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Câmara Municipal de Ílhavo - Portugal (11634635135).jpg
Parque Henriqueta Maia - Ílhavo - Portugal (6950032669).jpg
Praia da Costa Nova - Portugal (25794953112).jpg
Centro Cultural de Ílhavo - Portugal (5679323569).jpg
From top left to right: The city council, the Henriqueta Maia Park, the Costa Nova beach dunes and Ílhavo Cultural Center.
Flag of Ílhavo
Coat of arms of Ílhavo
Coordinates: 40°36′N 8°40′W / 40.600°N 8.667°W / 40.600; -8.667Coordinates: 40°36′N 8°40′W / 40.600°N 8.667°W / 40.600; -8.667
Country Portugal
Intermunic. comm.Região de Aveiro
 • PresidentFernando Caçoilo (PSD)
 • Total73.48 km2 (28.37 sq mi)
 • Total38,598
 • Density530/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±00:00 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+01:00 (WEST)
Local holidayEaster Monday (date varies)

Ílhavo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈiʎɐvu] (listen)) is a municipality located in the centre of Portugal. The population in 2011 was 38,598,[1] in an area of 73.48 km².[2]

The Municipality of Ílhavo includes four parishes and two cities: Gafanha da Nazaré and Ílhavo (City).

General information[edit]

Capela de Nossa Senhora da Penha de França or Capela of Vista Alegre, a 17th century chapel[3]

Several stories have been gathered as part of the popular history of this city:

Traditionally, the local women — As ilhavenses — are famous for their great beauty. It is claimed the city was founded by Greek colonists around 400 BC to whom the beauty of "ilhavenses" women is attributed, but others state that the Phoenician settlers are the ones responsible for that.[4]

Ílhavo's nickname is "the city of the lamp" (a cidade da lâmpada). According to legend, one Sunday during Mass, one of the most important relics of the church (an oil lamp) was stolen in front of everybody and was never found. The myth continued given Ílhavo that nickname.


Administratively, the municipality is divided into four civil parishes (freguesias):[5]

Cities and towns[edit]

There are two cities in the municipality.

Civic information[edit]

The municipality day is Easter Monday.

City hall motto: "The Sea as Tradition".


Praia da Costa Nova

Seasoned by the salt and the sun, by maritime breeze and by the wild pine scent, the mood of Ilhavo's native people is happy, energetic, daring and creative. The daily working adventure, sometimes tragic, didn't erase the sweetness of these women and men, who, by knowing themselves privileged for inhabiting such a unique territory, full of scenic beauty and disputed by the land, the sea and the salted lagoon, on games of lights and tides, throw themselves to work and leisure, with the same energy, enthusiasm and pride for their culture and identity. Witnesses of that character are the Maritime Museum of Ílhavo, with its Codfish Aquarium, Santo André's Ship Museum and the Investigation and Entrepreneurship Centre, one of the most visited across the country, honouring all those who, in the past and the present, dedicate their lives to fishing, either at deep-sea – such as cod fishing – at the coast or at the lagoon, and even to riverside activities.

Of that same type is the Museum of Vista Alegre, yet today, a symbol for national excellence on the fields of creativity, quality and entrepreneurship. It reminds not only the industrial heritage of this factory, but also the path of its working community, living in that which is one of the biggest, oldest and still-working European industrial neighbourhoods, almost a mini-city, where there is a lot to learn and to live. Along with this relevant intangible heritage are the Cardadores, iconic figures from Vale de Ilhavo's traditional Carnival.

Such a lifestyle, from each one of the communities of this polycentric territory, is taken out from the gardens, streets and alleys into the cultural equipments… the “Casa da Cultura” is a second home for spectators and artists, a place to welcome the world, the “Fábrica das Ideias”, just as the industrial city where it is settled – Gafanha da Nazaré – produces and exports art, by being at the service of artistic creation. The “Laboratório das Artes - Vista Alegre Theatre” is a space aimed at thinking, research and experiment, by welcoming the most erudite cultural events, either classical or contemporary. Finally, “Cais Criativo” is a young and effervescent space in the summer, relaxing, just as the beach where it is located – Costa Nova, and introspective and inspiring during the winter.

Sailing, surfing, kitesurfing, canoeing or diving, apart from major water sports and other sport varieties, are the motivational poster of the estuary and the sea, natural amphitheatres for water sports, at a Municipality where bikes, hiking or sport practice at the various public fields, are part of leisure activities, which also includes relaxing at the charismatic beaches of Barra and Costa Nova.


Population of Ílhavo Municipality (1801–2011)
1801 1849 1900 1930 1960 1981 1991 2001 2008 2011
5 436 6 797 13 163 17 709 25 108 31 383 33 235 37 209 41 271 38 598

International relations[edit]

Twin towns - sister cities[edit]

Ílhavo is twinned with:[6]


Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  2. ^ Áreas das freguesias, concelhos, distritos e país
  3. ^ "Capela de Nossa Senhora da Penha de França - Vista Alegre". visitportugal.com. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  4. ^ "The South West to AD 1,000 (Regional history of England series No.: 8)
  5. ^ Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, page 552 59" (pdf) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Acordos de Amizade". cm-ilhavo.pt (in Portuguese). Ílhavo. Retrieved 2019-12-11.

External links[edit]