In the days before refrigeration, salting was commonly used to preserve fish for future consumption. Codfish has a low fat content, so it does not become rancid when salted. This trait enticed Portuguese fishermen to venture as far as Newfoundland in search of cod. Most of these adventurous fishermen came from a small town in the Aveiro region called Ilhavo.
The captains of the fishing boats moved to Lisbon, the place from where the boats departed. But they kept a vacation home on the banks of the Ria de Aveiro, the waterway where fresh and sea water mix. These homes are refurbished “palheiros,” the shacks painted with bright stripes where the fisherman used to store their equipment.
Other villages like Mira and Barra once had beautiful rows of palheiros. But these were gradually demolished to build modern homes. In Costa Nova, the traditional architecture was preserved. Large parts of the water-facing Marginal avenue have remained almost unchanged for the past 150 years. It is this postcard view of a time gone by that makes Costa Nova so enchanting.