Azulejos Porto | 15 places to admire the Azulejo tiles in Porto

Something that makes Porto unique it’s the tiles, facades and walls. Walking through the northern city in Portugal, you will be amused by the beauty of its stunning buildings. This guide will show where to find the best azulejos in Porto. The tile works are everywhere, from iconic buildings to train stations like the Sao Bento terminal.

Most churches are embellished with blue and white tiles slihowing specific parts of Portuguese life and floral themes. Visit the beautiful Carmo church and the unique Capela das Almas or discover more hidden gems where to find fabulous Porto azulejos like the Igrea de Santo Ildefonso or da Misericordia Church. Visiting Porto, you can’t miss an itinerary of the ceramic tiles streets.

Check our section regarding Porto’s best souvenirs, with a detailed guide on where to buy azulejos in Porto. Are you ready for the best Azulejos Portugal tiles guide?

Torre dos Clérigos (Clérigos Tower), Oporto, Portugal

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This post may contain affiliate links or Sponsored Links (read our Cookie Policy), useful experiences that we love to suggest to you. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are really grateful) at no extra cost to you. Click on it will help us run this website for you, for FREE, funding our project, continuing to travel informing curious explorers.

How to get to Porto

As the second-largest city in Portugal (Lisbon is the first, check our itineraries), Porto boasts outstanding infrastructure that interconnects it perfectly to other parts of the country and even to most parts of Europe.

PLANE

Flying in Porto from an international destination, Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport is the most convenient place to land as it’s only approximately 6 miles from the city centre.

BUS

If you’re travelling from neighbouring cities within and even out of the country, such as Madrid, Lisbon, Bilbao, Malaga, or Toulouse, taking a bus can be a great alternative to flying. Porto has two main bus terminals; Casa da Musica bus terminal and Park of the Carmelitas bus terminal.

TRAIN

Porto has a pretty developed rail system, making it easy to transverse across the country and even from some parts of Europe. There are two main train stations: Campanha Train Station and Sao Bento Train station. The route is easy from Lisbon to Porto, served by fast train and smooth connections. Check the tickets, prices and timetable.

BY CAR FROM LISBON

When we visited Porto, it was just a day trip from Lisbon. We suppose to come back to the Portuguese Capital within the day. However, driving from Lisbon to Porto is friendly and easy, but it takes about 3 hours. We stopped on the way to Coimbra, Aveiro and some other places to admire the Portuguese countryside. You can still treat Porto as a day trip from Lisbon and admire the northern Portuguese tiles, but mind that over 300 Kilometres divide the two cities.

What you should know about the Azulejos in Porto?

Porto Street Photography
The Do Carmo Church is one of the most popular spots for Azulejos in Porto, is impossible to visit Portugal’s Northern Capital without enjoying the blue and white tiles adorning the facade of buildings and public spaces.

History of the Portuguese Azulejo tiles

We can trace back the history of Azulejo production back to the 13th century. Most of the Southern parts of Portugal were under Moorish rule, similar to the area of Southern Spain, Andalusia.

The Moors established their commands in Portugal, introducing the production of tiles to embellish their houses and Alcazaba. Looking at the semantics, Azulejo originates from the Arabic word ”az-zulayj, which might mean “Small polished stone”. However, many believe that the name comes from the Portuguese Azul, which means “light blue”.

Another great story behind the Azulejos in Porto, or better, the imported culture, comes from the traditions that the Moors took with it. At the start of the production in Portugal, the tiles were forbidden to portray human subjects, faces and silhouettes. This was because of Islamic law, which is why most of the first tiles only depict geometric figures and floral designs.

What are traditional Portuguese azulejos?

There are many ways the conventional Portugues azulejos evolved in the years. The typical azulejos are depicted tiles places to embellish private residences, public spaces, Governative and financial buildings, Churches and even streets.

It’s common to associate azulejos with Portugal; however, it is easy to find tiles in different variations all over Europe. The reason behind that is that azulejos or ceramic tiles are often used to protect buildings from agents. The history behind the azulejos is fascinating, similar, and connected with the rest of the Hibernian peninsula.

While traversing Portugal, you can find Portuguese Azulejos everywhere, from shops, train stations, beautiful cathedrals, viewpoints and other places.

  • Porto Cathedral (Se do Porto)
  • Sao Bento Train Station
  • Capela das Almas
  • Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
  • Igreja do Carmo
  • Igreja dos Congregados
  • Igreja da Misericordia
  • Praca Almeida Garrett
  • Praca de Gomes Teixeira
  • Praca Carlos Alberto
  • Casa da Musica
  • Banco de Materiais
  • Rua de Santa Catarina
  • Rua de Santo Ildefonso
  • Rua das Flores
  • Ribeira Negra Panel
  • Avenida da Boavista

Porto Azulejos Map

Where to find the best Azulejos in Porto

Sunset in Porto admiring the best azulejos in Porto. These can be found at Porto Cathedral or often so called Cathedral del Se of Porto
Porto landscape from the Cathedral of Porto at sunset

Porto Cathedral (Se do Porto)

Situated in the heart of the historic old town, Porto Cathedral is one of the most significant Romanesque monuments. Thanks to this sanctuary’s renovations over centuries, it boasts three different architectural designs – Gothic, Roman, and Baroque. Although the Cathedral’s construction commenced in the 12th century, the building was adorned with these blue & white tiles in the 18th century, making it host to some of the oldest collections of azulejos Porto tiles.

Sao Bento Train Station in Porto - Portugal, one of the most beautiful train stations in the world

Sao Bento Train Station

Embellished with over 20000 pieces of Azulejos tiles, San Bento Train Station is one of the most stunning train stations in the world.

The huge tile-murals depicting the life of the locals in the 18th century are the work of José Colaco, a renowned Portuguese architect and a Porto native. Serving as the central point where you can visit the city’s main attractions and the primary suburban terminal, Sao Bento is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a significant National Monument.

This site is known among tourists, and locals use this station for everyday commuting and expect it to be busy. Wake up early and head directly to Sao Bento Terminal to have the whole station for you. Between 6 am and 6.30 am, you might be able to snap some incredible photos of one of the unique tile works in Portugal.

(Photo on the side of the stunning Azulejos Porto Sao Bento, the unmissable spot in the city)


Best churches for Azulejo tiles in Porto

Capela das Almas | Unusual Porto Azulejos church

Probably one of the most striking scenes in Porto, Capela das Almas also known as the Chapel of Souls, is a neoclassical chapel established in the 18th century. 

Despite being erected in 1781, the tile-work was subsumed to the design in the 20th century.

This majestic building is unmissable, situated at Santa Catarina Street, especially its elaborate blue and white tiled façade. Capela das Almas’ exterior depicts the lives of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine.

St Ildefonso Church in Porto - Best Azulejos in Porto

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso is perched on a small hill close to the quaint Batalha Square. It’s a standalone building that makes its tile work comprising 11000 azulejo tiles even more imposing and noticeable from miles away. 

This Baroque-style church was established in 1739, but it was not until 1932 when the staggering tile work on the building’s exterior was done by Jorge Colaço, the same architect who did the Porto azulejo tiles at Sao Bento Train Station. 

The blue and white tiles at Igreja de Santo Ildefonso delineate the life of Saint Ildefonso as well as the Eucharist.


Igreja do Carmo

This is our favourite church in Porto, maybe even more than the Se Cathedral. Igreja do Carmo is a merge of two buildings from the 1600s and the other from the 17th century. The Baroque-style complex features neoclassical tiles and golden woodwork in its interior, while the exterior is covered by thousands of azulejo tiles designed by Silvestre Silvestri in 1912.

Standing close to the Carmelite church (Igreja dos Carmelitas), this church is hands down the best place to marvel at the lost art of azulejo tiles, especially if you’re looking for a less touristy spot.

The best place to take the perfect photo of the azulejos of do Carmo Church is from the side of Livraria Lello. Crossing the street, you can find the intersection of Praca de Carlos Alberto with Rua do Carmo and the whole side facade for you. This is definitely one of the most iconic photo spots of Porto.

Igraja do Carmo Porto

Igreja dos Congregados

Just across Sao Bento Railway station and close to Liberdade Square is this baroque church that dates back to the 18th century.

The most intriguing part of the building is the façade which is adorned with blue and white azulejos. The interior of this church is also quite ornate, and we suggest you step in to admire the masterpieces.

Attend masses on Saturday and on Sunday to admire the beautiful decor.

Igreja da Misericordia

Located in downtown Porto, in the historic Rua Das Flores, Igreja da Misericordia is off the trodden path and might not be on top of most tourists’ itinerary. However, this makes it a tranquil respite from the busy streets of Porto. This small church is situated next to the Museu da Misericordia do Porto.

Azulejos in Porto: Best squares to visit

Praca Almeida Garrett

Found in the heart of the historic centre of Porto, this square is the most picturesque spot in the city, and it’s surrounded by magnificent historic buildings with a tranquil 19th-century vibe.

The street is pedestrian-only, making it easy to stroll around at a leisurely pace. It’s opposite the Sao Bento Railway station, known as the Porto Azulejos Mecca for tourists. On the northern edge of the square, instead, you’ll find the beautiful Igreja de Santo Antonio dos Congregados.

Most beautiful places in Porto
Most beautiful places in Porto – Gomes Teixeira Square in Porto is a nice place to unwind and discover some of the best Azulejos in Porto and iconic places like the Do Carmo Church and the Harry Potter book store in Porto.

Praca de Gomes Teixeira

If you love Harry Potter, you’ll find this square and fountain interesting. Both the carved lion fountain and the nearby bookstore are believed to have been a source of inspiration for the Harry Potter books.

You will walk through this place while visiting the Livraria da Lello, one of the most enchanting places in Porto. Nearby the bookstore, crossing the street, there is a whole facade dressed up for you. We found this part of the city one of the most instagrammable places in Porto.

The square is just a stone’s throw away from the renowned Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas, one of the most famed places to enjoy the art of azulejos.

A whole facade ready for your photos, admiring the best Azulejos in Porto.

Praca Carlos Alberto

Praca Carlo Alberto is named after a king who lost his position of leadership and sought refuge in the ancient city of Porto. 

It’s a place of history and charm but, most notably, a central location from where you can explore the city’s most acclaimed attractions.

Casa da Musica

Casa Da Musica is a stunning concert hall situated in the city’s centre and an incredible place to enjoy the contrast between futurist architecture and traditional beauty. This is one of the newest areas of Porto, and despite not being wrapped into conventional blue tiles, you can still admire the details of the marble structure.

Inside the building, the VIP area, situated right above the main entrance, is covered with azulejos on the ceiling and the walls—worth a visit inside the Casa da Musica in Porto. Check the tickets.

For a free visit to Porto Azulejos, check the road where the Casa da Musica, Avenida da Boavista, features some of the most incredible Portuguese tiles in the city.

Banco de Materiais

Banco de Material is not your regular museum. Located off the Praça Carlos Alberto, The Bank of Materials probably hosts the most extensive collection of constructive and decorative elements from most historical buildings of Porto. 

Here you’ll find different types of azulejos but mostly the Hispanic-Arab type. You’ll also find cast iron and stucco.

Best streets in Porto for Azulejos

pathwalk - Lisbon - Italiantripabroad

Rua de Santa Catarina

Spanning 1500 meters, Rua de Santa is the most bustling centre in Porto, where you can go shopping, fine dining, and people watching. 

Slap bang on this street stands the salient decorated Capela das Almas and one of the most idolised cafés in Majestic. The entrance of the café has interesting art to admire. 

Rua de Santo Ildefonso

This small yet charming street leads to the striking Igreja de Santo Ildefonso. This piece of the city goes from the metro station 24 de Agosto for about 1 Kilometre toward the Santo Ildefonso Church. Some parts of the road offer a superb angle of the chapel of the same name with the backdrop of the blue sky.

The facade of the residential houses on both sides of the street is embellished with typical Portuguese tiles of various colours. On this road, you can understand how significant is the tiles in the local culture are, placed not only to decorate the buildings but also to protect the structure by agents.

Rua das Flores | Porto tile Azulejos

Since the 19th century, Rua das Flores has been lined with the most elegant cafes, souvenir shops, and restaurants. It is also nice to know that it should be a must on your “Azulejos Porto” itinerary.

The pedestrianized street leads up to Igreja da Misericórdia and the Museu da Misericórdia. Still, you can also spot azulejos tile work on some of the old buildings aligning the street—associate a stroll around this fabulous street with a visit to the nearby São Bento train station. Walking down the pedestrian street instead, you can reach another iconic spot of Porto, the Palacio da Bolsa, which is not tiled with beautiful azulejos but still an incredible Instagram spot in Porto.

Ribeira Negra Panel

Not the usual Porto Azulejos but worth mentioning, as unbelievable masterpieces. Ribeira Negra Panel should be placed in a Porto off the beaten path itinerary. Set on the beginning of the lower deck of one of the most striking bridges in the world, this series of modish panels were painted by Júlio Resende.

Unveiled in 1987 Ribeira Negra Panel is surprisingly contemporary. The tile work comprises 40 panels that depict the misery and lifestyle of the local community living by the river.

Avenida da Boavista

Stretching approximately 3.4 miles, Avenida da Boavista is recognised as the longest avenue in Porto. Although it started as a residential area for the affluent community in the city, this avenue has evolved into an economic and cultural hub.

With the establishment of the avenue dating back to the 18th century, some of the buildings lined up on either side of the road offer a beautiful display of Porto azulejos.

Where are the best places to buy azulejos in Porto

Bramica

Buying a souvenir to bring back home is excellent and a way to have unforgettable memories of a destination but creating one from scratch entirely changes the narrative.

At Bramica, you can learn the history of azulejo tiles and understand the process of making them with the help of artisans with over 20 years of experience.

Azul Cobalto | Best Porto Azuleos shop

In addition to a considerable collection of azulejo tiles, Azul Cobalto boasts a slew of handmade items and ceramics, making this place one of the best in Porto for unique gifts.

Today, the creative craft and design gift shop is part of the Portuguese heritage and culture, boosting incredible works that will keep alive lifetime memories. Enjoy the vast ceramics exhibition colourful tiles with a special Portuguese touch.

Azulejo workshop in Porto

For sure, one of the most interesting and fun things to do in Porto is an Azulejo workshop.
Grab your brush and let your imagination guide you. Reserve you spot here and immerse yourself in this alternative experience.

The best area to stay in Porto

Centro Baixa

Stretching between Avenida dos Aliados to Praça da Liberdade this area is the best place to stay in Porto if you want to be close to everything the city offers. Although Centro Baixa is seen as the local administration centre, it provides a lot. 

Some of the most famous attractions in the city, such as Church dos Clérigos, São Bento Railway Station, and Church of Misericordia, are within easy reach. 

Sipping a glass of Porto Wine on the riverside of Porto
A picturesque area of Porto, Ribeira is a Unesco World Heritage site, vibrant and iconic hot spot for tourists can offer some of the most enchanting azulejos and landscape views of Porto. Sipping a glass of Porto Wine on the riverside of Porto.

Riberia 

A UNESCO Heritage Site since 1996, Riberia is a fascinating place to stay, especially if you want to enjoy the Porto nightlife. The paved promenade offers a lot of outside sitting with incredible views of the Duoro River.

Miragaia

If you’d instead enjoy the laidback vibe in a secluded area in Porto, Miragaia is the place to be. Dating back to the 14th century, the narrow paved streets of this area are great to explore by foot.

When to Visit Porto, Portugal

Generally, Porto experiences a temperate climate throughout the year. However, if you visit between May and September, the weather is often lovely and warm with many suns plus popular festivals in the city are planned around these months.

But that also means a lot of other people will be flocking the streets of this city. So if you don’t mind occasional showers and slightly cooler temperatures, you can consider visiting Porto during the shoulder season.

Q&A Best Azulejos in Porto

Where is azulejos in Porto?

The best places to see azulejo tiles in Porto:
Porto ‘s cathedral 
São Bento Station
Igreja do Carmo
Casa da Música
Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
Capela das Almas

Why do Portuguese houses have tiles?

The primary purpose of Portuguese tiles is to protect the walls of houses and buildings with a different surface. Even if today tiles are mostly used for aesthetic reasons, these were instead used to protect and offer a waterproof and windproof glazed shell. Not only that, tiles are a barrier for the walls from damp and jump in temperatures. It’s also easy to find tiles inside the buildings, protecting walls of bathrooms and kitchens.

What colour tile do the Portuguese like to decorate their houses with?

Typically Portuguese houses are decorated with glazed blue ceramic tiles. However, it’s not always true, as mainly Porto is on blue Azulejos, while in Lisbon you can find tiles of every colour red, green, orange and more.

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Best azulejos in Porto Portugal
Places to admire the azulejos tiles in Porto Portugal

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