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9 Lisbon Museums That'll Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Portugal's Capital City

by Matador Creators Mar 27, 2023

The second oldest capital city in Europe after Athens, Lisbon has a lot of history. A lot of that history is captured in the city’s museum, from the ruins of a convent that stands sentinel over a modern downtown, to the origins of the azulejo tiles that decorate the city, to the birth of the fado museum that sounds throughout the historic Alfama neighborhood. Even if you tend to avoid museums like your morning alarm, you’ll be surprised by the richness and nicheness of Lisbon’s museum landscape. (Museum for carriages, anyone?)

One piece of advice for anyone traveling to the Portuguese capital is to procure a Lisbon Card on arrival as many of the city’s top attractions and museums are free or discounted for Lisbon Card holders. With that said, these are the Lisbon museums you should have on your radar.

Essential Lisbon museums, mapped

9 must-see Lisbon museums

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum


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Home to one of the most extensive and significant private art collections in the world, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum houses the personal collection of British-Armenian oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian. The collection consists of approximately 6,000 pieces spanning some 5,000 years, from ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts to 20th-century artworks. It features works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, and Manet, among other greats. The museum is located inside the nearly 20-acre Gulbenkian Garden, where outdoor concerts are sometimes held.

Address: Avenida de Berna 45A, 1067-001 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of operation: 10 AM-6 PM daily, closed on Tuesdays

Cost: 10 euros (approximately $10) for general admission, five euros (approximately $5) for visitors under 30 and over 65, free for visitors aged 12 and under and for everyone on Sundays after 2 PM

National Tile Museum


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Spend any amount of time in Lisbon, and you’ll quickly learn that azulejo tiles are central to Portuguese culture. Azulejos arrived in Portugal in the 15th century during the Moorish period when Muslim culture swept the Iberian Peninsula. The tiles were initially used to decorate convents throughout the city and became popular adornments for churches and palaces in the 19th century. Lisbon’s National Tile Museum is dedicated to the history and culture of azulejo tiles, featuring both 15th-century tiles from convents throughout Portugal and pieces from the 19th century when azulejos enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.

Address: Rua da Madre de Deus 4, 1900-312 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of operation: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 AM-1 PM and 2 PM-6 PM

Cost: Five euros (approximately $5) for adults, 2.50 euros (approximately $2.50) per person for families, 2.50 euros (approximately $2.50) for seniors, free for children ages 12 and under

National Museum of Ancient Art


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Located near the waterfront between Cais do Sodre and Alcântara, the National Museum of Ancient Art is one of Lisbon’s most beloved cultural attractions. The museum houses a collection of over 40,000 works from the 15th to 18th century, representing different schools and styles. Highlights include pieces from the Italian Renaissance, baroque sculptures from Spain, and Dutch masterpieces. It also has eclectic collections of furniture, porcelain, coins, and jewelry, as well as an impressive library consisting of thousands of volumes related to fine arts.

Address: Rua das Janelas Verdes, 1249-017 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of operation: 10 AM-6 PM daily, closed Mondays

Cost: Six euros (approximately $6) for general admission and three euros (approximately $3) for seniors aged 65 and up, student card holders, young person card holders, and families of four or more

Fado Museum


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Fado is a style of traditional Portuguese music dating back to the early 19th century that’s characterized by melancholic lyrics, emotional vocals, and guitar sounds created using techniques like flamenco strumming and percussive slapping on the strings. Lisbon’s Fado Museum features interactive displays and audiovisual experiences designed to illustrate the stories behind the country’s most beloved genre. Through various exhibitions, visitors get an in-depth look at how fado has been passed down through generations and shaped by important Portuguese musicians. The museum is also home to an impressive collection of instruments and hosts special events like concerts and conversations with fado experts.

Address: Largo do Chafariz de Dentro 1, 1100-139 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of operation: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 AM-6 PM

Cost: Five euros (approximately $5) for general admission, 2.50 euros (approximately $2.50) for patrons aged 13 to 25, 4.30 euros (approximately $4.50) for seniors ages 65 and up, as well as patrons with disabilities plus a free escort

National Coach Museum


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Located near the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Belém, Lisbon, the National Coach Museum is a quirky yet fascinating attraction dedicated to the preservation and study of historic carriages and coaches. The museum’s collection spans the 17th to 19th centuries, featuring a wide range of vehicles from around the world, including English sedans, Scottish chaises, and papal carriages from Italy. Visitors can learn about the evolution of transportation throughout the ages, as well as explore interesting details pertaining to how these vehicles were built, used, and decorated.

Address: Avenida da Índia 136, 1300-300 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of operation: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 AM-1 PM and 2:30 PM-5 PM

Cost: Eight euros (approximately $8) for general admission; four euros (approximately $4) for students, seniors aged 65 and up, and families of one adult and two children; and free for children under 12 years old

Carmo Archeological Museum


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A historic attraction in the heart of Lisbon, the Carmo Convent was built between 1389 and 1423 and served as the city’s main Franciscan church until its destruction during the 1755 earthquake. Today, the Gothic ruins of the former convent serve as an archeological museum. Visitors can explore some of the convent’s original structures and frescoes, as well as an array of artifacts from archeological excavations around Lisbon. One unique aspect of the museum is its collection of stone tombs that were used to contain coffins during the Middle Ages.

Address: Largo do Carmo, 1200-092 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday, 10 AM-7 PM

Cost: Five euros (approximately $5) for general admission; four euros (approximately $4) for students, seniors aged 65 and up, and Lisbon Card holders; free for children up to the age of 14

Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology


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Lisbon’s Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT) is known for its multimedia installations, sculptures, and interactive exhibits that explore the themes of art and technology. MAAT’s collection focuses on contemporary artistic expressions from local and international creative communities that respond to our current technological reality. Its exhibitions have featured works by renowned artists such as Anish Kapoor, Joan Jonas, and Philippe Starck. Aside from its exhibitions, MAAT also features public programs like talks, debates, and workshops that explore the boundaries between science and culture.

Address: Avenida Brasília, 1300-598 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of operation: Wednesday-Monday, 10 AM-7 PM

Cost: Nine euros (approximately $9) for general admission; six euros (approximately $6) for teenagers ages 12 and up, students, seniors ages 65 and up, and guides for patrons with disabilities; 17 euros (approximately $17) for families with one adult and two or more teenagers ages 12 and up

Maritime Museum


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Lisbon’s Maritime Museum, or Museu de Marinha, celebrates Portugal’s maritime heritage. It houses a vast array of memorabilia ranging from model boats to historic maps and documents, including artifacts personally owned by sailors and captains and works of art depicting famous naval battles. The museum also has several galleries dedicated to various Portuguese explorers, including Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, and Bartolomeu Dias. There are also several dioramas that depict life at sea during the Age of Discovery. Visitors can explore interactive displays featuring 3D renderings of ships, weapons and other technological achievements from the time period.

Address: Praça do Império, 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of operation: 10 AM-6 PM daily

Cost: 6.50 euros (approximately $6.50) for general admission, 3.25 euros (approximately $3.50) for seniors and children ages four to 12, free for children three and under

Orient Museum

Located in a 1940s building at the Alcântara Dock, which sits on the banks of the Tagus River, the Orient Museum chronicles the longstanding connection between Portugal and Asia. In addition to temporary exhibitions, it has two permanent exhibitions: “Portuguese Presence in Asia” containing art and documents including Chinese and Japanese screens from the 17th and 18th centuries, porcelain with India Company crests, and a collection dedicated to East Timor cultures, and “Gods of Asia” featuring 13,000 pieces such as puppets, masks, paintings, ritual objects, games, and statues representing Asian art and mythology.

Address: Avenida Brasília, 1350-352 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of operation: Closed Mondays, 10 AM-6 PM through the week, 10 AM-10 PM on Fridays

Cost: Six euros (approximately $6) for general admission, 3.50 euros (approximately $3.50) for seniors ages 65 and up, 2.50 euros (approximately $2.50) for students, two euros (approximately $2) for patrons ages six through 12, free for children five and under and for Lisbon Card holders

Where to stay near the best Lisbon museums

We hope you love these accommodations near Lisbon museums! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Most of the must-see museums in Lisbon occupy the waterfront stretch between the Santa Apolónia train station and the Belém Tower. That means that anywhere you choose to stay in the city’s most central and popular neighborhoods will leave you well-positioned to tour all the top Lisbon museums. These are some of your best Lisbon Airbnb and hotel options.

Alfama Airbnb with a private patio


Photo: Airbnb

This one-bedroom Airbnb in Lisbon’s historic Alfama district is a short walk from the Fado Museum, as well as quaint restaurants that specialize in fado shows, and also walking distance to the National Tile Museum and Carmo Convent. The entire apartment is finely decorated, pristine, and well-appointed, but the private pink patio really sells the charm.

Price per night: $192

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Olissippo Lapa Palace


Photo: Expedia

A five-star hotel in the chic Lapa neighborhood, Olissippo Lapa Palace is a stone’s throw from the National Museum of Ancient Art, which in turn is a short walk to the Orient Museum. (Bonus points for also being walkable to the Museu da Marioneta, or Marionette Museum, a fun little museum dedicated to Portuguese puppetry.) This hotel is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a quiet and luxurious experience, complete with a beautiful garden and enviable pool.

Price per night: Around $345

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Hyatt Regency Lisbon


Photo: Expedia

A two-minute walk from MAAT and a 15-minute walk from the National Coach Museum, the classy Hyatt Regency Lisbon is located in Belém. When you’re not busy touring nearby museums, enjoy the rooftop restaurant and bar, sumptuous spa, and views of the Tagus River.

Price per night: From $160

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Bright and airy two-bedroom Airbnb

Photo: Airbnb

This two-bedroom Airbnb is so close to the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum that Airbnb’s map pins it literally inside the Gulbenkian Garden. Located on the second floor of a traditional building, the apartment can sleep five and is outfitted for both long and short stays. When the weather’s nice, you’ll love the balcony.

Price per night: $215

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