Nach Ort oder Aktivität suchen

9 Under-the-Radar Museums in Lisbon

Skip the lines at Lisbon’s busy attractions and visit these unique spots instead.
Hi, I'm Nina!

Nina is an American-Portuguese freelance writer and editor who has worked with international brands including TAP Portugal and Radisson Hotels. When not writing about Portuguese food and culture, she can be found eating something delicious with her family near a beach.

At times, Lisbon, with its tile-covered facades, street art, and grand murals, feels like one big, open-air museum. So, it’s no surprise to find long lines and wait times for the city’s most famous spots such as the Jerónimos Monastery or the Santa Justa Lift. Luckily, you can still learn about the vibrant culture and history of the Portuguese capital while beating the crowds. Here are some of the top under-the-radar museums in Lisbon.

1. Aljube Museum - Resistance and Freedom (Museu Aljube Resistência e Liberdade)

Outside the Aljube Museum in Lisbon in Portugal.
You'll find four floors of exhibits at the Aljube Museum.Bildquelle: Rachael Martin / Shutterstock

A political prison-turned-museum in Alfama.

Housed inside a former prison, the Aljube Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the dictatorship and censorship that controlled Portugal for nearly half a century. Over four floors of permanent and temporary exhibits, you can earn about the anti-colonial movement that helped lead to the Carnation Revolution, when the Portuguese military peacefully protested against the government and for democracy. A stone’s throw from the majestic Sé Cathedral, this museum has a prime location which makes it easy to tack onto a city tour.

Don't miss: The cafeteria on the fourth floor features a stunning viewpoint over the rooftops of Alfama.

2. National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo)

Beautiful blue tiles at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon.
The National Tile Museum makes for a fascinating visit.Bildquelle: Alessandro Cristiano / Shutterstock

Learn about the history of the Iberian Peninsula's favorite decorative element.

Few symbols better represent Portugal than the azulejo (ceramic tile). These traditional tiles decorate many of the buildings and are part of what makes Portugal so memorable. Inside the National Tile Museum, you can learn about the many uses of tiles and see how the tiles have transformed over the centuries. Set inside the 16th-century Madre de Deus Convent, about 20 minutes walking from the Santa Apolónia train station, the museum is also a gateway to a stunning gilded chapel.

Don't miss: Among the many impressive works is a 75-foot-long (23-meter-long) mural of Lisbon as it would have looked before the earthquake of 1755.

3. Underground Roman Galleries (Galerías Romanas de Lisboa)

People explore the Underground Roman Galleries in Lisbon.
These tunnels lie just beneath the streets of Lisbon.Bildquelle: NSMC-PT / Tripadvisor

Explore hidden tunnels beneath Lisbon's busiest streets

The Roman Galleries, ancient tunnels that run beneath the Baixa neighborhood, were first discovered toward the end of the 18th century. Believed to date back to 1 AD, when Lisbon was a Roman city of Olisipo, these galleries were an architectural solution that allowed Romans to build large structures on Lisbon's characteristic hilly terrain. Open to visitors just twice a year, the Roman Galleries is a tough ticket. If you go, synchronize your visit with a stop at Bertrand Bookstore, the Santa Justa Elevator, or a coffee break in Rossio Square.

Don't miss: After seeing Baixa's depths, enjoy a privileged bird's-eye view from the top of the Rua Augusta Arch.

4. Fernando Pessoa House (Casa Fernando Pessoa)

Exhibits inside the Fernando Pessoa House in Lisbon.
This museum is dedicated to the famous Portuguese poet.Bildquelle: Casa Fernando Pessoa / Tripadvisor

See the home of a beloved writer and philosopher.

Fernando Pessoa is a name that strikes pride in many Portuguese hearts. A poet, author, and deep thinker, his reflections are found in poetry, short stories, letters, plays, and even puzzles. The Pessoa Museum is housed inside the home where the writer lived, sometimes alone and other times with family, during the last 15 years of his life. Books, manuscripts, notes, and photos are showcased over three floors. After a visit, taste your way around the Campo de Ourique neighborhood, which is also home to one of the city's popular markets.

Don't miss: Fans should ask how to view Fernando Pessoa's personal library, which is now digitized.

5. The Berardo Art Deco Museum (Berardo Museu Art Deco)

A statue of a woman at The Berardo Art Deco Museum in Lisbon.
You'll find this museum in the creative Alcântara district.Bildquelle: Maurowelsh / Tripadvisor

Lose yourself in a world of art.

The Berardo Art Deco Museum is situated in the former summer home of the Marquis of Abrantes in Alcântara, a creative district where you'll find a vibrant nightlife scene once the sun sets. Here, admire both art deco and art nouveau pieces, from furniture and homewares to jewelry and ceramics. You can also stop here while on a hop-on hop-off tour heading to Belém.

Don't miss: Enjoy the complimentary wine tasting and the courtyard.

6. Fronteira Palace (O Palácio Fronteira)

Statues and fountains in the famous Fronteira Palace in Lisbon.
Fronteira Palace is just outside Lisbon's city center.Bildquelle: r milosk50 / Shutterstock

Home to 17th-century charm and style, and vast gardens.

Another must-see home and art exhibit is the Fronteira Palace in the Benfica neighborhood, just outside of Lisbon’s center. Built during the 17th century for the first Marquis of Fronteira, the manor estate features original tile work and carefully preserved landscaping, complete with garden statues and fountains inspired by mythology. After the visit to the palace, take a tour of Benfica Stadium, just 10 minutes away by car or taxi ride.

Don't miss: This museum offers a reprieve from the sounds of the city. Take this opportunity to visit the protected Monsanto Forest Park, just minutes away on foot.

7. The National Costume Museum (Museu Nacional do Traje e da Moda)

Exhibits on display at The National Costume Museum in Lisbon.
Take a stroll through fashion and time.Bildquelle: Triptofano86 / Tripadvisor

Take a walk through fashion history.

Located close to famous landmarks, including the Jerónimos Monastery and the MAAT, the National Costume Museum takes visitors through time and fashion. Spend an hour or two learning about the outfits, costumes, and accessories worn by everyone from the Royal court to the countryside—clothing and styles date back to the 18th century and finish at the present day, and the museum has over 30,000 costumes on display. Visit Belém by bike and combine your visit with other key stops.

Don't miss: Walk around the central gardens and enjoy the 27 acres (11 hectares) filled with roses, orchids, pines, and vegetable patches.

8. Medeiros and Almeida Museum (Casa-Museu Medeiros e Almeida)

Ornate furniture inside the Medeiros and Almeida Museum in Lisbon.
You'll find this museum just off Avenida de Liberdade.Bildquelle: Medeiros e Almeida Museum / Tripadvisor

A museum inspired by a passion for art and decoration from around the world.

Curated by businessman António Medeiros e Almeida, this private art collection includes Chinese porcelain dating back to the Han Dynasty and a room dedicated to international watches and clocks from the 16th century to today. Rich furnishings and tapestries add to the impression of walking through the home of royalty.

The building, formerly the collector's private residence, also served the Vatican during the mid-20th century. Off the luxury-lined Avenida de Liberdade, also known as the "Boulevard of Dreams," the street is a treasure trove of sights. Enjoy the mansions, high-end shopping, romantic kiosks, and one of Lisbon's largest green parks.

Don't miss: A few of the museum's rooms can be rented for private events.

9. National Sport Museum (Museu Nacional do Desporto)

The pink exterior of the National Sport Museum in Lisbon.
The National Sport Museum has been around since 2012.Bildquelle: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock

An easy-to-miss museum in one of downtown Lisbon's busiest squares.

From Cristiano Ronaldo's cleats to 19th-century penny-farthing bicycles and fencing gear, this museum holds pieces that'll tug at the heartstrings of every type of sport lover. Inaugurated in 2012, 100 years after Portugal was incorporated into the Olympics, the museum showcases over 18,000 items from the world of sports.

Although the museum is considered hard to find, it's inside one of Lisbon's most recognizable buildings, the pink, 18th-century Foz Palace by Restauradores and Rossio Squares. After visiting the museum, learn more about the local history on a walking tour through these top neighborhoods.

Don't miss: The 17th-century De Arte Gymnastica by Hieronymi Mercurialis is one of over 60,000 books archived at the museum's library.

More ways to explore Lisbon

1 / 5

Keep reading

1 / 5
Erleben Sie mehr mit Viator
1 Website, über 300.000 unvergessliche Reiseerlebnisse – direkt in Ihren Posteingang
Informiert bleiben