Everything about São Bento train station, in Porto

Visiting São Bento train station and admiring its amazing 20.000 hand painted azulejo tiles is considered one of the best…

Sara Riobom
12 de October de 2016

Visiting São Bento train station and admiring its amazing 20.000 hand painted azulejo tiles is considered one of the best things to do in Porto.
However, what few people know about this beautiful station is the legend of the ghost that lives there. A sweet and stubborn ghost, that, according to the legend, roams the halls of São Bento train station.
If you’re not in the mood for a good story and are just looking for practical information about the train station in Porto, read this article instead.

The history of São Bento train station in Porto

history sao bento train station porto

sao bento train station porto
Until the late nineteenth century there was the convent of the Benedictine nuns of Ave Maria, precisely where São Bento train station is nowadays. In 1821, this convent was inhabited by 55 nuns, as well as by 105 members of staff (mostly personal maids).train station sao bento porto old photo
In 1834 all the religious orders were extinguished in Portugal, by the decree of a man called Joaquim António de Aguiar, also known as the “the monks’ killer”. This famous decree ordered the immediate extinction of all male orders (and, quite naturally, the confiscation of its properties), the prohibition of new nuns to profess their vows and the extinction of the convents after the death of the last nun who lived there.
Female religious orders struggled a lot during those days, encapsulated in a time that no longer had space for them. The convent of the Benedictine nuns of Ave Maria was no exception, as it had to sell most of their precious silver service in the public square to face financial struggles. The building slowly fell apart, as so as the will of Men; and the nuns were dying, one by one.
The last nun, however, “only”died in May 1892 (more than 58 years after the extinction of the religious orders in Portugal, let me me remind you of this fact!), paving the way for the construction of São Bento train station.old photograph sao bento train station porto
Arrival of the 1st train on the temporary São Bento train station, on the 7th Nov 1896.
arrival first train sao bento porto
Construction work of the current São Bento train station.

construction work current sao bento train station
© blog www.portoarc.blogspot.com

The legend says that, in a stubborn but serene way, the ghost of the last nun of the former convent still walks through the corridors of São Bento train station, and that you can hear her prayers in the quietest hours, when the noise is lower. But only the most attentive ears can hear the nun… as Porto is a city that only reveals itself to the most patient souls 🙂

Save this article for later:

history sao bento train station porto
sao bento train station must see porto

Related tours

Half Day private tour in Porto (4h)
Behind-the-scenes access to Porto's well kept secrets.
From 89€ / person
Check Tour
Full Day private tour in Porto (7h)
The most exclusive wine lodge in Porto is waiting for you.
From 145€ / person
Check Tour
Private Jewish Heritage tour of Porto
Discover the hidden treasures of the Jewish history in Porto.
From 89€ / person
Check Tour
Private Wine tour in Douro Valley
Exclusive tour of family-owned wineries and hidden culinary gems.
From 160€ / person
Check Tour
River cruise and wine tour in Douro Valley
Enjoy award-winning wines, authentic Portuguese cuisine and amazing river views.
From 165€ / person
Check Tour

Related articles

Where to dance in Porto: Top 11 places

I already wrote about the best bars in Porto and a guide to the nightlife in the city. It was…

Sara Riobom
28 de June de 2018
Best Bungalows in Douro Valley

I already told you how to plan your stay in Douro Valley, and I have also shown you the best…

Sara Riobom
22 de March de 2024
How to get from Porto to Douro Valley

I’ve already told you what are the best vineyards are and where to stay in Douro Valley. But it was…

Sara Riobom
8 de September de 2023
Half Day private tour in Porto (4h)
Check Tour