MAAT museum entrance modern and stylized building large staircase and dome in the shape of a wave on the banks of the Tagus river

top 8 museums

Lisbon has many museums especially since the redevelopment of the quays along the Tagus, many buildings have been transformed into museums and others completely built. Here is the list of the best museums in Lisbon in our opinion.

1. museum of contemporary art

An incredible collection of major and lesser-known masterpieces of modern art in an Arab-inspired building. Some museums in Lisbon have few works, certainly not the MAC. The collection ranges from early modern art, with Cubist works displayed alongside pieces of ancestral African art in a nod to Picasso, to contemporary art by Portuguese artists.

entrance to the Coleção Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art light grey building

2. Calouste-Gulbenkian Museum

This museum is the incredible collection of Armenian art collector and businessman Calouste-Gulbenkian. The collection ranges from ancient art to contemporary art. In a building entirely designed to highlight the works, with a romantic garden, pleasant to cross to visit the other parts of the museum. For more information about Calouste-Gulbenkian listen to the podcast of France Culture.

Calouste Gulbenkian museum room with a statue of the Roman goddess Diana overlooking the green and flowery museum garden

3. National Museum of Ancient Art

As the name of the museum clearly says it is the Lisbon Museum of Ancient Art. Uh no rectification there are very few ancient pieces, there is a Greek-Roman status and ancient Chinese art objects. The collection is almost entirely about the Middle Ages and the Renaissance because antiga means ancient in Portuguese. The museum has a triptych by Hieronymus van Aken, known as Hieronymus Bosch. It is a remarkable collection of Portuguese and European art from this period.

the entrance to the National Museum of Ancient Art yellow neoclassical façade

4. museu do Aljube (resistance museum)

The museum is located in the rise for Alfama street Augustus Rosa porch of the cathedral of Sé. Really interesting museum on the history of the resistance and in parallel of Portugal. Instructive place for the amateurs of history or curious of the Portuguese past, with reconstitutions of the cells of prison that immerse us in the time and we leave the museum bigger and understanding on the history of the country. The documents and explanations are in Portuguese and English, very well done and meaningful, for an entrance fee of 3 euros.

discreet entrance of the muse de Aljube resistencia e liberdada white facade and reinforced metal door and windows

5. museu arqueológico do Carmo (Carmo Archaeological Museum)

Ancient church partially destroyed by the earthquake and fire of 1755 and 1756. It was never completely rebuilt to leave the body of the naves in the open air and to remind us of one of the most important events in the history of the country. The entrance is on the beautiful Largo do Carmo square.

inside the Carmo Archaeology Museum which is an old open-air church

6. museu do Dinheiro (Museum of Money)

The only free museum in the city dedicated to money in the current building of the Bank of Portugal. After the security gate you enter a sublime marble building. Interesting collection of various coins and counterfeit money.

entirety of the Lisbon Mint Museum dinheiro museum great hall all in light pink marble

7. museu national do Azulejo

Museum off the center, dedicated to Azulejos, the Azulejos are earthenware decorated with colors often blue. It is a heritage of the Moorish culture that has evolved over time to become the symbol of Portuguese architectural style. The museum traces its graphic evolution through the ages. We particularly liked the shaded interior garden and the museum building. The collection is quite small compared to the presence of Azulejo in Portuguese cities. It's a pity that contemporary artists are not present in the museum like the world famous Portuguese artist Add fuel.

interior garden of the Portuguese National Museum of Azulejos installed in the former convent of Madre de Deus

8. casa - museu Medeiros e Almeido

Former house of a rich Portuguese industrialist where Grace Kelly and the Prince of Monaco stayed. The house is rich in pieces from the last century. Museum for lovers of old royalist objects.

entrance to the Medeiros e Almeida Museum with photos of the museum's objects

Not recommended museums: the electricity museum and the MAAT

The museum of electricity is a very beautiful building from the outside. Inside the museum is composed of machinery and piping from the time of the building's operation. We liked the art exhibition which is very interesting and sharp but short and has no connection with the rest of the building.

The MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) is also a very nice building, modern, with a roof terrace overlooking the Tagus. Inside the museum is supposed to be about architecture but you leave the place without having the impression of having visited a museum about architecture, nor about art and not really about technology. No plans, no architectural models, no various technological inventions, just school presentations.

MAAT museum entrance modern and stylized building large staircase and dome in the shape of a wave on the banks of the Tagus river

museum to avoid: the national coche museum

The worst experience of the museums in Lisbon, the reception is deplorable, the opening hours do not correspond to the information sites on the internet such as Google Maps because they are closed between 12 and 14:30. It's just that you are not scolded when you enter the museum, sorry for not having seen the ticket office outside and asking where to get a ticket. The reception at the ticket office in the same atmosphere no information, nor suggestion. The museum has a collection of very well restored carriages. We go around the museum in less than 5 minutes, no explanations on the history of the carriages, no toilets available, unclear direction of the visit on the ground floor, for an entrance fee of 8 euros. Save your money to ride an electric scooter along the Tagus or have a coffee and pastry on the terrace in the beautiful Belém district.

musée dos coches rectangular building with no windows except for the entrance

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