Embrace the Traditions of Águeda, Portugal

Ellie Swain

Senior Contributor

Nestled in the district of Aveiro, Águeda is a picturesque city in central Portugal famous for its colourful Umbrella Sky Project that brightens up the sky every summer, along with various other culture-rich traditions. From vibrant street festivals to mouth-watering local seafood dishes, the city is a haven for the culture connoisseurs out there. If you’re planning a visit to Águeda this summer, here are some must-see attractions and experiences to discover the culture and traditions of the city.

Visit the Umbrella Sky Project

Every summer, thousands of striking, colourful umbrellas are suspended above the streets of Águeda, creating a glorious canopy of hues upon which to feast your eyes.

The Umbrella Sky Project was created in 2011 by the Portuguese art collective Sextafeira Produções. It’s since become a popular annual event, drawing in visitors from all over the globe.

The pretty umbrellas are strategically hung to provide shade and shelter in the city centre, which is ideal for a stroll on a hot summer’s day. Grab your favourite person and camera and take some Instagram-worthy photos with this eye-catching kaleidoscope of colours as your backdrop.

Attend the AgitÁgueda Art Festival

Águeda is renowned for the AgitÁgueda Art Festival, a month-long celebration of music, art, and culture taking place every July. This year, the festival will be held from 1st to 23rd July.

The festival hosts a variety of performances and exhibitions by local and international artists and is a great way to immerse yourself in Águeda’s exciting cultural scene.

The AgitÁgueda Art Festival events are scattered throughout the city in different locations, including the historic city centre, the buzzy Municipal Market, and the charming Largo 1º de Maio square. Lose yourself in the live music performances, enjoy the street theatre shows, and become engrossed in contemporary art exhibitions.

The Festival is popular with visitors from all over Portugal and beyond, so be sure to book your trip reasonably far in advance if you’d like to attend.

Explore Águeda’s historic centre

Águeda's charming and lively centre is a treasure trove of architectural gems and historical landmarks. The city's attractive streets and squares are lined with colourful buildings that showcase a fuse of traditional Portuguese architecture and more modern detailing leaving you wanting to take plenty of photos.

One of Águeda’s most famous landmarks is the Igreja Matriz de Águeda, a striking 16th-century church featuring a white façade with intricate stained-glass windows and ornate decorations.

And if you’re looking for a place to relax and soak in the atmosphere as the world hums by, head to the Praça 1º de Maio, Águeda’s bustling central square. This popular hang-out spot is filled with many cafes and restaurants where you can sip on a cup of coffee or enjoy a traditional Portuguese lunch – such as the aptly named Café 1º de Maio.

Tuck into the local cuisine

When it comes to food, Águeda is best known for its seafood – think salty grilled sardines and hearty codfish stews. Another must-try is the famous Ovos Moles de Aveiro, a traditional sweet pastry made of egg yolks and sugar that are traditionally served in a wafer shell.

And let’s not forget the wine: Águeda is also known for its delicious variety of local wines produced in the nearby Bairrada wine region.

Sample these local dishes and wines at a variety of restaurants, cafes, and markets scattered throughout the city. One popular spot is the family-style Maria da Villa Restaurante, offering a cosy ambience, authentic Portuguese cuisine, and warm hospitality.

And the Municipal Market is a must-visit destination for any foodie to wander around taste-testing artisanal meats, freshly cooked fish, and flavoursome olive oil.

Discover Porto

Just an hour’s drive from Águeda is Porto, one of the country’s most popular cities for visitors. Porto’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to a wealth of prominent architecture, museums, and galleries.

If you make a trip, be sure to visit Ribeira Square, with panoramic views of the famous Douro River and the city’s iconic bridges.

And a visit to Porto isn’t complete without a tour of the famous port wine cellars found on the south bank of the Douro River. Learn about the rich history and production of port wine and sip on various vintages and styles.

Porto is also known for its cuisine, which fuses traditional Portuguese flavours with freshly caught seafood from the crisp waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Retreat from exploring Porto’s cobblestone streets with a luxe stay at the Intercontinental Porto Palacio Das Cardosas. This exquisite hotel has a vibrant history, serving as a monastery and later a palace. Today, it offers guests an exceptional experience with its outstanding service and gastronomic treats.

Set in the beating heart of this historic city of culture, Intercontinental Porto Palacio Das Cardosas serves as the perfect base for exploring all that Porto has to offer.

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