Around the Hotel

What to Do / Visit

 

The Model Dunas D’Ovar is 30 km away from Porto and 45 km from Aveiro. The nearest beaches are Cortegaça (7 km), Esmoriz (8 km) and Furadouro (10 km).

It’s only 30 minutes away from two of the main Portuguese cities.

Despite the proximity,  we’re able to offer a tranquil and quiet accommodation. Between city and nature, there are plenty of good reasons to explore the region.

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Ovar Beaches

2 March

One of the greatest attractions close to Dunas are the beaches of Ovar. The closest is Cortegaça Beach, followed by Esmoriz and Furadouro.

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Ovar

2 March

The historical centre of Ovar is a live museum of the Portuguese tile

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Santa Maria da Feira

2 March

The Castle of Santa Maria da Feira is one of the best-preserved in the country and a fine example of Portugal’s medieval war architecture.

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Aveiro and Costa Nova

2 March

Known as the Portuguese Venice, Aveiro lies a mere 40 minutes of the Dunas Motel and we’re sure that it is the perfect setting for a romantic walk.

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Espinho

2 March

The Espinho Beach allowed a fishing community to thrive and become a modern, dynamic city capable of drawing tourists from all over the world.

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Porto

2 March

The Dunas Motel is less than 50 km from what is considered the “capital of the North”.

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Ovar Beaches

One of the greatest attractions close to Dunas are the beaches of Ovar. The closest is Cortegaça Beach, followed by Esmoriz and Furadouro.

Furadouro Beach

One of Ovar’s most popular beaches and the most sought after during the Summer months. It’s home to a strong fishing tradition, surrounded by dunes, plants and, like Esmoriz, walking trails to receive those who pay a visit.

It’s one of the most popular beaches amongst surf-lovers, but its surroundings have infrastructures that can please any sports fan. At Furadouro, you can try skeet shooting, rent jetkis, sailing boats or fishing boats.

Esmoriz Beach

The Esmoriz Beach is very close to Dunas and it’s a place where you can go to relax in the sand or practice sports – and because it’s surrounded by walking trails, you can walk, jog or cycle.

There are a total of 1000 km (621 mi) of walking trails where you can discover all the region, do some birdwatching or enjoy its natural lagoons.

Fans of water sports can rent 2,3 or 4-wheeled motorbikes to explore the area of Esmoriz, do paragliding or horse ride. Those who appreciate hunting or fishing can also engage in these activities, but should remain aware of the authorized areas and seek information about species that are under protection.

Furadouro Beach

Esmoriz Beach

Cortegaça Beach

Only 7km away from the Dunas Motel, Cortegaça is a wide sandy beach, but its waves are what really makes it popular amongst surfers and bodyboarders. It’s one of Ovar’s beaches that displays a ‘blue flag’, which is a testament to its quality.

Maceda Beach

Despite its enormous natural beauty, Maceda is one of the quietest beaches in the area. This is  a place where you can enjoy a walk by the sea with your better half in total privacy.

Cortegaça Beach

Maceda Beach

Torrão do Lameiro Beach

The sand dunes that rise from the shore contrast with the pine trees that surround them. Despite being a fishing area, this is a calm and largely quiet beach, ideal to play on the dunes!

Areínho River Beach

This is a river beach located at the Aveiro Lagoon , in the arm that extends from Aveiro all the way to Ovar. The waters are usually calm and there is a wide green area, which makes it one of local’s favourite beaches.

Torrão do Lameiro Beach

Areinho River Beach

Ovar

 

The historical centre of Ovar is a live museum of the Portuguese tile.

 

The houses sport fronts with tiles from the 19th and 20th centuries, but the most impressive building might be the Válega Church (a mere 10 km/ 6 mi from our motel), which is completely covered of tiles that depict religious imagery.

 

Apart from its beautiful tiles, Ovar is also the stage of events such the Ovar Mardi-Gras, one of the biggest in the country, and sports events such as the Ovar Half Marathon. Finally, those who visit the city cannot miss the chance to try the famous (and superb!) Pão de Ló de Ovar.

Carnaval de Ovar

The Carnaval de Ovar is Portugal’s most famous Mardi-Gras. The first accounts of these festivities date back to the 19th century – but the event has certainly changed throughout the years, and it is now associated with joy, music and a sea of colours. The foreign influences are mostly felt during the parade of the local samba schools, which usually draws hundreds of people to the city. In 2017, Ovar’s Mardi-Gras lasted for more than 20 days and its activities extended to all age groups. The headliners for the 2018 edition haven’t been announced yet, but you can check for updates at the official website.

Santa Maria da Feira

 

The Castle of Santa Maria da Feira is one of the best-preserved in the country and a fine example of Portugal’s medieval war architecture.

 

Although the castle is Sta. Maria da Feira’s greatest attraction, the city also has the Europarque, an compound that includes an important congress centre, an Oncological Medicine facility and the Visionarium – Science Centre. The Visionarium is a space where visitors can explore the Earth, Matter, the Universe, Life and Information (suitable only for Portuguese speakers).

 

 

Viagem Medieval

The Medieval Journey is the biggest historic recreation event in the country and one of Europe’s greatest. The centre of Santa Maria da Feira, whose main landmark is the extraordinarily preserved medieval castle, serves as the stage. The main theme changes from year to year, but it is always centered around the Europe of the 13th and 14th centuries, plagued by the Black Death, strong succession crises and wars in several fronts. In 2018, Santa Maria da Feira’s time machine will run again from the 1st to the 12th of August: check for more info at the official website.

Aveiro and Costa Nova

 

Known as the Portuguese Venice, Aveiro lies a mere 40 minutes of the Dunas Motel and we’re sure that it is the perfect setting for a romantic walk.

The water channels that extend throughout the city are populated by boats called “moliceiros”: why don’t you take a ride to explore the 5 main channels? The Art Nouveau architecture dominates the façades, and in fact this style is so renowned in the city that it boasts an Art Nouveau Museum with a marvellous Tea House.

Aveiro is also well-known for its local delicacy, the Ovos Moles de Aveiro. There are also the tripa de Aveiro and the bolacha americana, which you can savour near the seashore at Costa Nova and Barra. Or you can opt for a total different experience, visit a saline and see for yourself what ‘flor de sal’ (a gourmet salt)  is all about.

If you’re really interested in exploring the region, then you must really cross the lagoon to reach Ílhavo. Walk all the way between Costa Nova and the Barra Beach to spot the iconic striped houses (originally the were warehouses for fishing gear, but now they are the biggest landmark of the area). Visit the fish market and enjoy the variety of sea fruits the lagoon has to offer.

 

Birdwatching em Aveiro

 

The Aveiro Lagoon is a unique ecosystem for bird-nesting, which attracts hundreds of birdwatchers to Aveiro. The area surrounding Vouga’s delta (Aveiro, Ílhavo, Estarreja and Ovar) is the natural habitat of dozens of species that we can rarely observe from up close in other areas of the Iberian Peninsula or indeed in the European continent.

The seabirds that we can find all along the Aveiro Lagoon in the Winter time are the pectoral sandpiper, he common ringed plover, the pied avocet and the spotted redshank. In the Reserva Natural das Dunas de São Jacinto (Natural Reserve of São Jacinto Dunes) and at Pateira de Fermentelos (Fermentelos’s Lake) you can find anatidæ such as the northern shoveler, the widgeon and the teal. Besides, you can also find other species which prefer aquatic habitats, such as the flamingos, the spoonbills, the glossy ibis, the sea hawk or the bluethroat. In the Summer season, you’ll find nesting birds like the white stork, the purple heron, the zitting cisticola or the cetti’s warbler.

There are several companies whose main goal is guiding visitors through the enormous biodiversity of the Aveiro Lagoon, but you can also discover it for yourself by following the walking trails in Salreu, Estarreja or at the Natural Reserve of São Jacinto. For more info, you can check the Tourism Centre’s guide to Birdwatching.

Espinho

 

The Espinho Beach allowed a fishing community to thrive and become a modern, dynamic city capable of drawing tourists from all over the world.

The turning point came in 1942, when the Solário Atlântico Pool was built, but the since has also seen a boom in arts venues: we highlight the Art and Culture Forum, the Multimedia Centre, the Multifunctional Nave and the city Auditorium.

These days, Espinho has festivals and cultural events for every taste, but the heart of its nightlife is still the casino. It’s just 25 minutes from our motel: are you feeling lucky?

Porto

 

The Dunas Motel is less than 50 km from what is considered the “capital of the North”.

 

The Invicta City has something to offer to all travelers: for the foodies, there is Port wine, Francesinha sandwiches and various delicacies arriving from the north of the country; as for those looking for art, the city now has cultural centers such as the Serralves Museum and the Casa da Música.

 

But what does not leave anyone indifferent is its Historic Center, considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The bourgeois streets of Cedofeita extend to the Clérigos Tower and descend to the magnificent Avenida dos Aliados. From there, the traditional streets of the Sé parish lead to the vibrant Ribeira, where the Rabelo boats sail and the D. Luís bridge rises above any other. For those who visit Porto in the evening, it is essential to stop in the area of Galerias de Paris to find the trendy bars in the city.

 

If you are a sports fan, do not miss a game at Estádio do Dragão, the stadium of Futebol Clube do Porto, or at Estádio do Bessa, the home of Boavista’s Panthers. Who knows, it may be derby night!

What to Visit in Porto?

 

 

Noite de S. João

The biggest party in Porto is São João’s night (lit. Festival of Saint John), between the 23rd of June and the 24th. The locals call it the “longest night of the year” and for good reason. Traditions include throwing small hot-air balloons, writing rhymes in basil plants, eating grilled sardines and “hammer” people’s heads with leek – nobody stays at home (not even babies!) and the energy levels are high everywhere. In the last few years, the City Council has also sponsored some music shows.

 

 

Casa da Música (lit., House of Music) is the iconic piece of Porto 2001 – European Culture Capital. The House sets itself apart not only for its excellent cultural agenda, but also for the eccentric architecture of Rem Koolhaas, who created dozens of distinct spaces in its interior. Check their agenda before coming to Porto.

 

 

Mercado do Bolhão

The Bolhão Market is the last survivor of Porto’s typical markets and it will be going through repairs until the Fall 2018. Explaining Bolhão is impossible – you have to visit it and taste the local produce, as well as hear the vendors’ voices that echo through the stalls.

 

 

Torre dos Clérigos

The Clérigos Tower was developed by Nicolau Nasoni and it became a symbol of the city as soon as it was built in the 18th century. With a height of 76 meters (almost 250 ft.) and 240 steps, it has one of the best viewpoints to the city. On occasion, it remains open until 11 P.M.

 

 

Aliados

The Aliados Avenue opened to the public in the beginning of the 20th century and it quickly became the city’s favourite. Buildings with incredibly decorated façades populate both sides of the street, whereas the City Council steals the spotlight on the top.

 

 

São Bento Train Station

Those who walk from Aliados to Ribeiro shouldn’t miss the São Bento Train Station. Originally planned to be the city centre’s station, the main hall was heavily decorated with tiles that depict ordinary scenes from Minho, Trás-os-Montes, Beiras and the Douro Valley.

 

 

Ribeira

The ‘Ribeira’s is one of the most typical areas of the city and no tourist visiting Porto should miss it. The colourful house fronts hide dozens of bars where you can have a drink or a snack. But, beyond a doubt, the best part is the amazing view over the Douro river and the D.Luís bridge.

 

 

Wine Cellars in Gaia

Despite their location at the other side of the river (in the city council of Gaia), the wine cellars are one of the main attractions in Porto. Make a tour and taste the best wines Portugal has to offer: they’re exported to the four corners of the world, but you can taste them right where they’re aged!

Gastronomy

 

Those who visit the North of Portugal shouldn’t miss out on the delicious dishes the region has to offer. Even though there are a plethora of dishes you can try, we highlight those that you shouldn’t go home without savouring. Bon appétit!

 

 

Tripas à Moda do Porto (Porto Tripes)

The “tripas à moda do Porto” was one of the city’s most typical dishes. Legend has it that, during the Era of Discoveries, the population gave all its meat to the sailors and kept only the tripes to itself. The dish contains several kinds of meat, tripes and white beans.

 

 

Francesinha

There is no translation for the ‘francesinha’, a local sandwich whose literal name is “little frenchie”. This is a dish you can’t try anywhere else and that always conquers those who try it. The original francesinha was made at the Regaleira restaurant, but today which place has its recipe: the secret is the sauce!

 

 

Bacalhau

There are about 1001 ways to cook cod, or so Portuguese chefs claim. Both ‘Bacalhau à Zé do Pipo’ (with mashed potatoes and mayonnaise) and ‘Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá’ (with potatoes, onions, egg and olives) originated in Porto. ‘Bacalhau à Narcisa’, also called ‘Bacalhau à Braga’ (the city where it originated) is also quite popular in Porto’s restaurants.

 

 

Grilled Fish

The Portuguese connection with the sea is as old as the country’s history. You can try the “World’s Best Fish” at Matosinhos (a suburb of Porto) or search for grilled fish in Aveiro – in either place, it’s common to serve fresh fish grilled and seasoned with nothing more than salt from the lagoon.

 

 

Clams, Mussels and Sea Fruits

Apart from fish, the Portuguese are also quite masterful in the art of cooking sea fruits, which might come from the lagoon or from other places along the coast. We highlight the Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (Clams with garlic and lemon) and any sea fruits that are in season.

 

 

Leitão à Bairrada (Bairrada Piglet)

If you travel a bit south from Motel Dunas, you’ll arrive to Mealhada, also known as the home of the famous Bairrada Piglet. First, it is seasoned with the salt and black pepper paste; then, it is cooked for several hours until the meat is soft and juicy and the skin gains a gold-like colour. The sauce has a secret ingredient that is unknown to the rest of the country.

 

 

Traditional Portuguese Sweets (Conventual Sweets)

Those who have been to Aveiro but haven’t tasted its “ovos moles” (literally, “soft eggs”) cannot say they truly know Aveiro! As many other sweets from the region, this delicacy was developed in convents by nuns who used eggs and sugar as the main (and sometimes sole) ingredients for their recipes. These eggs often take the shape of shells, whelks, fish, clams or other sea figures; the exterior is made of communion wafers. As you bite into it, prepare yourself to be surprised by a delicious egg yolk crème.

 

In Ovar, it’s impossible not to mention the Pão de Ló de Ovar (literally, “Ovar’s sponge cake). But, unlike most sponge cakes that we’re used to, this has a light, soft, even creamy dough, which is then completed with a moist exterior.

The conventual sweets made from eggs and sugar exist throughout the region, so you can also try Castanhas de Ovos Moles (Egg Chestnuts), Moliceiros de Ovos Moles (Egg Boats), Telhas de Amêndoa (Almond Tiles), Trouxas de Ovo (Egg Pastries) and many others that you’ll surely find at local delis.

 

 

Tripa de Aveiro and Bolacha Americana

The “tripa de Aveiro” is a typical sweet of the Costa Nova and Barra Beach areas, which are technically in Ílhavo. Despite its name (it means “tripe”, as you might have guessed already), this is actually a crepe-like dough filled with chocolate or egg yolk crème. The best places to try it stand by the seaside and prepare it on the spot. The same dough can be used to cook Bolacha Americana (American Wafer).

 

 

Wines

Portugal has several regions that are well-known for the quality of their wines. Porto wine is undoubtedly the most famous outside of the country, including in Britain. And despite its popularity as a dessert wine, the Douro wine region produces good table wines too. Furthermore, you can try wines from Dão or Alentejo: take the opportunity to match Portuguese gastronomy with local wines!