We whizz through a lot of train stations on our gallivants many of which dim into one big featureless blur of tracks and cement. There are few that do stand out in our memory for various reasons and one such remarkable station is São Bento in Porto.
São Bento is visually arresting. Its interior of 20,000 tin glazed azulejos (hand painted tiles) is both breathtaking an astounding feat in itself. Which is why we found ourselves lurking in the station despite having no where to go and no reason to be there other than to stand and gawp.
São Bento was built on the site of a Benedictine Monastery that was torn down in 1783. The construction of the station begun in 1900 and the famous tile painter of the time Jorge Colaço was commissioned to work on the interior. It took him 11 years to complete what we see today.
We visited São Bento at the tail end of the day when passengers were dwindling and shadows were tilting their way into residence. Perfect timing as the golden glow blossoming from the tinted windows was quite magical.
Portugal has a few stunning train stations another of our favourites is this one in Lisbon.