a mistake. I discovered that, in fact, the term Passadiços de Aveiro refers only to the stretch between Esgueira and Vilarinho. It's the interesting part of the walk. The rest is just a way to connect the rail to the city. Perfectly dispensable.
In short, I really enjoyed making the Aveiro Footbridges, between the Ribeira da Esgueira Pier and Rio Novo do Príncipe, in Vilarinho. It is a very beautiful and educational family outing, ideal for all ages. Same. As long as you do not make the mistake of going from Aveiro to Esgueira on foot, you will love it!
Map: walkways of Aveiro
The Passadiços de Aveiro is a linear route between Esgueira and Vilarinho, with about 5km extension (route to orange). The connection from Aveiro to Esgueira (in yellow) is additional 2km without any landscaping interest. If it were today, I would probably start in Esgueira and go to Vilarinho - and I would do that stretch back and forth, in a total of 10km. The course is always flat.
How to organize the tour
As I mentioned, if you count on the start in the city of Aveiro, the trail has two completely different sections (see map above). One, which goes from Cais de São Roque in Aveiro to Cais da Ribeira da Esgueira (uninteresting); the other, the Footbridges of Aveiro proper, which start in Esgueira and end in Vilarinho (see map above).
If I ever repeat the tour, I'll leave the car in the small car park in Esgueira and I'll just take the walkway to Vilarinho. Probably round trip (10km in total).
That is, I recommend that you do Esgueira - Vilarinho - Esgueira (and, if you do not want to, do not even need to visit Aveiro). Arriving at Vilarinho, at the end of the road, return by the same route; if you want to return to Esgueira by car, you will have to get a hitch (difficult) or call a taxi from Aveiro. The dean taxi driver Sir Albino is a possibility (phone: 968058962).
Here are some additional tips for enjoying the Aveiro Footbridges:
- It is not necessary to pay to make the Footbridges of Aveiro.
- Avoid the weekend if you want some quiet on the trail.
- If possible, watch out on the tide board. I made the rail at low tide and I believe that the Ria de Aveiro will be more photogenic at high tide. The late afternoon (or very early morning) is the most beautiful time.
- Bring water and some snacks. If you do not, know that there is at least one impromptu coffee shop that was born along the trail, where you can drink and eat anything - it opens when it's warranted (on spring / summer weather). I also met a lady with a street bench who sold drinks in the Footbridges of Aveiro, shortly after breakfast.
- Keep in mind that the gangways are open to bicycles - and some run with some speed. Be aware, especially if you take the Footbridges of Aveiro with children.
Where to stay
Aveiro is a city with several hotels, guesthouses and pensions of great quality and at reasonable prices. In this regard, read the article I wrote about where to stay in Aveiro, where I board the best guesthouses and hotels to stay in the city.
As a summary, among the classics, the Melia Ria Hotel & Spa is probably the best hotel in Aveiro, but also consider the reputed Moliceiro Hotel. For more intimate options (and that are more to my face), the Aveiro Rossio Hostel and guesthouse Cais House are both excellent choices.
Finally, know that there is a huge offer of apartments in Aveiro (local accommodation). I, for example, have already been on a call Corner of the Canal, even in the Cais de São Roque, the starting point of the access track to Esgueira. Be that as it may, there are many more quality options - including many good and cheap apartments listed on airbnb, for those who prefer this type of accommodation. You can also search for other accommodation options in Aveiro using the link below.
A World Nomads offers one of the best and most complete travel insurance recommended by National Geographic and Lonely Planet. Other excellent and cheaper option is IATI Seguros, which has no age limit and allows multivariate insurance (including long-term travel) to any destination in the world. It's the insurance I use in my travels.