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Where to see pretty traditional Portuguese tiles

  • Porto's traditional Portuguese tiles

Portuguese azulejo tiles are part of the country’s history and travelers usually enjoy coming across the quintessential blue and white, and occasionally gold, façades and walls. The tiles are a heritage of the Moors occupation of the peninsula, the word azulejo meaning “small polished stones” in Arabic, and it is in Portugal that it flourished the most. They are usually in geometric shapes or in ornate drawings depicting events of the country’s history and religious creeds. Porto is an excellent city to see the tiles and you can find wonderful examples at the following sites: Capela da Alma, also called Capela de Santa Catarina, on the corner of pedestrian Santa Catarina and Fernandes Tomás streets (very convenient after some coffee and pastries at the Majestic); just blocks away is Igreja Santo Idelfonso, one of the least known of the azulejos churches but equally beautiful, located at Batalha Square; São Bento train station, with its stunning inner walls just before the train platforms;  the Cathedral Sé do Porto has cloisters with arched corridors and walls covered in blue and white tiles; Igreja do Carmo, one of the most beautiful churches in town and conveniently very near Clerigos Tower.