Lisbon, the charming capital of Portugal, isn’t just famous for its fascinating history, beautiful landscapes, and delicious food. It’s also  home to some of the most amazing museums in Europe.

Lisbon’s museums offer insights into diverse realms from ancient art to modern innovations. They’re beacons of knowledge and inspiration, deepening visitors’ understanding of Portugal’s heritage and global connections for travelers and locals alike.

In an era where budget-conscious exploration is more important than ever, Lisbon stands out by offering a bunch of museum experiences that are not only enriching but also free!

I’m going to delve into 13 free museums in Lisbon, each a custodian of stories and treasures waiting to be discovered. 

Quick note: Some of these museums are only free on certain days. If you don’t happen to be in Lisbon on a day that’s free, you can still visit for free if you have a Lisbon Card


Pinterest Pin image titled "FREE Museums To Visit In LISBON," featuring a collage of two museum settings, one with an ornate golden carriage and the other displaying a modern building with an art sculpture, completed with the website address "" at the bottom.

Full disclosure! See those links below? If you happen to click on one of these and purchase something I recommend, I’ll get a small commission (wohoo). Don’t worry, this is at no extra cost to you (in fact, often I’ll have some discounts you can enjoy!). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying sales. You can read my full disclaimer here.

The Best Free Museums in Lisbon

1. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

Nestled in the heart of Lisbon, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (National Museum of Ancient Art) stands as a bastion of European and Oriental art from the Middle Ages to the early 19th century. 

Since it opened in 1884, the museum has collected over 40,000 items, including a huge array of paintings, sculptures, textiles, and decorative arts, positioning it as Portugal’s premier collection of ancient artworks.

The museum is famous for its captivating exhibitions, such as the Panels of Saint Vincent by Nuno Gonçalves, an important piece of Portuguese Renaissance art, and the Temptations of St. Anthony by Hieronymus Bosch, depicting the saint’s spiritual ordeals. 

It also houses significant works from the Age of Discovery, which narrate Portugal’s maritime expeditions and its encounters with Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Taking one of the museum’s guided tours can make your experience even better, offering deeper insights into the artworks and their historical context. And the museum’s hidden garden, overlooking the Tagus River, offers a picturesque spot for reflection after your exploration.

Admission to the National Museum of Ancient Art is free on the first Sunday of the month. 

Facade of the Museu Coleção Berardo, featuring modern and contemporary art in Lisbon, with a large red banner, cobblestone plaza, and a white abstract sculpture in the foreground under a clear blue sky

2. Museu Coleção Berardo

Located in the Belém Cultural Center, the Museu Coleção Berardo is Lisbon’s contemporary art hub! Since opening in 2007, the museum has delved deeply into artistic movements of the 20th and 21st centuries, featuring works from renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, and Francis Bacon.

For contemporary art enthusiasts, the Museu Coleção Berardo is a gem! You’ll find temporary exhibitions, artist talks, and educational activities. 

The museum’s layout makes it easy to take a journey through different art movements, from modernism to surrealism, pop art, and minimalism. Keep an eye out for Picasso’s prep works for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Dalí’s imaginative Surrealist pieces!

After your trip to the museum, head to nearby cultural landmarks like the Jerónimos Monastery and the Monument to the Discoveries to continue exploring Lisbon. 

Enjoy free entry every Saturday for a perfect weekend cultural trip.

3. Museu Nacional do Azulejo

The Museu Nacional do Azulejo in Portugal is all about the country’s iconic ceramic tiles, known as azulejos. It walks you through the history of tile art from the 15th century to now. Housed in the former Convent of Madre de Deus, this museum is a window into the world of azulejos, blending Moorish, Spanish, and Portuguese styles.

Admire blue-and-white tile panels showing tales from history and religion, as well as modern designs. Don’t miss the museum’s centrepiece: a 36-metre panel capturing Lisbon before the 1755 earthquake, offering a glimpse into the city’s past.

You can join workshops and exhibitions (at an extra cost) to deepen your appreciation of azulejos and their history.

There is free entry to the National Tile Museum every first Sunday of the month.

4. Museu de Lisboa – Roman Theater

The Museu de Lisboa is divided into several branches, each showcasing a different aspect of the city’s rich history and culture. The Roman Theatre Museum, for example, displays artifacts and ruins from Lisbon’s ancient Roman era. 

Discovered during the mid-20th century, these ruins give you a look into the daily life of the Roman inhabitants of Olisipo, as Lisbon was known back then.

The museum displays artifacts unearthed from the site, including architectural fragments and decorative elements that give a sense of the theater’s original grandeur. Interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations bring the history of this ancient entertainment venue to life.

While there are only two days a year to visit the Roman Theatre Museum for free – 18 May and 13 June, admission only costs €3 every other day. 

5. Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar

Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar is a wonderful place dedicated to the life and work of Júlio Pomar, one of Portugal’s most celebrated contemporary artists. This special museum studio not only showcases Pomar’s amazing paintings, drawings, and sculptures but also brings in temporary exhibitions of other artists, creating a vibrant conversation between Pomar’s art and contemporary art movements.

This museum’s collection spans several decades of Pomar’s career, offering a glimpse into his artistic evolution and contributions to modern and contemporary art in Portugal and beyond. Engaging special events, workshops, and talks provide a deeper connection to the art and ideas on display.

Free entry is offered to residents every Sunday, but if you’re not a resident, admission is only €2. 

The ancient Aqueduct das Águas Livres in Lisbon, with its towering stone arches against a bright blue sky, a historical testament to engineering and water supply.

6. Museu da Água

The Museu da Água (Water Museum) celebrates Lisbon’s history with water, following the city’s water supply system evolution from the 18th century to today. 

This special museum includes various sites like the Águas Livres Aqueduct and the Barbadinhos Steam Pumping Station, offering an interesting journey through the remarkable engineering and architectural wonders that have supported Lisbon for centuries.

You can wander through the grand aqueduct, delve into water purification science, and uncover water’s significance in the city’s progress and public health. The museum’s guided tours are especially enlightening, shedding light on the technical and social aspects of water management.

Not exactly free but only €2 entrance fee!

7. Money Museum Lisbon

The Money Museum Lisbon invites visitors to explore and understand the historical and cultural significance of money through a wide range of exhibits, interactive displays, and workshops.

Housed in the former church of São Julião, this intriguing museum showcases Portugal’s monetary history from ancient times to modern-day. Discover the origins of currency, learn about coin production techniques, and admire rare coins and banknotes.

Ironically, the Money Museum does not charge you any money to visit! 

8. Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon is a key player in the city’s art scene. It features a wide collection ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern European paintings. Established with Calouste Gulbenkian’s private collection, the museum houses over 6,000 pieces, showcasing tworks of Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, and René Lalique.

The museum has two main sections: the Founder’s Collection, featuring Gulbenkian’s personal works, and the Modern Collection, showcasing Portuguese art from the 20th century onwards. 

If you visit on a Sunday, you’ll get free entrance after 2:00 PM.

Interior view of the Lisbon Coach Museum, featuring a row of ornate historical carriages, richly decorated with gold trimmings, under a ceiling adorned with elaborate frescoes.

Discounted Museums with the Lisboa Card

If you’ve ran out of museums to visit and want to see more, but want to save some money, I recommend getting the Lisboa Card. It offers free admission to over 30 museums and art galleries in Lisbon, including the previously mentioned National Museum of Ancient Art and Calouste Gulbenkian Museum (in case you’re not there when they offer general free admission).

The card also grants you free access to public transportation, making it a great deal for tourists exploring the city.

Some other noteworthy museums included in the Lisboa Card are:

  • National Coach Museum
  • Electricity Museum
  • Maritime Museum
  • Fado Museum
  • Orient Museum
  • Lisbon Story Centre
  • National Costume Museum
  • National Theatre of Museum and Art

Be sure to check the card’s official website for an updated list of included museums and attractions.


Lisbon has some of the best museums in Europe, highlighting a mix of art and history from various times and cultures. With options for free or discounted tickets, exploring these museums should be a must on your itinerary!

More Lisbon Travel Guides:

Similar Posts