Where can you see Porto's most beautiful Azulejos?

If you've ever been to Portugal, you'll have noticed that not all buildings have plastered facades, but are often covered in earthenware mosaics. These veritable works of art can be seen all over the street, on buildings and indoors. These tiles are generally blue in colour and are truly the symbol of Portugal. This art form reached its peak in the 18th century, when almost every building was covered in them.

Today, azulejos are still everywhere and have become an emblem of Portugal. Holidaymakers love to use them as backdrops for selfies, or simply admire their geometric patterns and the scenes drawn on large frescoes in the streets of Porto. We invite you to take a look at the most beautiful azulejos in Porto and the best places to admire them during your stay.

Azulejo facade of a Porto church

- © strelkov73 /123 RF

History of azulejos ?

Azulejos are sets of earthenware tiles depicting geometric patterns and figurative representations. They are found throughout Portugal, as well as in Spain and Brazil. Azulejos first appeared in Spain, and more particularly in Andalusia, in the 15th century, and were introduced by the Arabs, who called them "al zulaydj" (small polished stone).

The first figurative elements were painted by Francesco Niculoso in Seville in 1500. Azulejos then spread throughout Spain and Portugal, where they reached their peak in the 18th century. Today they are part of living art in Portugal, and a museum in Lisbon is dedicated to them, with an exhibition of over 10,000 pieces. Azulejos stand the test of time because they are very easy to care for, and protect against damp and heat.

Magnificent wall filled with azulejos

- © RossHelen / Shutterstock

Where can you see Porto's most beautiful azulejos?

Igreja de São Nicolau

This church dedicated to Saint Nicholas stands opposite the Igreja São Francisco and the Jardim do Infante Dom Henrique. It is an old medieval church that has been a mixture of styles since it burnt down in 1758. It's not big, but it's hard to miss thanks to its facade decorated with blue azulejos with simple motifs. Admission is free and as there are much larger churches in Porto, this one is fairly quiet.

📍 Address: Rua do Infante D. Henrique 93, 4050-298 Porto

Opening times: Wednesday to Saturday, 9am to 12pm and 4pm to 8pm and Sunday, 9am to 10.15am.

Porto Municipal Library

As soon as you enter the library, you can admire the first azulejos with caricatures of historical figures. Then, in the old cloister, you'll find a number of frescoes dating from the 15th to the 18th century, a true museum of Hispano-Moorish artistic evolution. Access is free and the cloister gardens invite you to relax.

📍 Address: Rua de Dom João IV 2, 4000-296 Porto

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday 9am to 7.30pm and Mondays and Saturdays 10am to 6pm. Closed on Sundays.

Ribeira Negra fresco

This fresco was donated to the city of Porto in 1984 by the painter Julio Resende. Entitled Ribeira Negra, it depicts the daily life of the Portuguese in the district where it is located. This 54-metre-long work is well worth a visit for its originality, which stands out a little from the other azulejos visible in Porto.

📍 Address: Rua da Ribeira Negra, Porto.

São Bento station

Surely the most beautiful place to admire azulejos in Porto. There are said to be more than 20,000 of them in the "salle des pas perdus" in São Bento station. The frescoes depict trains and historical events in Portugal between the 12th and 15th centuries. They are signed Jorge Colaço.

📍 Address: Praça de Almeida Garrett, 4000-069 Porto

Opening times: Every day from 5am to 1am.

The Chapel of the Mes

No fewer than 16,000 earthenware tiles adorn the walls of this religious building. With its figurative religious elements representing moments in the lives of Saint Catherine and Saint Francis of Assisi. This emblematic site is photographed by thousands of tourists every year and can be found everywhere on social networks. The chapel also features some azulejos worth discovering.

📍 Address: Rua de Santa Catarina 428, 4050-317 Porto

Opening times: Monday to Friday 7.30am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 7.30am to 12.30pm and 6pm to 7.30pm.

Carmo Church

Rococo Baroque-style church with a beautiful azulejo composition on its façade dating from the early 20th century. Silvestre Silvestri designed the scene of the imposition of the scapular from Mount Carmel, and if you want to visit the interior, the little house next door and the catacombs, you'll have to pay €4.5.

📍 Address: Rua do Carmo, 4050-164 Porto

Times: Every day from 9am to 6pm.

Where can I buy tiles in Porto?

Never buy azulejos in the street as they are often stolen from buildings. You can buy them in the shops at :

Azul Cobalto located Centro Comercial Bombarda - rua Miguel Bombarda 285, Porto

⏰ Opening hours: Monday to Friday 12pm to 8pm, Saturday 11am to 8pm.

Prometeu Artesanato located rua de Mouzinho da Silveira 136, Porto

⏰ Opening hours: daily from 10am to 9pm.

Sleep in an azulejo-covered castle in Porto

Castelo Santa Catarina Porto
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