One of the defining characteristics of Portugal is its many masterful, colorful tiles (‘azulejo.’) Intricate tile work can be found all over the country in homes and churches, in streets, on walls — in all patterns, shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of the more delicate ceramic tiles are more like works of art, depicting Portuguese nature or historical events. Tiles are thought to have first been introduced into Portugal by the Moors, as early as the 14th century. They were imported from nearby Seville, until local production began to take place in the 16th century.
The National Tile Museum grew to become its own independent museum with an impressive display of tiles through the centuries, presented in chronological order. Visitors are able to get close up to the decorative tiles, and are able to see the incredible detail and craftsmanship in this cultural heritage of Portugal.
Portugal’s National Tile Museum is located at Rua Madre de Deus, 4. To get there, take bus 794 from Praca do Comercio. It’s open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm and entrance is €5 — although it’s free on the first Sunday of each month.