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Portugal has a fine tradition of handicrafts, most notably wickerwork, ceramics, embroidery, rugs, copper, brass, wrought iron, woodwork and leather.

Rugs from Arraiolos in the Alentejo are reminders of the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula several centuries ago. Local craftswomen still make them by hand in small workshops, although these high-quality rugs can be purchased in stores all over the country.

Portugal is also popular for its leather goods, which mostly come from sheep and lamb skins. Cows produce a tougher leather that's made into jackets and coats. There are hundreds of shops up and down the country selling leather jackets, coats, gloves, pocketbooks, wallets and many other items.

Filigree jewellery is another best buy in Portugal, particularly from the Minho region in the north, where gold and silver threads are worked into fine, intricately-designed brooches, earrings and pendants.

Portugal also boasts a long-standing tradition in ceramics, most notably the brightly-coloured wall plates and large jugs found at local markets all over the country.



Portugal's exquisitely-painted ceramic plaques or tiles known as azulejos make an ideal present for family and friends back home.

Mostly quadrangular with one decorated clay surface, they fit easily into suitcases or hand-luggage and carry very little extra weight.
Tile-making in Portugal dates back to ancient times. Red clay tiles decorated white were used in France and England in the 14th and 15th centuries, and the tile production technique was subsequently introduced in the Iberian Peninsula through the Moors. It became an immensely popular means of artistic expression in the 17th century.

At the end of the 17th century, a new way of painting tiles emerged. Blue and white tiles influenced by Dutch tilemakers and Chinese porcelain manufacturers were prevalent until the middle of the 18th century. Also, pieces of work were signed for the first time, a fact that reveals the growing importance of tilemaking at that time.

In Porto you may find good example of this art on São Bento train station, the Hand-painting Azulejo murals represents scenes of Portugal history.

The panels here are prime examples of the romantic style in Portugese tiles. Jorge Colaço (1868-1942) was key proponent of this style and many of his works feature historical events. These panels illustrate his attempts to apply oil painting techniques to ceramics.

Similar works, by other artists, can be seen in railway stations and markets throughout Portugal. Local traditions and monuments were popular with artists of romantic period


Existing for many centuries, the art of filigree found its origin in the Far East.

This ancestral technique, known as far back as the Greek and Roman civilisations, was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by Mediterranean peoples who migrated to Western territories.

In Portugal, one of the most ancient known traces of filigree work were a pair of earrings found at Citânia de Briteiros, an Iron Age settlement located near Braga in the northern part of the country.

Pieces of the same style and period were found at other archaeological sites in the same region. The curious thing about these pieces of jewellery is that they were found in an area that still has an active goldsmith industry today, or more precisely an industry dedicated exclusively to the production of filigree pieces.

Although Portuguese goldsmiths had not lost their skill and knowledge of this technique by then, its use gained new life from the Portuguese discovery period onwards. Today, the production of filigree is aimed not only at the domestic buyer but also the professional and tourism markets, where the demand for this kind of jewellery has been steadily increasing

Gondomar, 15 km away from Porto, is considered the capital of filigree and jewellery industry in Portugal.

Hereby same examples of handicraft artefacts:

  • Embroideries, linen, textiles and tapestry
  • Jewellery and filigree
  • Popular ceramics and pottery
  • Works in wood, leather, copper, tin, wrought iron, wicker and osier
  • Beiriz rugs - Real master pieces which are woven by women in tough rustic looms. For exclusives places, like Palace of International Courthouse of Haia (Holland)
  • "Poveira" Sweater - White wool knitted, crossed stitch hand embroidery with sea drawings. There is another kind of sweater which is knitted in several different stitches, quite used both in the country and abroad, where it is exported to.