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In Roman times, Aveiro was known as Aviarium, which in Latin means “gathering of birds” due to the large number of birds inhabiting the city’s lagoon area. Today, Aveiro is known for being one of the largest metropolitan areas in Portugal (when associated with nearby Ílhavo). It’s also known as the “Venice of Portugal,” as its city is crossed with canals on which boats called barcos moliceiros ferry passengers to and fro.

Aveira’s fortunes have always been tied to the Ria (estuary) and the sea. In contemporary times, the Ria is linked to Aveiro via three canals: the Canal das Pirâmides (marked at its entrance by two stone pyramids), which flows into the Canal de São Roque, and the Canal do Paraíso. Travelers may want to book a tour or plan one of their own that familiarizes them with canals, as they are major avenues of transit and can be overwhelming to first-time visitors.

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