Lisbon’s Unmissable Museums

Worlds to Discover


Lisbon’s newest museum, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, sits on the shore of the Tagus River like a giant half-opened clam. The work of Amanda Levete, a Stirling- award winning British architect, the building is partially underground; its roof is an upwardly sloping piazza from which to enjoy marvellous river views. Sharing the riverside campus, and now part of MAAT, is the old Central Tejo power station. Its historic electricity generating machinery remains, joined by four new white-box galleries. Under the curatorship of Artistic Director Pedro Gadanho, formerly with New York’s Museum of Modern Art, MAAT’s ‘soft opening’ was in October 2016; the museum will be fully functioning by mid-2017. Plans for the future include a a foot bridge over the highway to link MAAT to downtown Belem, as well as a restaurant and a park. MAAT is closed Tuesdays. For further details check the MAAT website:

A ten minute walk inland from MAAT are the new premises of Lisbon’s famed coach museum. In May 2015, after more than 100 years in the Royal Riding School, the collection moved diagonally across the street to a starkly modern concrete structure designed by Pritzker Prize winner Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The collection includes elaborate vehicles, dress uniforms, harnesses and cavalry accessories that were principally in service to the Portuguese royal family but for pure splendour, the standout is the Coche dos Oceanos (Oceans Coach) that King João V sent to the Pope in 1716. You can have a drink or a light meal on the terrace or indoors at the museum’s cafe. Browse the museum shop and then cross over to the old Riding School. Although all but a few of the exhibitions have been moved to their new accommodation, the old, highly decorated hall and portrait gallery are open. A combination ticket admits you to both. Closed Mondays. Website:

The Museu Colecção Berardo, inaugurated in 2007, is located at the Exhibition Center of the Centro Cultural de Belém, next to the cathedral. The superb collection of over 1800 works of modern and contemporary art was amassed by Joe Berardo, a Portuguese businessman and one of the wealthiest people in Portugal. Some 250 works are exhibited at any one time, over two floors of galleries. The collection includes paintings by artistic giants such as Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dalí, Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon along with two Picassos and a 23- metre canvas by Chagall. The museum has a good souvenir shop and there’s a courtyard cafe. Open every day, 10.00 to 19.00 (last admission 18:30). General admission is free, temporary exhibits may require a ticket. Website:

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