A short driving distance from Aveiro toward the ocean, you can discover a typical beach where the charm of many wooden houses with colorful strips is quite exceptional. If you can plan your visit, make sure not to miss the sunset or sunrise over Costa Nova, when the colors of the houses are dramatically showing. Beside the ‘haystacks’ (the name for these wooden stripped houses) Costa Nova is also one of the great Portuguese beaches for water sports, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Walking along these colorful houses felt as walking in a movie set for an urban/UTOPIA location. Bring your camera to have some picture-perfect spots. In the mid-19th century, this became a very popular beach, largely through the influence of the tribune and politician José Estevão, who built his own palheiro here (recognisable by its blue and brown stripes). It was in this house that he met with intellectuals and politicians, including the writer Eça de Queiroz.
Palheiros are the traditional houses built in this coastal region of Portugal, which provided shelter for colonies of fishermen, as well as for the machinery and animals that were used to haul the fishing boats onto the beach.
Initially, they were built on stakes to prevent the accumulation of sand blown there from the nearby dunes.
Towards the end of the 19th century when it became fashionable to bathe in the sea, the local fishermen began to rent out their palheiros in the summer season and the idea then arose to paint the outside panels of these wooden houses in bright colours.
In this way, they are reminiscent of the polychrome moliceiros, the boats used for harvesting seaweed on the Ria de Aveiro, all of which gives this coastline a brightly-coloured and quite unique appearance.