Ria de Aveiro was formed in the sixteenth century as a result of a sea retreat and, later, of a building of coastal cords that originated a lagoon. It established itself as one of the most important and biggest geographical accidents of the Portuguese coast. But that would never have been possible without the existence of the Vouga River, which is born in the Serra da Lapa, more specifically in the Chafariz da Lapa, in Viseu. Along its route, the Vouga spreads wealth throughout the lands. But it is after passing the village of Cacia, in Aveiro's district, that its waters branch in countless low ground channels, where islands and islets coexist, initiating the formation of the Ria as we know it today.
The Ria, which is also the mouth of the Vouga river, is one of the most beautiful landscapes on the coast of Portugal.
Its length of 45 kilometers and width of approximately 11 kilometers in east-west direction, has an estuary that involves 11,000 hectares, of which more than six thousand are permanently covered with water. The only connection that exists with the sea is the channel that breaks the shoreline of the São Jacinto Barra, that also allows the access of vessels. The Ria, because it, by rejecting, also unites the lands into a big and strong unity of the people, plays a key role in the aggregation of the territory and its development.
This Ria, which seems to have thought of everything, safeguards the harmony between Man and Nature. Its entire watershed presents a great biodiversity. The fauna and flora make the region be reborn day by day. Migratory birds, which can easily be observed, are the example of Ria's natural power. Herons and flamingos dapple the waters with color and make the observers fall in love with them not only because of their natural gestures, but also because of their mirror reflection in the waters. The abundance of fish and waterfowl gives fishing and hunting lovers the ideal place to practice these activities. The myriad of channels through which the waters of the Ria wind up, allow the best conditions for water sports.
The salinas guarantee, as hundreds of years ago, the treatment and marketing of salt, inherent to man's survival. The same applies to the underlying agricultural fertility of the land, which could only be possible thanks to the water abundance. The man, however, grateful for the donations he receives, uses his respect and admiration for the Ria as a bargaining chip. If she gives him a lot, than he looks for her protection and promotion. He does so by expressing his admiration in handicrafts, in which he represents all the love and beauty of the Ria. And he also does so through territory protection and preservation programs, like the POLIS projects, which allow a further enjoyment of this territory.
From the Ria a number of sectors, vital to the region's development, were born and multiplied. The Ria, which divides the land, did so to aggregate the people more deeply, causing it to grow and develop urbanely, commercially and, of course, humanely. And the same happened with nature. Visit the Ria and become part of this family!