The surprising city of Ílhavo, located 6 km away from Aveiro, is a landmark of contemporary architecture and a stronghold of the codfish heritage. A land of brave sailors who played a major role during the Portuguese Discoveries and the codfish campaigns in Newfoundland, Ílhavo proudly exhibits its deep-rooted maritime tradition.
But this is also an exciting destination for bike and beach lovers, where travellers can find the most colourful beach in Portugal: Costa Nova, famous for its enchanting houses in stripes, along with the iconic Lighthouse of Barra beach. Let's unveil (some of) the secrets of Ílhavo!
Nominated for the European Mies van der Rohe Prize and considered by ArchDaily as one of the top 20 most spectacular museums in the world, Ílhavo Maritime Museum was design by the architects Nuno Mateus and José Mateus – Gabinete ARX.Apart from its architectural relevance, Ílhavo Maritime Museum has 3 main rooms: the Ria Room, where you can observe the traditional boats of the region; the Codfish Fishing room with a live replica of a boat used in codfish fishing in the ice-cold North-European seas and a room devoted to local people, deeply related to the sea life.
You must visit the Codfish Aquarium and see several codfish species swimming around. It is the first in the country and the ideal place to observe this interesting species with a closer look. The Codfish Aquarium is a must-see spot of the city of Ílhavo, which so intensely promotes the preservation of sea traditions. It will certainly be a very interesting surprise!
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Ílhavo City Library is located in the remains of the Manor Visconde de Almeida, a noble house from the 17th-18th century, later transformed and demolished. This outstanding project has the signature of ARX Portugal - Nuno and José Mateus.
The intervention focused on 3 main areas: Library, Chapel and Youth Forum. The public and urban character of the building was reinforced. The design of the reading rooms and youth forum, external to the manor, establish direct morphological relations with the surroundings.
The chapel, deprived of its most important decorative elements, like tiles, woodwork, tomb stones and furniture was restored in essence preserving all possible evidence of its lost past. The furniture and the new altar panels by Pedro Calapez, were designed in an unequivocally contemporary style, which rediscovers the typology of original polichromic work. The chapel has been reopened for religious service, just as it was before restoration.
An iconic architectural landmark of the city!
Conceived by the architecture atelier M2.senos - arquitectos, owned by the brothers Sofia Senos and Ricardo Senos, based in Ílhavo, the public toilets in front of the cemetery of Ílhavo are definitely the world's most famous contemporary toilets !
This totally unthinkable yet challenging project has been a reference in many architecture and lifestyle magazines in the United States, Brazil, Thailand, China, Canada and Sweden, for example. An abstract object: no doors, no windows, no sheds or porches. A must-see for modern architecture fans !
The parish of São Salvador, in Ílhavo, challenged the architects Sofia and Ricardo Senos to transform the old building which was huge and very close to the chapel. The goal now was to make it smaller and to free the chapel. The old building was demolished and a new one was born.
The idea of using ceramic tile coating came naturally. And it was evident: the ceramic tiles had to be green. The object should be more related to the natural elements, and less with the constructed ones, highlighting the church that is so closeby. To achieve this, to create a uniform and neutral object, the ceramic tile must coat the entire building, from the facades to the rooftop. This is a building without technology, which means that is the wind (strengthened by the north-south orientation) that dehumidifies and renews the air. All the interiors are white and have natural lighting through skylights, which reinforces luminous comfort.
The new building had 3 toilets for ladies, gentlemen and physically challenged persons, as well as small area for the gravedigger and his helpers, where they could rest have a shower or change clothes, or even keep their transport cart.LocationGoogle MapsSocial mediaFacebook
Costa do Sal - Boat Lounge Hotel is a new floating hotel and restaurant anchored in Costa Nova beach, in Ílhavo, next to the fishermen's wharf.
With an innovative concept, the Costa do Sal travels once a week along the Aveiro estuary, between Costa Nova and Torreira. Besides the 24 cabins available in the hotel, it will also have services open to the public such as the bar on the outside deck and the indoor restaurant.
The upper deck is particularly inviting for a sunset drink. Chef Tony Martins is in charge of the restaurant and for conceiving absolutely mouth-watering specialities, such as: oysters, shrimp tempura in coconut of codfish burger.
An enchanting place to discover in the colourful Costa Nova beach!
Caminho do Praião is both an echo path (5,5 km) and a cycling path (6 km), between Gafanhas da Encarnação and Carmo, in Ílhavo, following an old agricultural servitude path on the east bank of the Mira Canal of the Aveiro Lagoon. It is equipped with five resting areas, a bird watching post, several information and environmental awareness panels and anchors for small boats.
Besides the natural value - birds, amphibians and flora, which make it a particularly interesting place for walking and for contact with Nature, it is also possible to appreciate, along the way, oyster farms, old codfish drying sheds, the practice of agriculture and ancestral fishing activities but also the leisure activities of recreational boating and water sports practised in the Aveiro Lagoon, always with the skyline of the beautiful Costa Nova on the other side of the Channel.
It is also possible, during the journey or nearby, to get to know both Gafanha do Carmo and Gafanha da Encarnação. It joins the cycle path across the Ponte da Barra (and, from there, the cycle paths to the beaches, between Praia da Barra and Praia da Costa Nova, in Ílhavo, and Praia da Vagueira, in Vagos) making an interesting circular cycle path of about 20 km. In the municipality of Vagos, the Caminho do Praião becomes the "Caminho do Canal".
An active tourism enterprise based in Costa Nova beach, Ria Príncipe organises thrilling dolphin spotting activities in the region of Ílhavo!
The incomparable beauty of the Aveiro Lagoon deserves to be shared, explored, felt and appreciated. These are the characteristics that are at the basis of Ria Príncipe, the leading company of river cruises of the Aveiro Lagoon, in Portugal. For sport fishing lovers, Ria Príncipe has a fleet equipped with all the necessary equipment to provide a memorable fishing day.
Dolphin spotting is a very popular activity among families and children at the heart of a dazzling natural setting!