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Porto’s blue and white azulejo tiles // In pictures

Blue and white azulejo tiles in Porto, Portugal

Train stations aren’t normally too high up on my list of attractions to visit (excluding London’s gorgeous St Pancras), but walking past Porto’s São Bento station we were drawn in by the flashes of blue and white through the doorway. Inside we found ourselves in a huge light-filled hall, covered with floor-to-ceiling blue and white tiled panels. You can see this type of painted ceramic tile – called azulejos – on the fronts of churches and houses all across Portugal, but these were some of the most impressive we saw. There are over 20,000 individual tiles covering the station walls that make up pictures of battles, coronations and other events in Portuguese history. They were painted by the famous azulejo painter Jorge Colaço, who started work in 1905 and finally finished them eleven long years of painting later.

Blue and white azulenjo tiles in Porto train station, Portugal
Blue and white azulenjo tiles in Porto train station, Portugal
Blue and white azulenjo tiles in Porto train station, Portugal
Blue and white azulenjo tiles in Porto train station, Portugal
Blue and white azulenjo tiles in Porto train station, Portugal

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In pictures: Porto’s blue and white azulejo tiles – On the Luce travel blog

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  • Reply
    aBitofCulture
    April 1, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Refurbishing must be a nightmare!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      Imagine having to put them together in the first place too – wouldn’t want to get them mixed up!

  • Reply
    Andrew Petcher
    April 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I saw this on my first visit to Porto and went back on my second but the place was closed for a wedding!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      I’m surprised they are allowed to close the station! Lovely setting for a wedding though.

  • Reply
    KaZ
    April 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Wow.. this really puts train stations in Asia to shame! This looks so beautiful!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Pretty spectacular isn’t it – and so much work to go through for just a train station!

      • Reply
        KaZ
        April 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm

        Yes! It’s spectacular, thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply
    NuveaSantosCobb
    April 1, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I’ve always wanted to explore Porto and now this will be on my list!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      It’s a fantastic city, I only had a long weekend there but saw a lot and really loved it.

  • Reply
    Patricia Cuní
    April 1, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Gorgeous train station ever!!! I’ve never been to Porto but I’ve heard lots of good things about it. I’ll definitely make sure I visit that when I’m over 😉

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      I’d heard a lot of good things about Porto too and wasn’t disappointed – very good value city, friendly and lots to see. I’d like to get a bit further afield and see the Duoro Valley too next time (always good to have a reason for another trip!).

  • Reply
    love.antoinette
    April 1, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I always love stumbling upon unexpected, tasteful art! Doesn’t it just feel good? Like as if you’ve stumbled upon gold? This is beautiful Lucy! Thinking of adding Portugal to my travel plans in Europe this summer.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 2, 2013 at 11:36 am

      This was my first Portugal trip and I’m already planning to go back and see more of it!

  • Reply
    Darlene
    April 2, 2013 at 6:09 am

    This is amazing. I would love to see it! Great photos.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 2, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Thanks, it’s so lovely to come across something beautiful in an unexpected place.

  • Reply
    restlessjo
    April 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Fabulously vibrant photos, Lucy. Wonderfully captured.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Thanks, I remember seeing some of your lovely photos of tiled buildings so was hoping to spot a few while we were out there.

  • Reply
    Madhu
    April 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Great photos Lucy! What a spectacular station!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Such a lot of work to go to for a station too – it’s a shame there wasn’t a cafe or something where you could sit and soak it up.

  • Reply
    megtraveling
    April 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    That is a beautiful place – the tiles are gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Lovely isn’t it, and such a lot of work for a space the people just walk on through usually.

  • Reply
    Olívia Justo
    April 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    São Bento station is really especial! I live in Porto and I never get tired of going there 🙂 Just visit my blog about Porto, I also wrote about the station: http://www.portosweethome.com/porto-architecture-sao-bento-station-hand-painted-tiles/
    Congratulations on your work!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks, love your photos too, I didn’t actually get any shots of the outside!

  • Reply
    nuresma
    April 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Simply breathtaking!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      I’m quite in awe of all the time and craftsmanship that went into it!

  • Reply
    The Travelbunny
    April 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    What a stunning station and great shots too!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks, I loved the tiles buildings in Portugal, so colourful and much more interesting than the usual brickwork!

  • Reply
    Jessica of HolaYessica
    April 15, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Wow! I think that’s the prettiest train station I’ve ever seen.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      April 18, 2013 at 1:44 am

      Thanks, they really put in a lot of effort when you compare it with most train stations!

  • Reply
    Capturing the colours of 2013 | On the Luce
    August 21, 2013 at 10:01 am

    […] the walls of a museum, church or palace. But its setting actually a bit less glamorous – a train station in Porto. These painted ceramic azulejo tiles are found all over Portugal but these are some of the finest. […]

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