Azulejos Tiles of Portugal

By Kate Riley May 8, 2019

I just returned from my whirlwind trip to Portugal, I saw *so much* in the nine days I spent there, and I’ll do a recap post in the coming weeks of this magical country!

As you know, I’m always inspired by traveling to new cities and countries, for me the best thing in life is the intersection of travel and design. There was no shortage of ceramic tile inspiration in Portugal, in fact it’s one of the primary reasons I journeyed there, to witness it in real life and I was completely mesmerized by it. Every town I visited had its share of buildings covered in azulejos tile in incredible patterns, it filled me with such happiness seeing such beautiful tile around every corner.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, azulejos depicted religious or historical scenes, I saw many of them at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon and in churches and historical places. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Portuguese began using azulejos tiles in repeating motifs on buildings, and today they dominate the exteriors of small towns and larger cities. Azulejos tiles embellish not just the residences of Portugal but also churches, restaurants, fountains, and railway stations.

I captured dozens of tile images for my own inspiration files, here are some of the pictures I took as I strolled the streets that showcase the beauty of azulejos tiles on exteriors around Portugal. Notice the differences in the motifs, some are more modern geometrics, others are more intricate and old world, but all unique.


Beautiful aren’t they??

I had such a fantastic experience in this country, walking the streets of smaller towns like Albufeira and Aveiro and larger cities like Lisbon and Porto. The food, the wine, the people, the cafes, the vistas, they were all incredible! I’ll do a recap of my favorite experiences soon. :)


  1. Thanks for sharing these beautiful images! I have been to Lisbon but not ventured out further. I need to plan another trip to see more of Portugal. Very inspiring!

  2. lovely post Kate! I am so glad you went and toured some of the smaller places. I just bought an income property apartment in Tavira in the ALgarve and am returning soon to decorate it. The tiles are are magic!

  3. OK I am curious. I think it would be very cost prohibitive to cover an exterior with tile here in the United States is it that much less expensive in Portugal?

    • It depends on the tile and how much you would need! Isn’t it a stunning look?? Notice how in some images it’s the entire building but in others just the lower half. And I love the look on the porch in the last picture, just a wainscot style on the interior, perfect. :)

  4. Thanks you for speaking so nicely about my country and do please come back! :)

    • I can’t wait to return, I would love to see more of the country and do more wine tasting too!

  5. Portugal is beautiful. Thank you for showcasing the tiles and doors. I have a collection of photos on Pinterest that highlight the same thing. Thank you for sharing and I hope to visit there again one day!

  6. It warms my heart that you loved Portugal. I was born in Aveiro and lived there until 1983. I distinctly remember my grandma’s farmhouse facade was covered with beautiful blue and white tiles. I hope “we” made you feel welcome. There’s lot to see. The walls of the train station in Porto are a fantastic history lesson.

  7. I live in Charleston SC and we have beautiful houses here but OMG this is wonderful !

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