Blanca Valbuena

Free Lisbon Museums (a guide to enjoying art on the cheap)

Lisbon Portugal is a walking museum. Every street, every building, every piece of graffiti has history attached to it. Lisbon also has an amazing collection of museums that range from high arts to crafts to puppets (yeah - puppets). Even better, the museums are also quite inexpensive to visit...but, if you're on a budget, there's no need to worry.  Today I'll give you a list of Free Lisbon Museums and, for those which are not free - the days you can go for free.

Free Lisbon Museums


 Calouste Gulbenkian Museum - Nossa Senhora de Fátima Neighborhood

This is an incredible museum and although it is not in the center of town it is absolutely worth the visit. Calouste Gulbenkian put together an incredible collection of art from all places and time periods and we are lucky that the 6,000 pieces (including some master pieces by the likes of  Rubens, Van Dyck, Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Fragonard, Corot, Renoir, Boucher, Manet, Degas and Monet) are in this gorgeous space. Best part, it is not a museum with heavy traffic, so you can enjoy the art without having to wait for people to move out of the way of a piece. It is truly a comfortable museum experience.  When you are done, grab a bite at the museum's outdoor cafe at the gardens, or head over to El Corte Ingles (check out the food court in the sub floor) for a nice snack.

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is located at Av. de Berna 45A, 1067-001 Lisboa, Portugal +351 21 782 3000

Hours of Operation: Sun-Mon 10AM–6PM, Tuesday - Closed, Wed-Sat 10AM–6PM

Adult Price: 10€.  Free entry Sundays starting at 2pm.

Getting There: São Sebastião or Praça de Espanha Stations

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga - Santos Neighborhood

I went to this museum a lot. The collection here is outstanding with its jewel being the Temptation of Saint Anthony by Hieronymus Bosch. There are more than 40,000 pieces of art here. This is a serious collection...and as a bonus, there is a great restaurant with a gorgeous view over the river. While this one is not free every Sunday, it is free the first Sunday of every month. 

The Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is located at R. das Janelas Verdes, 1249-017 Lisboa +351 21 391 2800

Hours of Operation: Closed Mon. Tue-Sun 10am-6pm.

Adult Price: €6.00 for adults, free the first Sunday of each month

Getting There: 714, 715, 727 bus to Rua Presidente Arriaga

MNAC (Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporanea) - Chiado Neighborhood

Fantastic collection of contemporary art with a lot of Portuguese artists being represented. I learned tons not just about Portugal's art scene, but its history. Oh, a bonus is that the building it is housed in is absolutely gorgeous. Quick note, there are two buildings, so don't miss out. 

MNAC is located at R. Serpa Pinto 4, 1200-444 Lisboa +351 21 343 2148

Hours of Operation: Closed Mon, Tue-Sun: 10am-6am  

Adult Price: €4.50, free the first Friday of each month

National Coach Museum - Belem Neighborhood

If you're a car or transportation enthusiast, or if you've always wanted to see the prettiest method of transportation, you need to head to this museum. One note, there are two buildings, so make sure to enjoy them both. 

The Museu Nacional dos Coches is located at  Av. da Índia 136, 1300-004 Lisboa +351 21 073 2319

Hours or Operation: Closed Mon. Tue-Sun 10am-6pm

Adult Price: 6€, free the first Sunday of each month


Museu do Oriente - Alcantara Neighborhood

A gorgeus collection that shows just how the Portuguese empire had expanded its reach to Asia. The collection is impressive (although some of the floors were quite dark making it hard to appreciate some pieces). A plus (for me at least), the museum was almost empty, so I was able to take my time and enjoy. 

The Museu do Oriente is located at: : Av. Brasília Doca de Alcântara Norte, 1350-362 Lisboa +351 21 358 5200

Hours of Operation: Closed Mon. Tue-Sun 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-10pm

Adult Price: 6€, free Fridays from 6pm-10pm.


Museu Coleção Berardo - Belem Neighborhood

I was blown away by the incredible modern art collection here. The museum includes pieces from some of the biggest in contemporary art, including Warhol, Picasso, Dali, Duchamp, Magritte, Miró, Bacon, Jackson Pollock, and Jeff Koons.  I was even more wowed when I saw that I was basically the only person at the museum. This museum is free, but a guided visit for an adult costs  €5.  One weekend a month, guided visits are free. Just give them a ring to find out what weekend it will be the month you plan to visit.

Museu Coleção Berardo is located at: Praça do Império, 1449-003 Lisboa

Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 10am-7pm

Phone: +351 21 361 2878

Getting There: Tram 15 or 127 from Praça da Figueira or Praça do Comércio to the Jeronimos Monastery stop OR R train to Belem from Cais do Sodre. 

Museu da Electricidade - Belem Neighborhood

What a cool museum. It's an old electric plant and you get to see how electricity was produced back in the day. On the way out there are tons of games that help you (and kids) learn about electricity. There are also pictures showing the old electric workers, some of whom were children. It's on the river and right by the MAAT, so the location could not be more perfect.

Museu da Electricidade is located at: Av. Brasília, 1300-598 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours of Operation: Closed Mondays. Sun-Sat 10am-6pm.

Phone: 351 21 002 8102

Getting There: Tram 15 or 127 from Praça da Figueira or Praça do Comércio to the Jeronimos Monastery stop OR R train to Belem from Cais do Sodre.

Museu do Aljube-Resistência e Liberdade - Alfama Neighborhood

This museum is a great place to visit if you want to learn about Lisboa and the time they were under a dictatorship (1926-1974). The museum's mission is to keep the memory of the dictatorship alive so that democracy may reign forever. It's goal is to make sure that we do not make the same mistakes we made in the past. 

Museu do Aljube-Resistência e Liberdade is located at: R. Augusto Rosa 42 1100-091 Lisboa

Hours of Operation: Closed Mon, Tue-Sun 10am-6pm 

Phone: +351 21 817 2400

Getting There: Tram 25E or 28. 

Núcleo Arquelógico - Baixa Neighborhood

This is probably one of the coolest free Lisbon museums. When the millennium BPC building was being renovated in the early 90's, they found some amazing archaeological sites, over  2,500 years of history in Lisbon can be seen here (including a Roman spa and a fish salting factory). If you're a history or archaeology buff, this is a site you should not miss. 

Núcleo Arquelógico is located at: Rua dos Correeiros 21, 1100-061 Lisboa

Hours of Operation: Closed Sun. Mon-Sat 10am- 12pm, 2pm-5pm

Phone: +351 211 131 004

Getting There: Metro to Baixa-Chiado

Museu do Design e da Moda - Baixa Neighborhood

The building is currently under construction, but should be amazing once it re-opens (should be late 2017). Its collection has been moved, last I heard it is at the Convento da Trindade, so it is a good idea to email them before planning your trip ( The museum deals (obviously) with fashion and design and has some incredible pieces by the likes of Francisco Capelo,  Phillipe Starck, Charles Eames, George Nelson, Arne Jacobsen, Paul Henningsen, Vener Panton and Tom Dixon. Worth a visit and definitely will be a must see once the building is back up and working. 

Hours of Operation: Closed Mon. Tue-Sun 10am-6pm. Check website for holiday hours. 

Phone: + 351 218 886 117

Getting There: Metro Baixa-Chiado

NOTE: make sure to check with the museums prior to your visit in case they update pricing. 

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Blanca Valbuena

I am the co-founder of FriendsEat and Socialdraft. I've got an unhealthy obsession with Burgundian Chardonnay, ASOIAF, and travel.

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