Top 5 museums in lisbon
Museums are a great way to discover the city you’re visiting and find out more about it. To make it easier for you, I’ve ranked the top 5 museums in Lisbon so you know exactly where to head during your visit.
Lisbon Story Center
The first in our top 5 museums in Lisbon is the Lisbon Story Center. This is a great starting point for your visit in Lisbon. It is an interactive museum that tells the story of the main events from the city’s history to its current day. Located in the heart of the city, in Terreiro do Paço, you can visit this museum and head on our Alfama tour to see how the stories played out in the real city.
During 60 minutes, you plunge into Lisbon history. Thanks to the activities, you travel through time and space. Each room of the museum allows us to experience different atmospheres and to smell different scents (for instance, spices from the New World). You get to live the 1755 earthquake that practically destroyed the whole city, in particular the Baixa area (Pombalina Lower Town, in English). But you also meet Marquês de Pombal, one of the most important figures of Portuguese history. The day after the earthquake, Marquês de Pombal said “ What now? We bury the dead and take care of the living“, proposing innovative projects for the city. He’s the man to whom we owe Lisbon reconstruction.
To visit the Lisbon Story center is essential to the understanding of the city’s history. You get to see how it was before the earthquake and then how it got back on its foot! The museum is very enriching. I know a lot more about my city thanks to it.
The Lisbon Story center is open every day, from 10 am to 8 pm. The metro station the closest to the museum is Estação do Terreiro do Paço (blue line), the buses n°728, 732, 735, 736, 759, 760, 781, 782, and the trams E15 and E25 will also get you there.
National Museum Of Ancient Art
The second in our top 5 museums in Lisbon is the world famous National Museum of Ancient Art. Marquês de Pombal bought the palace in 1770 and organized an Iberian art exhibition. It was a success!
With over 130 years of existence now, this museum hosts an extensive collection of more than 40,000 items, from painting to sculpture, glass work and others which came from Europe, Africa, and the East. The collection kept growing as items from palaces were donated, but also from confiscated religious art from 1834. It is now one of the most valuable collections of art in Portugal.
After visiting the museum, you can enjoy a relaxing moment, a cold drink or a snack at its cafeteria on a beautiful garden full of sculptures, overlooking the river. What more can you ask for?
The museum is located at Rua das Janelas Verdes and is open every day but on Mondays, from 10 am to 6 pm. You can get there by taking the bus (713, 714, 727).
Museu Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro
More than a century old, third in our top 5 museums in Lisbon is Museu Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro. This museum is very underrated. However, if you really want to understand Portuguese culture, this is exactly everythings this museum is about. Bordalo Pinheiro was an artist from the 20th century who used his art to criticize politics and society. He developed a character to symbolize the Portuguese people: Zé Povinho. This character, present in many of his works, speaks the truth in a very naïve way. He represents every Portuguese person’s thoughts. Also, his ceramic creations became extremely popular. You can find it in most Portuguese houses nowadays. If you want to understand what it means to be Portuguese, this is the museum for you.
The Museu Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro is located at Campo Grande in Lisbon. It is open every day but on Mondays. The closest metro station is Campo Grande on Linha verde (green line) and linha amarela (yellow line).
Museu Coleção Berardo
This one is located in the wonderful area of Belem, at Praça do Império. The fourth museum of our top 5 Museums in Lisbon is for modern art lovers. The Museu Coleção Berardo hosts famous works of art. From Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon to famous Portuguese artists such as Paula Rêgo and Joana Vasconcelos, the Berardo collection is pretty impressive. All the modern and contemporary art fans will be delighted. It is a private collection in display at the Cultural Center of Belém. It was born out of an agreement between the collector and owner (Joe Berardo) and the Portuguese government. The museum highlights the evolution of art since the 20th century.
It used to be one of the few museums in Lisbon with free admission as Joe Berardo wanted to give Portuguese access to modern art. This agreement was renegotiated in 2016, so now the price for adults is 5 euros. Nevertheless, on Saturdays the entrance remains free! The Berardo museum is open every day from 10am to 7pm.
Our top 5 museums in Lisbon ends with the Fado Museum. You really should take some time to visit the Fado Museum. Listening to Fado is listening to the Portuguese soul. Born from the hearts of sailors and families who stayed in land. Fado was born out of “Saudade”, a word that only exists in Portuguese language. What is “Saudade”? According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is “a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia“ and the Portuguese are the only ones who have such a word to express this kind of feeling.
We wish we had this term in English language! “Saudade” is charged with meaning and emotion, because it comes right from the heart, right from the the sorrow people feel when they have to bid farewell to their loved ones. And Fado perfectly illustrates this term. Fado was considerate by UNESCO as World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2011. In the Fado Museum, you can discover its story, what it means and you can listen to the greatest singers of Fado singing the most popular Fado songs. At the bottom of the quirky neighborhood of Alfama, the museum is our last stop in our Alfama tour. So you really have no excuses not to visit it!
My top 5 museums in Lisbon is now over! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that you’ll have time to visit some. Art exists since men started walking this earth. Art is essential to the understanding of any civilization and culture. It’s part of us. Art is the truest expression of ourselves. Eveytime I travel, I always save some time to visit museums. I highly recommend for you to do the same. Especially because the museums of my top 5 museums in Lisbon are definitely worth a visit!
See you in Lisbon!
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FIND THE MOST POPULAR TICKETS IN LISBON:
There are many ways to enjoy Lisbon. You can wander around the city, or maybe you plan to join a walking tour in Alfama or Belem? Last but not least, you can also visit some of the greatest landmarks in Lisbon.
The Park and Pena Palace in Sintra, the National Palace and Gardens of Queluz, the Aquairum of Lisbon are some of the several activities that you can book on Tiqets.com.