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BlogDestinationsAdmiring azulejo tiles in Lisbon, Portugal
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Admiring azulejo tiles in Lisbon, Portugal

Jun 22, 2015 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

There were a lot of things I was looking forward to on my trip to Portugal - enjoying some port wine, escaping the fussy New England weather and meeting some of our lovely travelers, just to name a few—but if there is one thing I’ve learned from traveling it’s that sometimes the best part of a trip is something completely unexpected. For me, the beautiful tiles in Portugal were among the most surprising and delightful parts of the journey.

Azulejo tiles Portugal

What is azulejo?

Azulejo is a type of ceramic tile that is both beautiful and functional. This type of tile is used to decorate buildings and also protect them from the region’s harsh humidity. Inside homes, the painted tile even helps regulate temperature. The tiles are often decorated with scenes from Portugal’s history and highlight important cultural aspects.

Stock exchange in Lisbon, Portugal

Detailed patterns

I particularly loved the pattern of the tile inside the Stock Exchange Palace in Portugal. The colors are gorgeous and the design is incredibly intricate.

Sintra National Palace, Portugal

Beautiful colors

These pretty blue and green tiles are inside the Sintra National Palace. I loved the pattern and how bright the colors still are hundreds of years later.

Cobblestone streets in Portgual

Along the streets

Although this picture is not the azulejo tiles, I also loved the cobblestone streets in the small towns we spent time exploring in the Algarve region.

The colorful tiles inside Sintra's ornate palace

Stocking up

I brought back some small decorative tiles as souvenirs for my friends and family. When it comes to buying souvenirs, the more authentic, the better. I bought mine from a tiny store in Evora that was far off the beaten path, and run by one woman who handmade everything. The tiles are gorgeous and mean so much because she paints them all herself!

Insider tips

It’s best to buy tiles that already have small hooks on the back so you can easily display them once you get home. The other great thing about bringing home tiles for souvenirs is that they fit easily in your suitcase—you can wrap them in newspaper, put them in the middle of all your clothes and know they will arrive safely!

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About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

Discover the tiles of Portugal on tour

Portugal: Porto, the Algarve & Lisbon with Lisbon extension
9 or 11 days
92
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