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The Carmo Convent overview
The history of the Carmo Convent in Lisbon
The Carmo Convent or Convento do Carmo in Portuguese, was founded in 1389 by D. Nuno Álvares Pereira. Construction started on the opposite hills of São Jorge Castle, and the gothic church was known to be one of the most beautiful ones of its time. That was until the earth was shaking in 1755. An earthquake with a magnitude between 8.5-9.0 destroyed many places in Portugal, including the Carmo church. The building was damaged, including the religious and artistic contents within it.
Reconstruction of the church started in 1756 but stopped in 1834. Religious orders were abolished in Portugal, and the church was far from restored. Only the nave and transept still stood tall. And this is how we still see the Carmo Convent today.
The Carmo Archeological Museum
The Carmo Archeological Museum (MAC) is located within the ruins of the old church of Santa Maria do Carmo. Royal architect Joaquim Possidónio da Silva founded the Portuguese Civil Architects Association in 1863. From this, the Association of Portuguese Archaeologists was created.
In 1864 the Carmo Archeological Museum was installed, and the area was used as a storage for important sculptures and religious artefacts. Among the rubble, many pieces could be retained and displayed. Throughout the years, other important archaeological items were added to the collection, such as prehistoric objects, relics, and artistic pieces. The collection now consists of objects from throughout the ages.
Some of these objects can be viewed around the nave of the church. Others are located indoors in halls 1 to 5. Examples of the collections are tombstones, Peruvian mummies, a Sarcophagus, basins, books, and azulejo panels.
Carmo Convent Lisbon Under the Stars
In previous years, the Carmo Convent was the decor of an immersive light show. The show is even more impressive as the Carmo Convent has no roof! So you’re literally under the stars. At the time of writing, there is no information about the return of the light show in 2023. If this changes, this post will be updated with the relevant information.
Carmo Convent ticket price
✓ The ticket price for adults is € 5,00
✓ With Lisboa Card, you get a discount, and you pay € 4,00 – book below to get your 20% discount
✓ Children 0-14 free
Guided tours are available within the premises. The staff will be able to let you know the times.
Carmo Convent opening hours
Monday to Saturday:
November to April: 10 AM until 6 PM
May to October: 10 AM until 7 PM
Easter week: 10 AM until 7 PM
December 26th to January 6th: 10 AM until 7 PM
They are closed on Sundays, January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.
How to get to the Carmo Convent
The Carmo Convent and Carmo Archeological Museum are located at Largo do Carmo, 1200-092 Lisboa. Bus 758 stops very near the convent. You can also take the famous Tram 28, which stops a short walk away from the Carmo Convent.
The closest railway station is Rossio. If you come by metro, you can exit at Baixa-Chiado, which is on the blue and green line. You can take the escalators from the metro to Praça Luís de Camões. This will save you a lot of uphill walking.
You can also take the Elevador de Santa Justa to avoid the roads uphill. This is another sight to notice when visiting Lisbon. But be aware the queue can be extensive during the high season, and you might have to wait a bit to travel up. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning view over Lisbon, though, and you have the perfect view of the Carmo Convent.
What else to do in the area
Aside from the Santa Justa Elevator, there is plenty to do around the convent. Walk towards Príncipe Real and discover the view from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Or take a ride on the funicular at Calçada da Glória.
Another fantastic viewpoint is Miradouro de Santa Catarina. On the way, you’ll spot the funicular at Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo, one of Lisbon’s famous sights. Walk down towards Time Out Market for a bite to eat, or explore Chiado and the many shops. You’ll also easily reach Arco da Rua Augusta and Praça do Comércio from this area.
Where to eat around the Carmo Convent
Are you looking for a quick snack? Then a pastel de nata is always an option! Check out Manteigaria close to Praça Luís de Camões. Or enjoy a vegan pastel de nata at A Carioca!
Caffè di Marzano Vermuteria is a lovely spot for breakfast or lunch. Or enjoy an Italian dinner at Visconti Chiado. For an outstanding food experience, Ofício is the place to be!
Enjoy a € 20,00 discount on your next meal! Reserve your table with the code 8362E39E on TheFork.
Staying overnight in the Baixa-Chiado area
The Baixa-Chiado area is in the very heart of Lisbon. Staying overnight in this area will ensure you can see all the sights easily! Bairro Alto has some lovely areas (although, mind the streets full of bars if you want a decent night’s sleep), and Príncipe Real is loved by many.
The Carmo Convent is a place full of history and is of great archaeological importance. You’ll need around 30-60 minutes to visit the sight, which makes it the perfect place to see in Lisbon. Also, as it’s so close to the Santa Justa Lift, it’s hard to exclude it from your Lisbon itinerary!