Sunday, April 07, 2013

The beautiful Sao Bento Train Station (Estação de São Bento) of Porto

One thing that I love about Europe are the historical and jaw-dropping awesome railway stations.

Having lived and travelled around Europe, I have seen a lot of these gorgeous train stations, and I honestly cannot say I have a favourite. How can I not concede? They are all stunning! Each country and city has its own exquisite architectural style, usually showcasing a grand history behind it which makes these edifices more fascinating than it meets the eye.

São Bento Railway Station

In Porto, one should not miss the São Bento Railway Station. Located on the Almeida Garret Square on the corner of the Aliados dos Avenues and Liberdade Square (just across Intercontinental Hotel), the station opened its doors to the public in 1916. I cannot stress this enough but São Bento Railway Station is a must see and truly a sight to behold.

When I stepped inside the train station’s lobby I was in total awe. I could not stop staring at the magnificent tiled walls. I had to slowly digest its beauty. WOW. Just so wow.

The wall panels are azulejos (blue tiles) painted by Jorge Colaço with stories portraying Portugal’s history, such as the Battle of Valdevez (1140), the arrival of King John I and Philippa of Lancaster in Porto (1387) and the Conquest of Ceuta (1415) amongst the highlights.

There are around 20,000 azulejo tiles on the railway lobby’s walls.

I have no more words to describe. Simply beautiful.

This is outside the train station.

Azulejo panels depicting a part of Portugal’s history. This must have been the Battle of Valdevez (circa 1140).

The train station services the Douro Line to/from Pocinho.

And this, a portrayal of the arrival of King John I and Philippa of Lancaster in Porto (1387).

It was Holy Week (Semana Santa) when I was in Porto. Here you can see a tourism promotion of Braga, another beautiful city in Portugal known for its Holy Week enactments and Easter celebrations.

The Metro nearby (across) is also named Sao Bento.

The São Bento Station is not however the main station of Porto but it can get you all over Portugal via connections with other stations. The main railway station of Porto is Campanhã Station.

And although I did not avail of the railway transport coming to the city and going to the airport, the train station with direct access (purple line) to Porto airport is Trinidade Station (northeast of Aliados/Liberdade). I was going to take this line to the airport but on the last minute decided to hail a cab because I was running out of time.

Travel Period: March 2013
Destination: Porto (Grande Porto), Portugal

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