Portugal has no shortage of compelling architecture, colourful tiles, and stunning landscapes. With mountains, beaches, and the ocean always nearby, it’s easy to see how a trip to Portugal would bring design inspiration to anyone who visits.
I had the privilege of travelling to Portugal in October, motivated by the celebration of a friend’s wedding. I dove into trip research and prepared myself for a trip of a lifetime, becoming increasingly excited about the Portuguese tarts and pottery I’d find when I arrived. From Lisbon and Estoril to Nadadouro and Escusa, every stop on our trip piqued our curiosity and I had a sneaking suspicion that my design brain would feel at home.
While I can’t share every detail of my trip in a Kitestring blog, I’m thrilled to highlight some of the things that really captured my attention and will forever inspire my design work.
1. A Truly Immersive Experience
One of the best things I’m reminded of when travelling is the benefit of being near water. From a warm breeze to the sound of ocean waves, water brings a full-body sensory experience that instantly energizes me!
On the beaches of Praia da Foz do Arelho, at the entrance of Lagoa de Óbidos, I couldn’t help but notice the shapes of the rolling hills, the bold waves crashing onto the beach, and the unbelievably soft sand. The heat of the sun contrasted with the *very cold* water in a way that simply wakes you up and overcomes you with a sense of gratitude for being alive.
Travelling to Portugal is an unbelievable way to awaken your senses and really immerse yourself in an environment that feels nothing like home.
2. Vibrant Colours
I’d be remiss to not speak about the colours and textures of Portugal. This paragraph could be summed up in one word: whoa.
Portugal embraces colour in a way I’ve never experienced before. The buildings burst with vibrant hues, the doors are painted in an array of bold colours, and the country is covered in painted tiles of all shapes and sizes. Because we spent so much time travelling on foot, we felt every cobblestone and experienced the depth of colour and variety of materials that have come together to create this beautiful country. We even saw some colour in more unexpected places, like pink flamingos in the lagoon!
3. Local Craftsmanship
It’s no secret that I love and appreciate handmade goods. I had the privilege of growing up in a house filled with pottery and books and woven rugs, and that has turned into a life of making things and visiting craft markets.
Portugal is a place filled with art and endless makers. I was distracted everywhere we went — by the plate my dinner was served on, the walls of tile we passed, and the design of every storefront. There is so much to look at and I made sure we stepped into any store with handmade goods so we could take a deeper look.
As expected, seeing this beautiful work (and buying some of it to bring home!), made me excited to explore colour, pattern, and texture in my own designs.
Whether you’re travelling in your own city or across the world, inspiration can be found everywhere we go. From a new community mural to handmade goods and delicious meals, stepping into a new place and following the open road, if you will, is one of the best ways to re-energize ourselves and create impactful work. I’m so glad I had a chance to explore Portugal and am eager to see the impact it will have on Kitestring’s upcoming work. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing some colour. 😉
If you need a recommendation for the world’s sweetest Airbnb in small-town Portugal or are eager to dive into a colourful, pattern-filled brand, let’s chat!