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Discover the fabulous Gulbenkian Collection
A quick overview
What to see? The museum is a fantastic place for art lovers. You’ll discover Egyptian sculptures, European art, Islamic art, Art Nouveau jewellery, and more!
Costs? From € 10,00 for adults.
Where? In the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, close to the metro stop São Sebastião.
Worth it? If you like art, then YES! It’s one of the best museums in the city.
The history of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, or Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Portuguese, is part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian Collection will take you back to 5,000 years of masterpieces. That is some history! It starts with Egyptian decorative pieces and continues until a modern collection from the 20th century. It is one of the most renowned museums in Portugal and enjoyed by many. You’ll enjoy European paintings by Van Dyck and Monet, decorative arts, jewellery, Egyptian arts and much more.
The collector, Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, was born in Üsküdar, Türkiye. He was of Armenian origin and was born during the Ottoman Empire. During the persecution of the Armenian community, Gulbenkian left Türkiye and moved to London with his family and later to Paris in France. During World War II, he moved to Lisbon, where he stayed until his death in 1955.
From an early age, Gulbenkian was interested in art. Throughout his life and travels, he collected all sorts of art. The collection contains a whopping 6,000 pieces from all over the world! His favourite was a sculpture of Houdon’s famous Diana, an original marble piece he purchased in 1930. Before his death, it was decided to house the entire collection in Portugal. From 1965 to 1969, it was located at the Palace of the Marquises of Pombal (Oeiras) until the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum opened its doors in 1969.
The collection of art at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
The building has many galleries showcasing different parts of historical art. The exhibitions run in a chronological and geographical order, so it is easy to find the various collections. Discover the sculpture of the official Bes in the Egyptian Art room, or see the collection of Greek coins.
The Far East collection includes Chinese porcelain from China and art from Japan. Eastern Islamic Art contains ceramics, textiles, glass and manuscripts from Central Asia, Syria, Türkiye and Ancient Persia. But there is more! Greco-Roman, Mesopotamian, and Armenian art pieces are well presented, and you can spend hours between the decorative arts, sculptures and paintings. Unsurprisingly, the collection is one of the most important private collections of international art worldwide!
The second circuit contains a substantial collection of European art paintings. You can enjoy masterpieces by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Renoir, Monet and Pieter Paul Rubens. Seeing a painting by these masters is incredible! Here, you will also find impressive sculptures by Carpeaux and Rodin. The decorative arts are also present, and the remarkable furniture is stunning. In the last section, you’ll discover beautiful jewellery and accessories, a collection of René Lalique’s work. This area will create a completely different experience from the rest of the exhibition.
Temporary exhibits and facilities at the Gulbenkian Museum Lisbon
On the ground floor, there are several temporary exhibitions throughout the year, so be sure to check the current calendar. When visiting the Floating World: ‘ukiyo-e’ Japanese prints (23 Jun – 30 Oct 2023) were on display. This collection contained a remarkable collection of Japanese artworks. The extensive collection of Japanese prints contains different themes and highlights limited editions of woodcut prints, a rarity at that time. Check the museum website before visiting to discover which art display or collection can be seen.
It is easy to spend a couple of hours at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, and several services are all under one roof. You can take a break at the cafeteria inside the museum, there are toilets, and you can take a look at the gift shop. Here, you can buy postcards, textiles, art books, and other memorable items you’ve seen in the galleries.
Tickets for the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum Lisbon
The Gulbenkian Museum is a highlight of many museum lovers visiting Lisbon, so be sure to book your entrance in advance. Admission is only € 10,- per person and will give you access to the permanent exhibition. You will also receive a free Gulbenkian Museum audio guide app to learn more about the extraordinary collection. If you want to see the temporary exhibits as well, you can pay the difference in price when picking up your voucher at the museum.
Entrance to the museum and temporary exhibitions start at € 12,- per person. There are two different discounts available: visitors under 30 get a 50% discount, and visitors over 65 pay a reduced fee of 15%. There is free admission to the art collection on Sundays after 2 PM. Minors up to 12 can also visit for free. You will get a 20% discount if you have the Lisboa Card.
Opening times of the Gulbenkian Museum
You can visit the Lisbon Gulbenkian Museum from Wednesday to Monday between 10 AM and 6 PM. Guided tours are available on Mondays at 11 AM. The last admission is at 5.30 PM.
The Gulbenkian Museum Lisbon is closed Tuesdays and holidays such as January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, and December 24th and 25th.
How to get to the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon
The main entrance is located on Avenida De Berna 45 A in Lisbon, just west of El Corte Inglés and Parque Eduardo VII. The museum is very easy to get to. The nearest metro stations are São Sebastião (blue line and red line) and Praça de Espanha stations (blue line). From both stations, it’s only a short walk towards the west. You can also come by bus 713, 716, 726, 742, 746, or 756. Click here to read more about the public transport system in Lisbon.
The Gulbenkian gardens
The art museum and the masterpieces in the collection are already impressive, but the Gulbenkian Gardens are also loved! The park Jardim da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Parque de Santa Gertrudes) is an oasis of peace in the middle of Lisbon’s city centre. Take a stroll in the park between the beautiful flowers and trees, or enjoy a drink and snack at the cafe Restaurante Ice Gourmet. Cafetaria do Museu Gulbenkian is a cafe within the museum itself. Visiting the gardens is entirely free of charge.
Next door to the museum, you will find the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, or Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Portuguese. They organise several events throughout the month. On the other side of the park, you can find Centro de Arte Moderna Gulbenkian (CAM), the Modern Art Museum.
This museum with a modern collection is closed due to remodelling and is expected to reopen in 2024. The architecture of the building is stunning, so it’s definitely worth your time looking at. This museum hosts modern and contemporary art from Portugal, and Kengo Kuma leads the architectural project. In front of the building is also an outdoor arena, where events are held occasionally.
Things to do near the Lisbon Gulbenkian Museum
Besides the museum and the gardens, there are other fun things to do in the neighbourhood. If you enjoy shopping, you can visit the shops at El Corte Inglés. Or visit the 3D Fun Art Museum Lisboa with your children so they can enjoy a museum visit, too! With nice weather, it’s fun to discover Parque Eduardo VII and the botanical gardens at Estufa Fria. If you like to grab a bite, the Japanese restaurant GoJuu and the Mexican restaurant Taqueria das Avenidas are great. Or enjoy a Korean meal at URBAN上上签 or Seoul K BBQ.
The area around Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian is very residential and the perfect spot to stay if you prefer a quiet hotel and mingle with the locals. Check the map below for exceptional accommodations in Saldanha or enjoy the luxury hotels around Parque Eduardo VII. You’ll find places like the InterContinental Lisbon, the SANA Rex Hotel with amazing views and the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon.
You can easily spend two hours at the museum, including visiting the temporary exhibitions. To see just the highlights will take a minimum of one hour.
The Armenian collector Calouste Gulbenkian started collecting jewelry, paintings and art during his life. To house his project, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation was born. The building on Avenida de Berna soon became one of the most incredible museums in Portugal.
You'll find some big names in the Gulbenkian collection. Enjoy paintings by Rembrandt, Turner, Manet and Monet. Discover the jewelled objects by Lalique, French furniture and silver, and Greek coins from 460 BC!
As you can see, the Gulbenkian collection is a special place to visit during your stay in Lisbon. A museum visit is a fantastic option if you enjoy art and culture, especially during a rainy day in Portugal. The building is already worth a visit, and it’s one of the most prominent museums in the city. Enjoy looking at a painting by Monet, marvel at a sculpture by Rodin, or enjoy Art Nouveau jewelry! The collection has it all, and art lovers can easily spend a good part of the day here.