Portugal Museums and Galleries
Museo Nacional do Azulejo
4 Rua Madre Deus , Penha de França
What Guinness is to Ireland, tiles are to Portugal, so it goes without saying that the National Tile Museum is a must-see: Housed in a 16th century convent, it features a collection of tiles that spans centuries, from the Renaissance through present day.
Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia
Av. Brasília, Belém
Situated right along the riverfront, the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT) is one of the most recent additions to Lisbon's historic Belém District. Designed by the British architect Amanda Levete, the oval-shaped building is strikingly modern, allowing for individuals to walk along the top and take in the views; the new structure sits beside the Tejo Power Station, an older building that exemplifies Portuguese industrial architecture from the beginning of the 20th century and has housed a museum of electricity for many years. The schedule at MAAT is refreshingly eclectic, offering both standard contemporary art exhibitions and hybrid presentations that explore everything from music to performance art to the history (and future) of technology. Suitable for all ages.
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian
45A Av. de Berna, Avenidas Novas
Calouste Gulbenkian was actually a British collector, but he lived a very international life, growing up in Turkey and traveling extensively during his career. In that context, it's not so surprising that his collection is housed in Lisbon, where he spent his final years. One of the largest in Europe, it claims significant holdings of Egyptian and Greco-Roman art, Armenian art, and impressionists like Manet, Degas, and Monet. There's also an impressive contemporary collection, built with funds from Gulbenkian's foundation, which was created with his fortune after his death. Exhibitions switch over frequently, and there's always a great mix of old and new on the walls, so it's entirely worthy of repeat visits.
Praça do Império, Belém
Halfway between the Tower of Belém and Jerónimo's Monastery in the heart of the city's Belém District, this museum houses the collection of Lisbon businessman José Manuel Rodrigues Berardo, with a particular emphasis on Portugal's finest contemporary artists. The permanent collection contains the works of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, and Andy Warhol (which are always on view on the second floor), but they also organize rotating, temporary exhibitions that bring in works outside the collection. There's a lot for kids to enjoy, and admission is free.
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
Rua das Janelas Verdes, Lapa
Opened in 1884, the National Museum of Ancient Art contains the largest collection of public art in Lisbon. Hailing from Portugal and around the world, the artwork varies from sculpture and painting to decorative arts, covering a range of periods from the Middle Ages to present. Leave time to lounge on the outdoor terrace afterwards.
Museu Nacional dos Coches
136 Av. da Índia, Belém
Locals weren't universally pleased when the long-standing Coach Museum moved from its beloved location in an 18th-century riding arena to a sleek, modern new building across the street last year. Though the new building brought much-needed space for the impressive collection, many worried that the stark surroundings served to sterilize the opulent gilded carriages on display. Despite the (ongoing) debate over the architecture, it's a mistake to skip this unique museum, devoted to transportation before cars. Inside, you'll find incredible carriages, cabriolets, and even some sedan chairs that housed Portuguese royalty dating back to the 1600's. Die-hards can visit the old riding arena across the street, which still houses a small collection.
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