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This coastal stretch is an example of rapid coastal evolution, with the actual estuary developing from a gulf separated from the sea only by a narrow strip of sand.
This coastal stretch is considered one the most energetic in Europe. The sandy strip that separates the lagoon from the ocean was occupied only by small fishing communities, but since the discovery of the coast as a recreational area these beaches have become tourist destinations for people from the region, especially from since the 50s. 


The Vagueira beach belongs to the parish of Gafanha da Boa Hora (Vagos) that, according to the 2001 Census, had at the time 2 277 residents, an increase of 9.6% since 1981. However, the number of households increased 234% in those two decades. It is essentially secondary housing, whose owners are from Coimbra, Viseu and other regions, as well as from abroad.
In this section of the coast coexist three distinct settlements – Barra very recent, with a mixed occupation of residences and second homes from suburban upper-middle class of Aveiro; Costa Nova do Prado - famous tourist town with an important fishing community, where fishermen houses have been converted into vacation homes for the upper-middle classes from Ílhavo; and finally Vagueira also primarily made up of secondary houses, but with a more recent occupation (especially since the 80's). The first two belong to Ílhavo Municipality and the last one to the Vagos Municipality.

Erosion and coastal defence works

The port of Aveiro and the successive works to stabilize the port and increase the jetties - in the 80’s, 90’s and another one being planned of over 200 meters - are generally considered an important factor of the coastal erosion that the beaches are facing further south.
The beaches have been protected with heavy infrastructure since the 70's – in 1973 a field with 11 groynes was built, which requires frequent maintenance. In 2006, two groynes were replaced and sand renourishments took place between Barra and Costa Nova with sand from the Aveiro Port. However these sand nourishments have not had much effect in Vagueira. 

Except for some situations in recent years in Barra, the Vagueira beach is the area where there is currently the biggest retreat of the coastline, with the recent disappearance of the beach during high tide (the sea touches the seawall placed there), a situation aggravated by the lack of access to the beach.

Under the Coastal Program Polis Ria de Aveiro, in addition to interventions in coastal defence works, works of restoration of sand dunes and the creation of artificial dunes have been carried out. The artificial dunes were emergency measures meant to protect the lagoon system from the advancement of the sea. The area south of Vagueira is particularly vulnerable, where the sea has invaded the river affecting farming lands.