- 1. Jerónimos Monastery
- 2. Belém Tower
- 3. St. George's Castle
- 4. Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
- 5. MAAT
- 6. Carriages Museum
- 7. Parque das Nações
- 8. Tile Museum
- 9. Ancient Art Museum
- 10. Berardo Museum
This World Heritage monument was built in 1502 and features magnificent stonework inspired by the sea and the East, particularly in the cloisters. Paid for with the profits from the spice trade, it is the resting place of explorer Vasco da Gama, whose tomb is found at the entrance of the church.
Additional Information: Jerónimos Monastery
Lisbon’s most iconic monument rises from the river, where it served as a beacon to the many explorers who departed from this site in the 15th and 16th centuries. Also protected as World Heritage, it looks like a small castle out of a fairy tale, and is a symbol of the Age of Discovery.
Additional Information: Belém Tower
Lisbon’s highest hill has been crowned by fortifications for literally thousands of years. This is the restored version of the Moorish and medieval construction, housing a small archaeological museum, but mostly visited for the breathtaking panoramic view of the city.
Tickets: Skip-the-Line Castle Tickets
Additional Information: St. George's Castle
Businessman and philanthropist Calouste Gulbenkian was one of the world’s wealthiest men in the mid-20th century, and created a foundation in Lisbon to promote the arts and education around the world. He put together one of the world’s greatest private art collections, and a museum was built next to the foundation’s headquarters. He only acquired masterpieces, so everything on display is outstanding, from paintings by old masters such as Rembrandt and Rubens, to Egyptian antiquities and unique pieces of Lalique jewelry.
Tickets: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Official Website: gulbenkian.pt
Exhibitions related to modern art, architecture and technology are presented in an iconic building of curved lines that descends into the river. You may walk over its rooftop, as it serves as a viewpoint, looking out to 25 de Abril Bridge.
Official Website: www.maat.pt
Lisbon’s most popular museum became even more so when it moved to a bigger building across the street from its original home. Its collection of magnificent carriages (unique in the world) is now displayed in a modern building designed by Pritzker Prize architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, and includes vehicles dating back to the 16th century, ridden by Portuguese and other European royals.
Official Website: museudoscoches.gov.pt
Eastern Lisbon was transformed into a futuristic neighborhood when it was chosen as the site of 1998’s World Fair. It is now home to office and apartment buildings, but also to one of the city’s greatest attractions, the Oceanarium, which puts all of the world’s ocean habitats under one roof. From there, visitors walk along the pleasant waterfront promenade towards Vasco da Gama Bridge (Europe’s longest) and the Vasco da Gama Tower (the city’s tallest building).
Additional Information: Parque das Nações
Although ceramic tile art is found all over the Mediterranean, only Lisbon has a museum exclusively devoted to it. It’s in a 16th-century convent with a splendid church dripping with gold and lined with Dutch tile panels, and with several rooms displaying outstanding examples of Portuguese tilework, making it Lisbon’s most beautiful museum.
Official Website: www.museudoazulejo.gov.pt
It has paintings by masters like Bosch and Durer, but the main reason to head to this museum is for a lesson in how the East and the West influenced each other, thanks to the Portuguese “Age of Discovery.” Highlights include Japanese screens illustrating Japan’s first encounter with Europeans as the Portuguese arrived on their ships, a monstrance made with gems brought back by Vasco da Gama, and the 15th-century masterpiece “Panels of St. Vincent” depicting Prince Henry the Navigator and other personalities of the time.
Official Website: www.museudearteantiga.pt
Located next to Jeronimos Monastery, this museum presents a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art. It belongs to Portuguese businessman Joe Berardo, who collected works by major European and American artists like Picasso, Magritte, Paula Rego, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
Tip - Visit on a Saturday, when admission is free.
Tickets: Berardo Museum
Official Website: www.museuberardo.pt