Lisbon’s Maritime Museum pays homage to the pioneering role of Portugal’s nautical explorers. Anyone interested in history, boating or cartography will enjoy spending time here. This is one of the largest collections of maritime artifacts in Europe, with about 17,000 items covering the middle ages through modern times.
Portugal enjoys a long history at the forefront of naval exploration and this museum, situated in a wing of Jeronimos Monastry, is a great place to learn about it. See a wooden figure that accompanied Vasco da Gama on his voyage to India and a globe from the 17th century made by one of the most famous map makers of all time.
Take a look at the two 18th-century ceremonial barges that were operational for nearly 200 years. These sturdy boats transported famous passengers such as Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Queen Elizabeth II of England. Check out the Far East Room where you’ll find a delicate collection of porcelain and Asiatic ships.
Study centuries-old maps that chart the routes sailors took into what they thought were new worlds. Some say Portuguese mariners discovered North America long before Christopher Columbus was even born, so there are many fascinating stories to discover here. Advancements in nautical instruments helped to make distant journeys possible and many of these items, including sextants (used to measure angles) and telescopes, are on display.
Explore inventions and discoveries made in modern times. Take a look at the Santa Cruz, the seaplane that made the first crossing of the South Atlantic in 1922.
The Lisbon Maritime Museum is located in the Belem district, on bus and tram lines and within walking distance of other attractions. There is an admission fee. The museum is open daily except Monday.