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Museu da Marinha, Lisbon

4.2
#5 of 55 in Museums in Lisbon
Military Museum Museum
Narrating the rich history of Portugal's maritime achievements, Museu da Marinha boasts a collection of more than 17,000 nautical items. Housed inside the west wing of a Neo-Manueline monastery, the museum's exhibits evoke the country's domination of the seas during the so-called Age of Discoveries. Highlights include seaplanes, firefighting machines, reconstructions of royal barges, and 17th century globes depicting the world before the European discovery of Australia. Pay special attention to the museum's oldest exhibit: a wooden figure of Archangel Raphael that accompanied explorer Vasco da Gama on his famed voyage to India. Check the website for tickets, special events, and guided tours. Take a look at our Lisbon family vacation planner to schedule your visit to Museu da Marinha and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Where to stay in Lisbon

Check into one of Lisbon's grand city center hotels to position yourself well to explore the central historical districts on foot. To avoid the potentially high prices of some of the Old Town's central upscale hotels, try staying in a hostel instead. While some hostels have an upper age limit for their guests, they're affordable and oftentimes offer access to attractions on par with or better than bigger hotels. In the upper town, opt for one of the family-run bed and breakfasts, which provide affordable rooms and, as the name would suggest, include a meal as well.
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4.4
  • OK, so I'm a history geek and love sailboats, so I'm prejudiced, but this is a great museum documenting intelligently and very accessibly one of the most important eras in western culture: the Portugu...  more »
  • The items on display here are fantastic. I love history and ships so it was a match made in heaven. My wife however did not find it as interesting. Be warned that the museum is HUGE tons of corridors ...  more »
  • Very nice place to spend a couple of hours dreaming about the smell of the sea in one of the gems that are available to see, each of the vessels with lots of history, besides each one of them is a rea...  more »
Google
  • It's an impressive museum that documents the history and development of ship construction and naval history, as befits the leader of the age of discovery. This museum is set in a part of an old monastery building, and has an extensive selections of ship models ranging from pre-15 century to modern days. When I was there, they also had a Viking exhibition upstairs which, albeit small in scale, was full of interesting facts and artefacts. And kids seem to absolutely love this museum. Highly recommend.
  • Detailed and nice museum. Especially first part. Maybe due of Sunday entrance was free
  • Jarring layout and basically a tone-deaf monument to the excesses of Portuguese colonialism. I've been to a few national maritime museums (UK Greenwich, Netherlands Amsterdam, Denmark Helsingor) and there's always a level of national bias, which is to be expected. That said, the others made some apology or explained the colonial exploits in a modern lens. The UK Museum of Naval History has a large exhibit on the slave trade and one on the Opium Wars that cast the Empire in harsher light. None of that is to be found at the Portuguese naval museum. All the exhibits cast Portugal in the brightest of lights: "Conquering the Atlantic," glossing over Portugal's decline between the 1600s and 1800s, and most disgustingly, glorification of their Colonial War in Angola and the Congo Basin in the 1970s. There's little context given and no narrative as to why the items on display matter. Most exhibits have plain text explaining whatever model of a warship it is, or the fancy medal or portrait. The layout is confusing: the end of the Golden Age of Discovery drops you off in the middle of the 1800s and the Napoleonic Wars, where Portugal played a little brother role to Great Britain. There's no logical flow to the room layout: to exit, you have to backtrack through exhibits you've already seen. The only redeeming aspect that makes this a two-star museum is the renovated Age of Discovery exhibits. It strikes a strong narrative about why Henry the Navigator and future kings desired expanding the kingdom, and is a modern museum on par with other strong museums. It's the first exhibit, and it gives a glimmer of hope that this museum might become better with future renovations.
  • Excellent museum, lots of exhibits set out in a light airy and logical way. Loads of interpretation, and most is in English and Portuguese. Theres a ton of scale models of ships, as well as lots of information on Portuguese colonialism. Also, it's a Monday and they're open, despite what everything says, though I'm not sure this is the case every Monday
  • A bit boring for a country with such tremendous history of naval exploration. The whole exposition should not take more than 30 min, and the royal boats are just boats. Lots of scale models, but very few items and artefacts.