Located about an hour south of Porto, Costa Nova is a cute beach town right on the coast of Portugal. Costa Nova is most easily accessed by car so would recommend renting a car in Porto or stopping in Costa Nova on a road trip through Portugal.
Trains run between Porto and Aveiro which is a town located about 15 minutes from Costa Nova. Aveiro is more inland and is known as the Venice of Portugal. If you choose to take the train, you still need to get from Aveiro to Costa Nova, but can get a taxi for the shorter distance.
Since Costa Nova is just a small beach town, you can get around easily on foot. If you plan to leave the beach town area and head over to Aveiro for meals, you may want to consider renting a car or plan to rely on taxis. As we only stayed here one night, we opted to stay in the beach town for dinner.
When visiting Costa Nova, your main options are to stay in Costa Nova in the beach town or stay in Aveiro. Aveiro has more going out at night with its larger variety of restaurants and bars, but Costa Nova has the beauty of being right on the beach.
Hotel in Costa Nova located right off the beach (5 minute walk) and close to the busier part of town (2 minute walk). It serves as a great home base and offers free parking at a street 1 minute away. Shops and different restaurants are also nearby.
Street with cute, picturesque colorful striped houses along the road
Spend a day on the beach relaxing and enjoying the water
Tallest lighthouse in Portugal sitting right along the beach. There is a long boardwalk that extends in the water in front of the lighthouse to walk on.
There are plenty of nice outdoor areas to run including right on the beach, along the beach boardwalk, on the street with the colorful houses, and into the town over called Praia da Barra where the large Lighthouse is located.
Enjoy a gorgeous sunset over the water and bring a picnic or some wine to the beach
This little town is known as the “Venice of Portugal” and is about a 15 minute drive from Costa Nova. It provides a good spot to walk around for an afternoon and grab a bite to eat. You do not need too much time here as we only spent 3 hours, including time to grab lunch. In the canals you will see some large boats that mimic the small gondolas in Venice. These boats provided tours in the canals if interested.
All throughout Portugal there are lots of buildings, houses, restaurants, etc with tiled walls on the side. Keep an eye out as they add a nice touch to the towns and are all unique.
Restaurant located right on the beach in Costa Nova with indoor and outdoor seating. The staff was very friendly and food was delicious. The menu included a variety of options specifically with nice seafood and fish selections. We were also able to purchase beer and wine to go and enjoy the beverages outside on the beach after our meal.
This restaurant offers some great Portuguese food and is an excellent restaurant located in Aveiro. We had a nice lunch here and seemed that the owner was also the waiter and the cook! It is a small restaurant, but the food was excellent and the interior is nicely decorated. We tried the shrimp, mussels, fish, jamon and wine and can recommend it all.
Try traveling in shoulder season if you have flexibility. We visited at the end of September, which was perfect as there were no crowds, but the town was not too desolate yet. The weather was beautiful, a nice temperature and lots of sun making for great beach day weather.
If visiting different areas of Portugal, consider renting a car to get from place to place. We rented a car in Lisbon and drove up to Coimbra where we spent one night. Then we drove from Coimbra to Costa Nova (~1 hour) and spent a night at the beach before ending our road trip in Porto.
Keep in mind that there is not much to do in Costa Nova aside from visiting the beach and the neighboring town of Aveiro. We found 1 day/night to be a perfect break, but could have done another beach day. That being said, we would not have wanted much more time here, but just depends on preference and vacation intentions.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks