When you picture Portugal in your mind, what do you see? Prior to our trip to northern Portugal in December, I had seen many wonderful photos, particularly of the main attractions — trams on steep streets, towering bridges, and historic sites such as Belém in Lisbon. I was excited to see these scenes in person and even happier to experience Portuguese culture expressed in art, architecture, and music as portrayed in the second post of my Portugal Instagram photos.
From our Gallery: Portugal Instagram Photos
Even a rainy day couldn’t obscure the colors and patterns of Porto facades. Ceramic tiles and wrought-iron balconies are common throughout Portugal. Notice the very narrow buildings on the right in the photo below. Wouldn’t you like to go inside?
An hour in the Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest district, was not enough to absorb it all. However, it was enough to experience the ambiance and enjoy the colors and decorations of homes, restaurants, and shops that line the steep narrow streets.
Guimarães has the honor of two prestigious designations in recent years — European Capital of Culture 2012 and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its history is long and includes that Guimarães was Portugal’s first capital in the 12th century, which is why it is referred to as “the birthplace of the Portuguese nation”. Pictured in this photo is one of the plazas in its medieval historic center.
The Viking Rivers Cruises’ “Portugal’s River of Gold” itinerary includes two live fado performances, one in Coimbra and another at Alpendurada Monastery in Bitetos. Pictured below is a singer at the monastery (now an inn) evoking the characteristic emotions of fado — longing, nostalgia, and melancholy.
Standing at the top of a steep street in the Bairro Alto district of Lisbon, we watched one of the city’s iconic trams climb the hill. Although graffiti marked all sides of the car, I was drawn to it. I especially like that the driver is visible in this shot. Unfortunately, we didn’t ride a tram while in Lisbon, but we did come this close anyway.
The tile facades of Lisbon buildings always grabbed my attention. In particular, what I liked about the scene pictured below were the simple, but bold pops of color of the flower boxes and the pink blanket hanging on a top floor clothesline.
There is also a Moorish influence on architecture and design throughout Lisbon, as captured in the photo of the facade below. We were just driving by when I shot this picture. I wish I had information on the building. When I posted this on Facebook, an observant follower noted the break in the pattern, bottom left. Do you see it?
I wonder how long it took to create this large artwork on the side of an industrial building along Lisbon’s waterfront pictured below. I love how with a limited selection of colors, the artist depicts so much depth and diversity.
The stone walkway of Rossio Square in Lisbon seems to have waves instead of flat stones, doesn’t it? Very cool effect, I thought. I loved spending time here by the fountains and monument in its tree-lined setting, surrounded by grand buildings. Since it was early December, a Christmas market was set up here, too.
Thanks to Viking River Cruises for sponsoring our “Portugal’s River of Gold” experience.