Lisbon Museum of Decorative Arts: A Hidden Gem

Sometimes what we are looking for is right under our nose but we are not able to see it. If you are in Lisbon walking through one of the most touristic areas, looking for a nice cultural option to spend your morning or afternoon – the Museum of Decorative Arts is a great solution!

Museum of Decorative Arts in Lisbon. Photo:

What is it?

It all started in 1853 when a Portuguese banker donated to the Portuguese State an 18th century palace between Alfama and the Castle, as well as part of his private collection.

Not only a museum was created but also a school of decorative arts, that still today is responsible for preserving and transmiting knowledge and know-how of Portuguese arts and handicrafts. The collection includes tapestry, tiles, painting, porcelain, goldsmithing and much more.

Why should you visit Lisbon´s Decorative Arts Museum?

It goes without saying that you must have a minimum level of interest in this particular theme. Nevertheless there are many reason to go for this one.

  1. It is easy to fit it in your program since it is located in Portas do Sol, one of Lisbon’s most visited view points in the heart of the touristic area. Most tourists pass it without knowing that it exists.

  2. It´s not a crowded museum - you will not feel like you have to compete with fellow travelers.

  3. Because it´s a small and often empty museum, teachers and students of the school sometimes spend time explaining their craft to tourists.

  4. It´s a niche museum, which means you will be able to go deeper into one specific theme and really accomplish some precious travel learning.

  5. It’s very affordable and you can book guided visits and workshops.

  6. The cherry on top of the cake is the restaurant! It´s open from Monday to Friday – from 12h30 to 14h30 – they work a buffet system for 10€. Cosy, well decorated, great venue and away from the touristic crowds while in the middle of one of the busiest areas.

Overall this is a great option for a cultural experience and the possibility of having a closer contact to realities that often are hidden to normal tourists.

How to get to the Museum of Decorative Arts.

You can walk up to the Museum or you can take the 28 tram and get off in Portas do Sol tram stop, which drops you in front of it. Look for the big red bulding and you will be fine!

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