Best museums in Lisbon

May 18th is International Museum Day, a day when all over the world all collective memories, cultural legacies, symbols and traditions are evoked, allowing us to get to know peoples, time periods, customs and traditions, and the beauty of art.

We went to the capital and invite you to discover some of its museums - we called it our Top 10, in no particular order, but in reality, there are many more to discover.

Tile Museum (Azulejo)

In the old convent of Madre de Deus, built in the XVI Century, we find this museum that tells us the history of the glazed tile: its techniques starting from the first materials and patterns, the evolution and the types of tiles that were appearing - as they also gained specific places in the Portuguese scenery, as in the coverings of façades, in the decoration of gardens, in the invitation figures at the entrance doors, as much of useful form as decorative telling stories, representing palace scenes, or portraying passages of the Bible in chapels and cloisters.

If you are looking for an original museum in Lisbon, the Tile Museum will not leave any visitor indifferent.

Yellowbus Tour where you can visit this museum : Modern Lisbon Bus Tour

Fado Museum

Continuing the tour of the original museums, The Fado Museum tells the story of this old song that, it is said, was already sung on the caravels at the time of the Discoveries. Being seen as melancholic, the themes of saudade (the feeling of yearning for someone or something), love, Lisbon, all match the feelings of those who sailed the oceans towards the unknown, leaving behind those who were dearest to them, and the already familiar everyday life. It becomes famous in the Lisbon neighborhoods, with voices like Severa's, and in a more contemporary time, by artists like Amália, Carlos do Carmo, Alfredo Marceneiro among many others, to the sound of the classical guitar and the Portuguese guitar, a 12-string guitar that not all guitarists in the world can unravel! Many curiosities and a whole Portuguese soul are unveiled in this museum that awaits your visit.

Yellowbus Tour where you can visit this museum : Modern Lisbon Bus Tour

Gulbenkian Museum

This museum is a real journey through time and through the various cultures of the vast world that Calouste Gulbenkian knew and bequeathed to us in his extraordinary collections. From Antiquity to the 20th century, we find sculpture, paintings, jewelry, parchments, porcelains, coins and tapestries, thousands of pieces that take us into different time periods and worlds just by walking through the various rooms.

The museum also has a modern art center and a garden that is a true mini ecosystem, rich in different types of flora and birdlife, making us forget that we are in the center of a city.

Yellowbus Tour where you can visit this museum: Belém Lisbon Bus Tour

Coach Museum

Initially installed in the riding ring of of Belém Palace, was transferred to a new building that is right next door, and where we can see cars, gala vehicles, stroll vehicles, berlines, landaus, chairs and carts, coaches of French style, English, Italian, gilded carvings richly decorated and velvets. Among the most famous we find the 16th century coach that transported King Filipe II of Portugal (Filipe III of Spain) from Spain, and is the oldest in the collection.

The coach of the Oceans is also a favorite for its exuberance, was part of the Embassy procession to Pope Clement XI, and was also present at the Expo 98 world exhibition in Parque das Nações.

Also famous is the landau that transported King D. Carlos and the royal family during the regicide on February 1, 1908. It is still one of the most visited museums in the country.

Yellowbus Tour where you can visit this museum : Belém Lisbon Bus Tour

Berardo Museum

If you like contemporary art and artistic movements that go until our days, you cannot miss the Berardo Collection Museum where more than a thousand works of various cultural contexts are gathered, from Picasso to Duchamp, from Mondrion to Francis Bacon, there are several time periods and expressions that, in an orderly way, provide us with a journey through time. There are also temporary exhibitions in this museum space of exhibitions and workshops founded by the entrepreneur and collector José Berardo, distinguished in Portugal and abroad for his dedication to the arts, different cultures and appreciation of degraded and unprotected heritage at risk of extinction.

Yellowbus Tour where you can visit this museum:   Belém Lisbon Bus Tour - use your Yellow Bus ticket to have an entrance discount

Maritime Museum

For lovers of the Discoveries, navigation, time travel and adventures around the world, the Marine Museum provides everything you need - cartography, ship models, nautical instruments and of course, war navy and artillery models, fishing navy or merchant navy. We can also find aviation models, the Santa Cruz hydroplane and a collection from the 1922 crossing of the South Atlantic by Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral. To know the instruments and boats used by the navigators who traveled the oceans in search of new worlds, to live the spirit of discovery and breaking barriers as soon as you enter the atrium of the museum and are welcomed by Infante D. Henrique and several Portuguese navigators, glimpsing the Map with the routes and discoveries of the Portuguese explorers, is an experience that can only be lived in this museum, in the Belém district.

Yellowbus Tour where you can visit this museum: Belém Lisbon Bus Tour

Chiado Museum (MNAC)

Next to the Higher School of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon, this close-knit museum promises an inspiring visit - it is a museum of contemporary art, and the ideal space to learn a little more about the works of Portuguese artists such as Abel Manta, Alfredo Keil, Carlos Reis, Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, Almada Negreiros, Paula Rego – the Romantic period begins the collection which is followed by Naturalism, avant-garde movements, Expressionism and Surrealism, Portuguese Modernism and Abstraction, and we find some famous works such as the Grupo de Leão, from 1885 that represents a typical scenario of the meetings of artists, writers, journalists, and poets at the Leão D'Ouro beer garden near Rossio. The eclectic gatherings would take place in iconic places between Baixa and Chiado, and many of these spaces remain, such as the Brasileira, Martinho da Arcada, Nicola or Leão D'Ouro café.

Yellowbus Tour where you can visit this museum(from October to April) : Hills Tramcar Tour

MNAA (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga)

Between Alcântara and Santos we find this museum at the top of a stairway, more precisely in Janelas Verdes street. Here we find a vast collection of Portuguese and European painting, drawings and prints, illuminated manuscripts, jewelry, furniture and ceramics. Some of the most iconic pieces in the country can be found here, such as the (six) panels of São Vicente, a painting attributed to Nuno Gonçalves and full of symbolism, representing the Portuguese society of the time (15th century) or the magnificent Custódia de Belém (Custody of Belém), referred to as the finest exponent of Portuguese goldsmithery and dating from the 16th century. Also famous is Jheronymus Bosch's painting, "The Temptations of St. Anthony", from the 16th century. Centuries of art are represented in this museum, which has also a lovely garden and restaurant over the river, for a well deserved break after the visit.

Yellowbus tour where you can visit this museum: Belém Lisbon bus tour

MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology)

It is one of the most recent cultural equipments in the city and with a fantastic view over the Tagus (the museum where you can walk on the roof and take amazing pictures of the city). Art, Architecture and Technology are the themes we can visit. Contemporary Portuguese artists, foreign patron collections, exhibition spaces and the EDP Foundation Art Collection - creativity approaches the world we live in from the perspectives of imagination (Art), housing (Architecture) and creation (Technology).

This museum is integrated in the Electricity Museum space, in Belém.

Yellowbus tour where you can visit this museum: Belém Lisbon bus tour

Orient Museum

The discovery of the sea route to India, the trips to the East, the contact with their cultures and the influences that remained from that sharing are clearly visible in the Oriente Foundation museum; curiosities about the Portuguese presence in Asia, the way we were physically described, the words and cuisine we taught - and the Eastern influences that entered our culture, from the spices, furniture and porcelains, tapestries and collection pieces.

When visiting the museum you will also find temporary exhibitions, always within the theme of the meeting of cultures - and some of the best cultural fusions are present on the upper floor, in the restaurant with a view over the river, enjoying the buffets of Portuguese and Oriental cuisine.

Yellowbus tour where you can visit this museum: Belém Lisbon bus tour

Museums are not spaces where time has stopped, but a living proof that cultures and history renew themselves, influences are always present and there is always something new to discover.

Happy International Museum Day!