10 Best-Rated Museums in Lisbon

Lisbon is known for its seven rolling hills, postcard-worthy views and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. 

Its reputation for world class seafood and shockingly low-cost but high quality wine has made its way across continents. But Lisbon is also home to other great features, such as their impressive list of museums and cultural sites. 

The capital of Portugal is relatively small but proudly hosts more than fifty museums and exhibitions. Seeing as Lisbon is steeped in history and has much to offer, we have compiled a list of the Best Museums in Lisbon to help you plan for your trip. 

1. Orient Museum

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At the Orient Museum, travel along the spice routes the Portuguese once dominated and discover the role they held in Asia. A collection of art, maps, and artifacts demonstrate the influence of Portugal in this region and the resulting relationships and adaptations that occurred in their former colonies. Enjoy the rich collection of exhibits and materials and make sure to check their schedule for upcoming events. The Orient Museum hosts classes and workshops, such as flower arranging, dance performances and cooking and art lessons, which further educate visitors on these diverse and ancient cultures.  

  • Address: Doca de Alcântara Norte, Av. Brasília
  • A trip to this museum makes for a great date idea when traveling with your partner. For suggestions on Lisbon's Most Romantic Hotels, check out our related article. 

2. Berardo Collection Museum                            

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Located within the grand Belém Cultural Center, the Berardo Collection Museum  displays contemporary and modern art. The extensive collection of surrealist, pop art and abstract paintings and installations were donated by the wealthy Portuguese businessman, Joe Berardo. His first-class collection includes works by Warhol, Miró, Pollock, Picasso, Dali and other modern artists. An added bonus is that the museum is free to enter on Saturdays. 

3. Marionette Museum 

Not your average attraction, the Marionette Museum is home to almost 1000 puppets from around the world, spanning centuries of the craft.  Get ready to dive into your imagination here, as fantasy collides with reality and puppets representing animals, literary characters and legendary creatures all come together under one roof. The museum building is just as interesting, as it is a former convent turned puppet theater within the chapel. 

4. National Tile Museum

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Beginning with the 15th century, the National Tile Museum highlights the progression in the art and style of Portuguese tiles over the following six centuries. Intertwined with Portuguese history, the azulejo represents the changes in culture, trends and foreign influences. Located in the former convent of Madre de Deus, the building presents many interesting features to be explored, such as its Manuline architectural details. Some of the most popular displays are the mural of Lisbon before it was destroyed by the earthquake in 1755 and the astronomical instrument depicted on the country’s flag.  On your way out be sure to grab a tile from the gift shop as a souvenir from Lisbon.  

  • Address: R. Me. Deus 4

The National Tile Museum is part of the Lisbon audio guide tour, The Taste of Alfama, which explores the city's most history district. 

5. Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

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The tremendous collection of art at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum encompasses  cultures from around the world, from Asia to Europe, and Mesopotamia to contemporary Portugal. Once the possessions of the affluent philanthropist Calouste Gulbenkian, the more than 6000 decorative items are on display for the public. As Gulbenkian was particularly interested in Islamic art, you will find a nice collection featuring the talents and skills of artists from this background. While the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum's covering of cultures and periods is outstanding, it is the modern collection of Portuguese artists which honors their society and history. After you’re finished inside the museum, take a stroll through the Gulbenkian Gardens and enjoy the landscaping and small lake. 

6. MAAT Museum (Museum of Art, Architecture, Technology)

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The architecture and design of the MAAT building are arguably as innovative  as the exhibits inside. Located on the river’s edge in Belém, this white, sleek, tile-covered museum appears to roll like a wave, flowing smoothly into the imposing brick 20th-century Central Power Station beside it. The contrast of the two structures illuminates the progress and development that have been made not only in Portugal but in mankind. The rotating exhibitions within are a combination of visual arts blended with technology which aim to provoke discussion, critical thinking and imagination that engage visitors of all ages. For an unforgettable experience, head to the rooftop terrace at sundown. 

  • Address: Av. Brasília

Lisbon's good weather means its a city for enjoying drinks on terraces and outside. Check out our list of the top 12 rooftops in Lisbon where you can enjoy a meal or a drink. 

7. Fado Museum

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Fado is the soulful music of Portugal which began with stories of heartbreak sung by women longing for their lovers at sea.  At the Fado Museum explore how the music evokes feelings of melancholia, passion and saudade- the emotion of missing something that no longer exists.  The exhibits are a compilation of audiovisual shows, musical instruments, music archives, photographs and film and focus on the singers and the composers behind generations of Fado.  Live shows are often held in the museum's cafe and if you happen to be visiting on a weekend, you might just be lucky enough to catch one. 

  • Address: Alfama, Largo do Chafariz de Dentro 1

8. National Museum of Ancient Art

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Step inside the remarkable former 17th century palace which hosts the National Museum of Ancient Art, and explore the treasures that define Portugal's past. Objects from the Middle Ages to the 19th century demonstrate the global reach the country had and the wealth that was acquired and invested in art. The museum is so large that it's hard to cover adequately in one day, but during your visit be sure not to skip the 15th century painting the Panels of St. Vincent by Nuno Gonçalves or Miracle of St. Eusebius of Cremona by Raphael.  After visiting the museum, relax in the back garden which is paired with a cafe and a view that overlooks the river.                                                              

  • Address: R. das Janelas Verdes

Just steps from the National Museum of Ancient Art are some of Lisbon's best boutique hotels. Make sure you consult with our full list before making a reservation!

9. National Coach Museum

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The collection on display at the National Coach Museum represents horse drawn carriages from around the world. More than just a form of transportation from a time passed, these carts are true works of art. The National Coach Museum, located in a former riding school, has one of the most extensive and important collections in the world. Many of the carriages in the museum once belonged to either royals or high ranking religious figures. Beginning with the 16th century and continuing through the 19th, they honor the developments in transportation before the automobile was invented. 

  • Address: Av. da Índia 136

10. The National Museum of Contemporary Art 

For art lovers, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, located within a former convent, is sure to impress. Focusing on the contemporary genres, from naturalism to symbolism and romanticism to modernism, it highlights the achievements made by Portuguese creatives and foreign artists.           

  • Address: R. Serpa Pinto 4

We hope this list was helpful in planning your trip to Lisbon. Be sure to also check out our guide to a 3-day itinerary in Lisbon, a guide to Lisbon's most popular districts and a guide to Lisbon's lifestyle

→  We can also help with events, hotels, catering and other speciality bookings and reservations in Lisbon.

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