Portugal has quite a few resources in clay. This has made the country a great place to produce all sorts of ceramics, including vases, mugs and tableware. Portugal has already been making ceramics for hundreds of years. Some of its artists have even attained world fame. Portugal’s gold mine of clay deposits can be found in Caldas da Rainha, around one and a half hours car ride north of Lisbon. But it’s in Portugal’s capital Lisbon where the highest concentration of very unique, curated ceramic pieces can be found and purchased.
Already when you stroll around in Lisbon’s streets, you can see that ceramics and tiles are a huge part of Portuguese architecture. You can notice them on the buildings and sculptures all around the city. In ancient times, most of the tiles’ motives showed floral and other natural drawings. They have though evolved into very sophisticated pieces of art, with all sorts of shapes and nuances of colors.
Ceramic Shops Lisbon
In the streets of Lisbon, you can surely find the perfect ceramics for your home, whether you are more into simple, classic designs or are interested in more eccentric tableware that become a conversation topic at any dinner party. You are able to find everything that you are looking for at Lisbon’s charming ceramic shops.
Here are our top 5 recommendations for you:
- Cecile *M
Cecile is a local ceramic maker producing small batches and limited edition pieces. When you have your own idea of a unique hand-made ceramic mug, it takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to produce, for larger quantities timeframes may be longer. Cecile's ceramic shop in Lisbon is located here.
Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro was born in Lisbon in 1846. He became famous for its illustration work and quirky ceramic designs. He founded a factory in Caldas da Rainha, which continues to release stunning ceramic pieces today. His Lisbon shop near Alameda features a series of tableware and home decor pieces.Cerâmica S. Vicente is a family studio, which has existed for 12 years in the S. Vicente neighborhood in Lisbon. Come and be part of Cristina Pina's studio, where she works and sells as her pieces. The studio can be found here.
Ceramic shop Cerâmicas na Linha offers a large selection and some really beautiful pieces. Some of their pieces are priced based on the weight of the ceramic pieces, with prices ranging from €4 to €8 per kilo. Their shop is located here.
Caulino is a ceramics studio and shop based in central Lisbon, here. It is known for its workshops and exclusive works by recognized ceramists.
Portuguese tiles in Lisbon
Portugal’s famous ceramic tiles can actually be dated back all the way to the 13th century. The Portuguese name “azulejo” has Arabic roots which means polished stone. Strongly influenced by Persian design, these azulejos are mostly painted with geometric shapes, curves, lines and floral motives.
Apparently, the Portuguese had a fear of empty spaces. Because of this fear in their culture, the tiles had a functional purpose of covering otherwise blank or empty walls, thus helping them get over or deal with this strange fear.
Not only have the azulejos become a staple for the Portuguese to decorate their buildings, from churches, to bars and restaurants, and to ordinary homes, they are also used extensively in interiors.
If you want to purchase some Azulejos to decorate your own home, it’s easy to find tiles in shops across the city. However, it’s important to be aware of where you are purchasing your tiles from.
Here are our top 5 recommendations for tiles shops in Lisbon:
Sant’Anna is probably the oldest tile store in Lisbon. Every tile is made by hand, from preparing the clay to painting the details. Their factory is based here.
Their 2 showrooms are also based in Lisbon, one in Baixa-Chiado, and the other one in Ajuda.
Cortiço e Neto has an incredibly large collection of tiles so if you need to find a specific design, your chances are higher around here. Their catalog covers fairly common contemporary tiles, as well as rarer older ones. They are based here.
Even though this store is located in the heart of the touristic neighborhood of Alfama, its tiles are not to be mistaken with those of surrounding souvenirs shops.
Check it out here.
At Solar Antiques you’ll find old pieces for several thousands of €'s, but you can also purchase single tiles for as little as 10 euros. This family run shop goal is to help preserve the culture of azulejos so that future generations can still enjoy this typically Portuguese tradition. Visit the shop here.
Based in one of Lisbon’s most typical neighborhoods, Castelo, Surrealejos is indeed quite surreal and not at all traditional. Their azulejos are tiles with colorful animals, skulls and contemporary looking patterns that remind us of what things look like when we see the world through a kaleidoscope. Go and visit them here.
Portuguese ceramic and tile workshops
After immersing yourself in Lisbon’s shops of azulejos and ceramics you’re probably keen to get hands-on yourself.
Beyond the typical tile painting workshops you can create a very special “erotic” piece of ceramic art at the “Ceramica Erotica Workshop” with artist Lizzie at her studio in Lisbon's historic quarter Penha França.Alternatively, you can book a ceramic session with designer and ceramicist Joana Brás to "Make Your Own Ceramic Set". She is coming directly to your home, hotel or company to make things as easy as possible for you.
Or last but not least, when you want to create your own unique custom vase, visit Lisbon-based Russian ceramics artist Anna at her studio and book a spot at one of her “Ceramic Shapes Art Workshops”.
Wishing you a great “ceramic” time in Lisbon! :)