The phrases above are a few reasons why I’ve called Aveiro, Portugal, my home for a little bit more than a year, this north-central city is known for its bountiful fishing, seaweed harvesting, and ongoing salt production. Aveiro’s canals and colorfully painted Moliceiro boats led to its marketing moniker as the “Venice of Portugal.” Yet, with its art nouveau architecture, Aveiro is increasingly gaining a reputation as a sustainable city, one that is technologically and digitally innovative.
Aveiro has a vibrant migrant community. There’s a strong presence of Brazilians, Venezuelans, and those from Eastern Europe, along with a growing African and Indian population. A city of just under 80,000 residents, it is smaller than the more popular Portuguese cities: Lisbon (over 3 million), Porto (exceeds 1 million), and more than 450,000 people spread across the southern region referred to as the Algarve. Despite its size, Aveiro lacks very little. It boasts great healthcare, a strong educational system (the University of Aveiro ranks in the top 10 universities in Portugal), and award-winning restaurants. One can easily find great shopping here as well as natural habitats for walking, riding, and exploring.
Behind the surface of its touristic draw, Aveiro has a deep sense of community. Living here since October 2022, I have sensed and experienced a welcoming embrace that sparks more of my love for the city and Portugal as a whole. I landed in Portugal, sight unseen, amidst the pandemic in January 2021. I have witnessed the nation’s growth, spurred by visitors, adventurers, curious-seekers, nomads, and retirees moving here. While I enjoyed living in Lisbon (Principe Real) and Monte Estoril (Cascais district), something was missing for me. At the time, I didn’t realize that my 3-day visit to Aveiro, in Spring 2022, would result in my finding that missing link.
I see Aveiro as a place for opportunities to evolve, specifically for entrepreneurial-minded African Americans. Beyond hair services by and for black people and a few pop-up African restaurants in the city’s outskirts, having a niche that could further enhance Aveiro could be an asset for the burgeoning or established businessperson of African descent.
Aveiro and its neighboring towns and municipalities could be a nice respite from the big city woes, or it could be your new home. I welcome you to visit and see for yourself!