Esamoriz & Ovar
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The region between Espinho and Aveiro has a dramatic landscape dominated by lagoons, salt marshes, golden beaches, ornate churches, green spaces and traditional towns. The coastline has plenty of amenities but isn't overdeveloped. Along with good transport links to Porto, the district makes a great alternative base for exploring the area.


Praia da Esmoriz

|  Praia da Esmoriz

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Esmoriz is a resort in waiting, for now, a draw for locals and visiting surfers Esmoriz has the potential to be much more. Esmoriz is a traditional fishing village as demonstrated by the colourful fishing boats left on the beaches and the traditional "Palheiro" wooden fisherman huts. The town has over recent years made a name for itself amongst the surfing community due to the area's reliable beach break which draws wave riders of all abilities. Several surf camps and schools have opened up to accommodate those who want to work on their skills.

In addition to investments in the infrastructure of the town, there has been substantial regeneration of the lagoon and the rare coastal environment north of Esmoriz. The area is now protected and a sanctuary for wildlife and birds. Also, a new park was established which contains 20 hectares of lakes, grassland and maritime pine forest.

Praia da Esmoriz

Also known as the Praia da Esmoriz this beach is linked to the Barrinha de Esmoriz lagoon and National Reserve at the northern end. The expanse of sands here at this stretch of the beach is the widest of the resort with fewer bars, cafés and apartments. Instead, it's where new dunes and coastal habitats are being regenerated. The beach is somewhat exposed to Atlantic winds and the waters here are best suited to surfers who take advantage of the consistent beach breaks here. Waves reach a height of between one and three metres with no hidden rocks and easy access to the beach.

The central and southern side of the long beach is dominated by sea and old homes, remnants of the old fishing village and the traditional wooden fisherman's houses known as Palheiros. Many of these have been restored and turned into holiday accommodation. This end of the stretch of beach is more suitable for families and sunbathers alike. There's certainly no shortage of eateries and facilities here.


The lagoon system north of Esmoriz known as Barrinha de Esmoriz or Lagoa de Paramos has enjoyed extensive regeneration, with the help of EU funds, over the last few years. Dunes and watercourses have been dredged, trees planted, reverting the land to wetlands suitable for rare breeds of birds and fauna. There are now over 395 hectares of protected habitat between Esmoriz and Espinho. In 2017 walkways were built that traverse the delicate landscape and form part of the Ecovia do Litoral network of coastal paths which extend north to the Spanish border. The wooden pathways open this unique environment to walkers and provide viewpoints for waterfowl such as herons, sandpipers, swallowtails and gull-billed terns.

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Barrinha de Esmoriz

|  Barrinha de Esmoriz


Igreja Matriz de Santa Marinha de Cortegança

|  Igreja Matriz de Santa Marinha de Cortegança

Located in the village of Cortegaça 1.5km South of Esmoriz is this extraordinary church famed for its striking façade. The current church on this spot was built between 1910 and 1918. There's been a religious building on this site since the 1100s. The main façade is flanked on each side by pyramid-topped bell towers, which themselves house a clock-face in each. In-between the central panel is capped by a triangular pinnacle which supports three statues – Santa Marinha, to whom the temple is dedicated, is in the centre, with São Miguel on the right and São Martinho on the left. The whole front elevation was covered with decorative azulejo tiles in the 1920s which employ Trompe L’oeil techniques to depict alcoves that house the saints S. Pedro and S. Paulo, S. João Bosco and S. Francisco de Assis. Two painted rose windows sit above the alcoves with a depiction of the Holy Chalice in the centre. The whole frontage is highly decretive with the use of floral motifs, cherubs and heraldry. It is one of the finest examples of azulejo art in Portugal. The only reason to go inside however is to marvel at the painted ceiling over the chancel which represents the Four Evangelists. Along with the adjacent cemetery, the church is a National Monument.
Rua do Padre Manuel Pereira, Cortegaça, Portugal. | 40° 56' 34.9" N | 08° 37' 29.1" W


From Porto: Aveiro, Paiva Walkways + Arouca 516 Footbridge

From Porto: Aveiro, Paiva Walkways + Arouca 516 Footbridge

The spectacular Paiva Walkways are perfect for nature lovers who want to see idyllic landscapes. You’ll have a carefree day from the onset with round-trip transfers provided. Avoid long visitor lines by having an entrance ticket to Paiva Walkways included. After exploring the walkways, you’ll visit Aveiro on foot, enjoy a scenic boat ride along the canals, and also visit Costa Nova fishing village. No need to book transport—hotel pickup and drop-off provided. An enchanting boat ride along Aveiro river canals is included.

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Aveiro Tour Including Moliceiro Cruise

Aveiro Tour Including Moliceiro Cruise

Explore the coastal canals of Aveiro on a tour that includes a Moliceiro cruise during a half-day guided trip from Porto. Aveiro’s charm lies in its Venice-like canals, which you will experience aboard a classic ‘moliceiro’ boat. Walking alongside an expert guide, discover more captivating sights of Aveiro’s town centre. On your trip back to Porto, stop in the stripy fishing town of Costa Nova and visit its spectacular white sand beaches. For your convenience, this tour offers a choice of both morning and afternoon departures.

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Aveiro - Half Day Tour with Boat Ride

Aveiro - Half Day Tour with Boat Ride

A visit to the city of Aveiro, a trip on typical boat “Moliceiro” among its numerous water channels is mandatory. Its incredible natural and architectural beauty, perfectly aligned with its people, give a lively idea of a cheerful town where water and sea have the leading role. Discover the charm of this delicate and seductive art period of the 20th century by taking a walking tour with a guide through the Art Nouveau route, a track created to help to identify all buildings and monuments. We will also visit the beach of Costa Nova and its peculiar coloured striped houses.

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Ten kilometres south of Esmoriz is the municipal town of Ovar which itself doesn't have much to offer tourists yet does make an inexpensive jumping-off point to discover the regions beauty spots and excellent beaches. Both Porto and Aveiro are within easy reach by road and rail. The small family-friendly coastal resort of Furadouro is a short 10-minute drive away and easily reachable by a network of cycle paths. Ovar also lies at the northern edge of the Aveiro Ria (tidal lagoon) a precious nature reserve and somewhere to enjoy water sports.

Ovar itself is renowned for its Azulejo tiles which adorn the façades of much of the town's churches, chapels and houses. By the end of the 19th century, tile production became industrialised increasing their use by the masses. These pattern tiles, mostly with flowery motifs, were produced close by in Aveiro.

Igreja Matriz de São Cristóvão

Within the town is a magnificent 17th-century church whose exterior walls are completely covered in 20th-century Azulejo tiles. A niche above the main portal houses a limestone carving of Saint Christopher the church's patron. It's believed this statue dates as far back as the 1400s. The façade is topped by a baroque style pediment. The interior is composed of three barrel-vaulted naves divided by Tuscan columns. Two side chapels house 17th-century altarpieces. A rococo wooden ceiling looks down upon a gilt-wood altar.


|  Ovar


Praia do Furadouro

|  Praia do Furadouro

5km west of Ovar is the small resort of Furadouro with a vast expansion of white sand. On the north and southern extremities of the beach, boardwalks traverse a wide area of dunes containing rare fauna. Somewhat unspoiled from mass tourism yet still popular with locals, there are plenty of eateries and watering holes for everyone's refreshment. Water quality here has Blue Flag status and conditions are ideal for bathing. Facilities at the centre are numerous, with good parking and disabled access. Further away from the centre is quieter and it's here where surfers head for. There's a handful of surf hire shops and schools for those who wish to ride the waves.

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Whereas the façades of the churches and public buildings in Ovar are covered in mass-produced tiles of repeated patterns in the village of Válega, six kilometres east, is one of Portugal's finest examples of ceramic art. The multicoloured tiles which coat the church inside and out are individually painted depicting biblical scenes. The current church dates from the mid-18th century and is the last of a line of religious buildings on this spot. The tiles however were crafted in the 20th century and are equally as ornate on the interior. Inside too there's an impressive wood-panelled ceiling installed during conservation work carried out between 1923 and 1958. The spectacular stained glass windows were created in Madrid. The best time to visit is at sunset as the church faces west and the tiles reflect the golden rays of the evening sun.

Rua da Igreja Matriz 115, 3880-506 Válega, Portugal. | 40° 50′ 01″ N | 08° 34′ 49″ W

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Igreja Paroquial de Válega

|  Igreja Paroquial de Válega

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Furadouro Surf Camp

Furadouro Surf Camp

Furadouro Surf Camp (House) is situated in Ovar, 750 yards from Torrao do Lameiro Beach and features a patio, garden, and free WiFi. The holiday home has three bedrooms, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine and one bathroom with a bidet. A terrace is available on site. Cycling can be enjoyed within close proximity to the holiday home.

99 Rua do Jornal O Comércio do Porto, 3880-373 Ovar, Portugal.
40º 52' 21.5" N | 08º 40' 21.7" W

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AquaHotel ★ ★ ★ ★

AquaHotel offers stylish accommodation in the centre of Ovar, 1.9 miles from the Atlantic coast. It features massage services upon request and previous booking. WiFi is free of charge. Elegant dark furniture and rich textures are offered in all rooms. Some rooms come with a balcony and satellite TV. Work desks and safety deposit boxes are also standard. Tapas and drinks can be enjoyed at the Rio’s Bar. There is also an outdoor lounge with food service and a bar.

1 Rua Aquilino Ribeiro, 3880 151 Ovar, Portugal.
40º 51' 34.3" N | 08º 37' 26.9" W

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Casa da Malta

Casa da Malta

Set in Esmoriz, just a mile from Cortegaça North Beach, Casa da Malta offers beachfront accommodation with a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a bar, a shared lounge and free WiFi. Featuring free private parking. The apartment is in an area where guests can engage in activities such as hiking, windsurfing and diving.

The apartment features two bedrooms, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, an equipped kitchen with a microwave and a fridge, a washing machine, and a bathroom with a bidet. Speaking Portuguese, English and Spanish, staff will be happy to provide guests with practical information on the area at the reception. The apartment offers a sun terrace. There is a garden with a barbecue at this property. Guests can go cycling and fishing nearby.

73 Rua das Violetas, Apartamento 101, 3885-496 Esmoriz, Portugal.
N 40º 57' 36.5" | W 08º 39' 01.0"

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Linha de Sabores

Linha de Sabores

Local sourced produce with a Brazilian twist. Alongside great grilled fish dishes you'll find Picanha on the excellent menu. The staff are very welcoming and always happy to assist you with your choice. Considering the size of the portions the prices are very reasonable. For the real belly-busting experience go for the Rodízio.

Tuesday - Thursday: 19h00 - 23h00, Friday - Sunday: 12h00 - 14h30/19h00 - 23h00, Monday: CLOSED
Rua Senhor dos Aflitos nº 500, Esmoriz 3885-624 Portugal.
N 40º 57' 19.1" | W 08º 39' 13.7"
+351 918 760 381 |

Pão De Ló De Ovar Cruz

Pão De Ló De Ovar Cruz

In Lisbon they have Pasteis de Nata, in Sintra they have Quejadas and in Ovar the have Pão do Ló. Light, creamy, fluffy and yellow coloured dough called “Ló” with a thin, slightly soft and golden brown crust followed by the most creamy sweet egg layer. Pão De Ló De Ovar Cruz is a bakery open to the public where you can buy a box of this delicacy and if you're lucky watch it being made. Yummy!

Tuesday - Saturday: 12h00 – 15h00/19h00 – 23h00, Monday: CLOSED
Rua Júlio Dinis 53, 3880-238 Ovar, Portugal.
40º 51' 34.7" N | 08º 37' 38.7" W
+351 256 587 617

Restaurante Oxala

Restaurante Oxalá

Located on two floors, this upmarket restaurant delivers on quality every time. When you first arrive you spend time in the foyer, where you can enjoy an aperitif, some appetisers and choose your meal. Once your table is set upstairs you benefit from the delights listed on their menu. Seafood is their speciality and is freshly caught each day. Service is professional yet warm and welcoming. There's also a large choice of wines to round off your meal perfectly.

Tuesday – Sunday: 12h00 - 16h00/19h00 - 23h00, Monday: CLOSED
Rua Familia Colares Pinto, 3880-163 Ovar, Portugal.
40º 51' 09.5" N | 08º 39' 32.8" W
+351 256 591 371 | | Website

Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport Porto is 37.1km (23.1 miles) North of Esmorz and 49.3km (30.6 miles) North of Ovar Website


From Porto take the Aq South before joining the A44. Continue South and join the A29 (IC1)


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Both Esmoriz and Ovar have regular Urban train services to and from Porto: • Linha de Aveiro Urban trains (Comboios Urbanos) to and from Porto Timetable

Comboios de Portugal Website

• Transdev: Website
• Rede Expressos Website