Arty escapes to Portugal


In association with: Visit Portugal

Awe-inspiring architecture and art works stretch from north to south

Portugal entices travellers for a multitude of reasons: pristine beaches, captivating cities and sumptuous cuisine, to name just a few.

But what elevates the appeal of this Atlantic gem even more is its abundance of art and design delights.

Stunning structures

For visitors to Porto and the North, recommend a three-day tour that takes in some of the region’s most breathtaking buildings.

Begin at the iconic Casa da Música, which opened in 2005, before heading across town to marvel at the curved white structure of the cruise terminal at the Leixões port. The rest of the tour encompasses everything from 12th-century monasteries to baroque convents.

Portugal copy

With its majestic castles and buildings cloaked in colourful tiles, it’s no surprise that Lisbon is thought of as an open-air gallery. On a tour of the capital, design lovers can uncover stories from the past two centuries amid a mosaic of building styles ranging from the contemporary Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology to the futuristic structures at the Park of Nations.

Inland, the Centre of Portugal region boasts many structures dreamt up by prestigious architects, including the sloped Elevator of Goldra Park and Carrilho da Graça’s pedestrian bridge that zigzags above the Carpinteira River valley in Covilhã.

Arty wonders

There is also a vibrant art scene that has produced famous contemporary names such as Bordalo II and Vhils.

The streets of Portugal are alive with art, none more so than in the Centre of Portugal, where Covilhã’s annual Wool Fest celebrates the city’s wool‑producing history with colourful murals, and the old buildings of Viseu are decorated with the work of creative street artists.

How to get there

Immersing in Portugal’s lively arty side couldn’t be easier. Non-stop flights take between two and four hours, and services operate from 23 UK airports. Both Lisbon and Porto are within easy reach of their respective airports, and travelling between the cities takes less than three hours by car or train.

To find out more about Portugal and its architectural tours, head to: 

Portugal logo

PICTURES: Turismo Lisboa/Aline Macedo; António Sa

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