Located just fifteen minutes from Aveiro by car, and about 30 minutes if you take the local bus that goes everyyyywhere, is the candy striped town beach town of Costa Nova. Costa Nova is truly one of the hidden gems of all of the Portuguese beach resorts and it’s a favourite with people who bring their motorhomes, particularly from the Netherlands, Germany and France, year on year. For me, Costa Nova is a chance to experience a seaside town that’s unspoilt by high rise apartment blocks and trashy shops. It’s charming, has an air of the 1950s about it, and is ever so pretty for a wander, even on a day when the sun hasn’t quite made it out.
Candy striped wooden buildings of all shapes and sizes line the main avenue through the town, standing out against the traditional tiled buildings that you see across towns and cities in Portugal. The cutest are the tiny ones which look like they’ve been crammed in where there was a tiny patch of land going spare.
There’s cafés and icecream parlours along the main avenue which are always busy. In summertime, there’s barely room on their terraces to grab a table and even in autumn and winter when the winds and rain pick up here, you’ll find people braving the elements to head to Costa Nova for a wander along the avenue and down to the beach to see the sand dunes and the waves crashing on the shore.
Costa Nova has a fantastic little market which sells incredibly fresh fish (you’re metres away from the sea in this place) and bread, fruit, vegetables,hams and cheeses that you can pick up as you arrive then head to the beach for a picnic.
Or, if you want someone else to do the hard work, check out their fish restaurants – they’ve got a great reputation in the area. Fish is normally sold by the kilo so you can choose exactly what you eat. Served with delicious boiled potatoes and a local vegetable mix called migas (cabbage, carrots, beans and tiny chunks of bread), fish here is top of the list for any meal.