Brightly-coloured decorative tiles have been used throughout Portugal since the birth of the nation, making up everything from immense religious scenes covering entire walls of churches to simple geometric patterns on the back of park benches. It was the Moors who introduced the craft in the eighth century – the word derives from the Arabic al-zulecha, meaning “small stone”. Less studied than stained glass, less famous than frescoes, many azulejos are handcrafted works of art, though even mass-produced factory items add flamboyance to otherwise dull buildings. You’ll find them all over the country – on churches, houses, cafés and shops, even motorway bridges and metro stations. The Museu Nacional do Azulejo in Lisbon is dedicated to them, or you can marvel at the ingenuity and adaptability of the art while catching the train at Pinhão station, spending the night in the Palácio do Buçaco or visiting the church of São Laurenço in the Algarve.

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The 10 best beaches in Portugal

The 10 best beaches in Portugal

For many travellers, Portugal is synonymous with images of golden sun-baked beaches. And with a generous 1700 kilometres of coastline, there’s enough sand for…

20 Jan 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Undiscovered Portugal: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Undiscovered Portugal: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Although Portugal is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, it is surprisingly easy to get away from it all and escape the crowds. Most people hea…

17 Jan 2017 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
What’s all the fuss about Lisbon?

What’s all the fuss about Lisbon?

Those in the know have been quietly enjoying Lisbon’s charms for years, but the city is currently having a bit of a moment. In recent times, it’s seen the o…

12 Jan 2017 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
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