Portugal, Coimbra to Furadouro

Coimbra Postcard

When we woke in the morning, instead of the blue skies that we had become accustomed to there was a thick mist over the river and the city and it didn’t look like clearing away any time soon.

We had planned to have a final hour exploring the streets of Coimbra but after a second excellent Hotel IBIS breakfast the mist had become a fog so we made breakfast last a while longer, waited around for half an hour or so and then made our way to the railway station and waited for the train to Aveiro.

The plan now was to spend a few days at the coast, relax and to take a break from the city visits.

The train was on time and it didn’t take long to get there and as we crossed a spur of the River Boca and looked out towards the lagoons and the Atlantic Ocean we could have been forgiven for thinking we had been transported to Venice because the city has a very Italianate architecture and a waterway full of Gondolas.

Not surprising then that Aveiro is sometimes called the Venice of Portugal.

Aviero Postcard

Other places have their own associations with Venice – London and Birmingham in England are two examples as are Amsterdam in the Netherlands, St Petersburg in Russia, Prague in the Czech Republic and Edinburgh in Scotland who are all sometimes called the ‘Venice of the North’.  There is a Little Venice in Michigan USA and another in Bavaria in Germany, there is a casino in Las Vegas designed as Venetian canals and there is even one entire country that is called ‘Little Venice’.

The name ‘Venezuela’ is believed to have originated from the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci who led a 1499 naval expedition along the northwestern coast of South America.  When he landed he saw people living in houses on stilts and using boats that were shaped like gondolas. He thought that the country resembled Venice so he named it Venezuela, which means ‘Little Venice’.  That’s a bit odd I suppose when you consider that Venezuela is nearly two thousand three hundred times bigger than Venice itself!

We thought that we might like to stop a while and explore Aveiro but there wasn’t really time because we had a train connection to make and needed to dash to the Porto Metro line for the train to the nearby city of Ovar.

On first impression we weren’t quite sure what to make of Ovar, it seemed like the end of the World, almost like that scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they first get off the train in Bolivia and wondered why they had gone there.


We needed to travel about three miles west to the seaside town of Furadouro and rather unsure and completely disorientated we broke our no taxi rule for a second time in four days and hitched a ride to our hotel, the Furadouro Spa.  The taxi dropped us off outside reception and we went inside to register where on account of a nippy wind coming in off the sea the staff were in thick jackets and expressed surprise that we were wearing our summer clothes when, in their opinion, it was so cold.  We explained about being from England and living on the North Sea East Coast.

After we had approved our accommodation and settled in, good but not as good as the last three in Lisbon, Tomar and Coimbra we stepped outside to take a look at Furadouro.  This didn’t take very long, but we found a restaurant that caught our eye for later on and a nice pavement bar to have a beer and then we made our way to the seafront.

There was a strong wind blowing, towering Atlantic breakers and red flags flapping furiously, rather unnecessary in my opinion because only a crazy person would go into a sea as mad as that.  Only half crazy we went into the sea but only up to our ankles with an occasional waist high splash and we walked the beach for about two miles or so.

Furaduero Beach Portugal

Portugal is famous for its Atlantic beaches which stretch for one thousand, one hundred and fifteen miles and along this coastline are three hundred Blue Flag Beaches which is the fifth highest amongst participating countries but looking at the statistics in a different way and dividing length of coastline by number of beaches, Portugal is way out in front and storms into first place with one blue flag every three and three-quarter miles.

It was certainly storming today and as we walked the salt spray splashed our clothes and the wind whipped sand stung our faces.

We could have walked forever along pristine sands between Sahara like dunes on one side and crashing waves on the other but eventually we reached an agreed point and with only more sand and surf stretching out before us as far as we could see we turned around and returned to Furadoura.  We hoped the sea might be calmer tomorrow and we might be able to go for a swim.

Later we found a back street fish restaurant overflowing with local people so on the basis that this is always a good sign we requested a table and had a first class meal for a very reasonable price and we agreed, as we always do, that we would come back tomorrow.  On the way out we attempted to book a table but the waiter told us they were closed now for an end of summer vacation.

We were having a lot of bad luck with restaurant closures in Portugal that was for sure!


31 responses to “Portugal, Coimbra to Furadouro

  1. Cassidy, no “e”.

    Looks like a nice place and nice recounting of it.


  2. We used to have a different French university student every year who would come to the school to do French conversation with the pupils. Nottingham is hardly the Arctic but towards the end of October they would usually complain at how cold the English winter was.


  3. Looks a perfect place to me – an empty beach 🙂


  4. Aveiro looks worth an explore…


  5. Nothing like a rough sea – as long as you’re looking at it and not on a boat! I love walking along the beach with crashing waves. Never been to Aveiro but my husband goes frequently for work, apparently it is lovely.


  6. That tale about Venezuela is absolutely caracas! Your Iberian adventuring knows no bounds, another fine place.


  7. I could so visualize the ankle deep walk with the occasional waist deep splash! Yikes. This looks like a fabulous area to explore with deserted beaches. Although perhaps a stop in the ‘Venice of Portugal’ would be great fun. Hopefully not the tourist gong show of what has become of Venice Italy?


    • Venice is ruined by too many people. I read recently that Amsterdam is fed up with the hundreds of thousands of tourists and some people were outraged when a Venetian gondola turned up on one of its canals. The Atlantic beaches of Portugal are simply stunning and not too overcrowded.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Looks like a lovely stop, especially the quiet beach. I find restaurants here in Spain close at the drop of the hat for vacations etc. No warning either. We show up at a favorite restaurant only to find a handwritten note on the door. I guess that is the result of family-run establishments. Something we had to get used to as it didn’t happen in Canada.


  9. What a beautiful deserted beach. With so many blue flag beaches it makes me wonder why Portugal isn’t as popular as Spain, Italy or Greece? Such a shame about it being the last night that the fish restaurant was open, but at least you got there before it closed for the season. I guess they had made enough money to now close the business down and take some time off.


  10. Nice bit of writing and photos. I love Portugal too 🙂


  11. Taking a slug from the bottle?
    Is she of Australian blood by any chance? :evil:.
    The wine bottle looks like a screw top not a cork, like the Australian wine industry has switched to, for home consumption at least. 😀


  12. Ah, but ou had a bottle of wine, always a good way to deal with a restaurant closure, or any other bad luck. But a pint of good ale will always do as well. 🙂 –Curt


  13. They’re just coming into the closed season in the Algarve. The main town ferry stopped on 19th November and quite a few of the restaurants will take time off between now and February. It’s been such a long hot season for them. Aveiro is still on my list 🙂 🙂


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