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National Archaeology Museum (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia)
National Archaeology Museum (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia)

National Archaeology Museum (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia)

Praça do Império, Lisbon, Portugal

The Basics

Portuguese archaeologist José Leite de Vasconcelos created the museum in 1893 as a way to gather artifacts and learn more about Portuguese people. Today the museum tells the story of those who have inhabited the Iberian peninsula from the Paleolithic period to the Middle Ages and beyond. Many of the pieces on display are from excavations done between 1930 and 1960 as well as donations from various entities including the Portuguese royal family.

Holders of the Lisboa Card gain free admission to the National Archaeology Museum and many other Lisbon attractions as well as public transportation.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • The National Archaeology Museum (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia)is a must-see for those interested in archaeology, anthropology, and the history of the Iberian peninsula.

  • Visitors tend to spend about an hour exploring the excavated objects before or after touring the main attractions of Belém.

  • Guided tours of the museum are available in Portuguese and English.

  • The ground floor is accessible to wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.

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How to Get There

The museum forms the western part of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) in Lisbon’s historic Belém district. Take tram 15 from the city center, or city bus 714, 727, or 728, directly to the monastery. Alternatively, take the Cascais train line from Cais do Sodré to Belém station, about a 10-minute walk from the monastery.

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When to Get There

The National Archaeology Museum (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia)is open 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday; it is closed on January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, and December 25. Admission is free on the first Sunday of each month and on public holidays until 2pm.

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Notable Attractions in Belém

Belém may very well be Lisbon’s most famous neighborhood, and it is jam-packed with history and attractions. Visitors exploring the area flock to Belém Tower (Torre de Belém), the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos), and the Jerónimos Monastery. Other important sights include the Ajuda National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Ajuda), which was home to the Portuguese royal family until 1910, and Pastéis de Belém, a legendary café that churns out Portugal’s most famous dessert, the custard tart.

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