Museums in Lisbon

Dive into the cultural legacy of Portugal when you visit the museums in Lisbon that are set in breathtakingly beautiful historic buildings. Lisbon, the capital and the largest city of Portugal has a rich heritage featuring a number of historic as well as monumental buildings. Being the oldest in Western Europe and one of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon is home to a diverse range of architectural styles including Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern, and Postmodern.

Lisbon Museums are some of the most well-liked tourist stops in the country. Among these is the well-known Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, which houses over 6,000 separate exhibits and is close to Praça de Espanha. The magnificent Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is located in Santos. The largest collection of Portuguese paintings in the nation is housed in this national gallery, which represents Portugal. Amongst the most well-known museums to visit in Lisbon is the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology or MAAT, a contemporary cross-cultural centre where the visual arts, urban affairs, technology, and science are all converged. The Museu Nacional dos Coches in Belém houses the largest collection of horse-drawn coaches and carriages in the world. Similarly, the incredible variety of tiles and ceramics displayed in the Museu Nacional do Azulejo or more popularly known as the National Tile Museum. You will want to spare a couple of hours for each of these famous attractions which will bring you closer to knowing the city’s insightful past and present.

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Lisbon Museums FAQs

Which is the oldest museum in Lisbon, and what is it known for?

The oldest museum in Lisbon is the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga or the National Museum of Ancient Art where you can immerse yourself in the culture of Portugal. The museum's tawny gold-painted façade and grand baroque entrance are its first highlights. The top floor of the museum houses paintings and sculptures made by native Portuguese artists. Fine furniture and ornamental arts, many of which were obtained during Portugal's age of exploration, are displayed on the second level. A magnificent collection of more recent European art can be found, and the outdoor sculpture garden of the museum might be one of its most remarkable aspects.

Which are the most popular museums in lisbon?

1. MAAT: One of the best museums in Lisbon is the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) which presents a culmination of visual arts, science and technology without any cultural borders. Designed by British Architect, Amanda Levete, the building has a rooftop patio and is clad in white ceramic tiles. The range of the permanent collection and the changing exhibitions here showcase pop art, ceramics, and wood sculptures.

2. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga: Known in English as the National Museum of Ancient Art, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is one of the only Lisbon Museums that houses the largest collection of 15th and 16th century Portuguese paintings. The fascinating history of Portugal from the Middle Ages to the 19th century is depicted through the paintings, sculptures, furniture, pottery, textiles, gold, and silverware kept inside the museum.

3. Museu Calouste Gulbenkian: Amongst the most popular museums to visit in Lisbon is the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, an oasis of art displaying works of great masters such as Turner, Rubes and Rengrandt. The museum is home to exceptional artefacts, some of which are even 5,000 years old, such as Egyptian statues, John Singer Sargent paintings, and Art Nouveau jewellery.

4. Museu Coleção Berardo: One of the most visited museums in Lisbon and Portugal, the Museu Coleção Berardo is the main contemporary art museum in Lisbon showing the works of great artists like Marcel Duchamp, Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat and many more. José Manuel Rodrigues Berardo is a multibillionaire businessman and philanthropist who owns all of the modern and contemporary art pieces on show here. Only 900 of Berardo's works, created by more than 500 artists, can be seen, spanning from Surrealism and Cubism to Minimalism and Conceptualism.

5. National Tile Museum: This museum, located on what were once hallowed grounds, explores the rich heritage of glazed tiles that form a part of Portugal's cultural history and charms guests with more than 300 exquisitely adorned patterns. The highlights of the museum include decorative panels and tiles (azulejo) focusing on Moorish design techniques and dating back to the 15th century.

6. National Coach Museum: Featuring historic collections of horse-drawn coaches from around the world, the National Coach Museum in Belem is one of the most popular cultural museums in Lisbon. The development of coaches in the pre-automobile era is documented through world, state, and promenade vehicles from the 16th to the 19th century. Upon your visit here, you will be able to see the beautiful creations such as the modern 19th century Sedan chair and many more.

Is MAAT worth visiting?

Yes, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) is definitely a must visit building in Lisbon. One of the best museums in Lisbon, the museum is clad with ceramic tiles and a rooftop terrace offering beautiful vistas of the Tagus river. Furthermore, the museum has a permanent collection and rotating exhibition with pop art, wood and ceramic sculptures on display.

Are museums free in Lisbon?

Yes, some of the best museums in Lisbon offer free admission to the visitors on specific days and national holidays. These include the national museums like the Berardo museum which is free to enter on Saturday, Gulbenkian Museum which has free admission until 2 pm on Sunday and Lisbon museum offering free entry to all Lisbon municipality residents until 2 pm on every Sunday.

How many museums are in Lisbon?

There are more than 60 museums in Lisbon, each of them exhibiting something unique and eye-catching. The oldest city in Western Europe has a rich heritage and past that can be discovered upon a visit to these amazing museums that dot every corner of the city.

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