Best museums in Porto

Whenever I visit a new city I like to visit at least two or three museums in order to learn…

Sara Riobom
6 de October de 2023

Whenever I visit a new city I like to visit at least two or three museums in order to learn about the history and culture of the place. So I thought it made sense to write a list of those that are, for me, the best museums in Porto.
This list is not a list of ALL the museums in the city, but rather those that I consider to be more relevant, and which I like to visit in my spare time 🙂

Some general tips about the best museums of Porto

  • Most of them are free of charge on Sunday mornings (you can check this information later for each particular museum).
  • If you are traveling with children I recommend you read our article about the best museums in Porto for families with kids.
  • The city’s card, called Porto Card, provides discounts of up to 50% on tickets for museums in Porto. So, if you are visiting the city or if you want to see several museums on the same day, it pays to get the Porto card.
  • As with all museums, there are usually discounts for children and retirees, families and students.

So if you already decided where to stay in Porto, come with me and let’s discover the best museums in the city!

These are the best museums in Porto:

Serralves Contemporary Art Museum

serralves museum contemporary art porto

Serralves Museum is probably my favourite place in the city, and it is also one of the very few museums in Porto with a truly international position.
This museum has already displayed not only the best national artists (the exhibition dedicated to Helena Almeida was beautiful), but also worldwide known artists such as Anish Kapoor or the painter Giorgio Griffa.
The Serralves Foundation also organizes a very popular event called “Serralves em Festa”, where for 48 consecutive hours dozens of activities take place (performances, cinema sessions, circus arts, concerts, etc.) in all the spaces of the museum.
If you are visiting the Serralves Museum be sure to visit the gardens, which are one of the best gardens in Porto.

Tickets for the Serralves Foundation (2023)

  • The tickets for the Museum + Serralves park costs 20€ / person.
  • You can also get just the museum ticket for 13€ or just the Serralves park ticket for 13€, but why would you miss the opportunity to visit both?!
  • Serralves is free on the last sunday of every month, in the morning but, trust me, you DON’T want to go there during that time because it is PACKED with families with young children!

You can get the online ticket to Serralves museum – and then enjoy a nice and invigorating walk in its vast gardens.

How to get there: the buses 203 and 207 stop nearby.

WoW: an incredible Wine museum

portuguese wine regions
world of wine porto wine tasting

There is a new fantastic wine museum in town called WoW – Wine Museum. I was a little bit sceptic at first – I mean, there are already so many Port wine lodges in town, most of them with guided visits, so what could possibly a new Wine Museum add up? But the truth is that WoW – Wine Museum is a fantastic place for those of you that really want to learn not only about general wine production processes but also the different Portuguese wine regions.

Moreover, WoW – Wine Museum is a very interactive museum, where you’ll be able to take a few tests to discover what is your style of wine, what is the grape variety that best suits you, etc. It’s SO COOL.

At the end, a wine tasting that includes a red, a white and a 2018 LBV Port wine.

Ticket to the WoW – Wine Museum (2023)

How to get there: the subway station General Torres is a 15 minutes walking distance, and so is the train station with the same name.

Palácio da Bolsa – the Stock Exchange Palace in Porto

porto palacio bolsa palais bourse
bolsa arab room ribeira porto
bolsa skylight ribeira porto

In the past I didn’t like to go to Palácio da Bolsa because I thought it was too touristy, but the truth is that it is impossible to resist the charm of this building. From the impressive hall to the monumental staircase, the famous Arab Hall and the other noble rooms, all the features of the Palácio da Bolsa are unforgettable and well worth a visit. It is also one of the best places in Porto to take good photos for Instagram, regardless of the weather outside.
As it is a very popular monument, I recommend you to book your online ticket to Palácio da Bolsa (at no additional cost).

Tickets for the Stock Exchange Palace (2023)

How to get there: the subway and train stations São Bento are an 8 minutes walking distance.

Biodiversity Gallery

biodiversity gallery porto activity families kids

Usually considered as a children‘s museum, the truth is that the Biodiversity Gallery deserves its place in the sun as one of the best museums in Porto regardless of the age of those who visit it.
At the entrance hall of the Biodiversity Gallery hangs the skeleton of a blue whale that appeared on a local beach in the 30s. Then you climb a staircase that leads you to a series of rooms and airy corridors where you can play fun games about physics, chemistry, etc.
I already considered the Biodiversity Gallery the ideal museum for families precisely because of its didactic nature, but honestly for me it is also one of the best museums in Porto because it leads us to think of physics, chemistry and even history in a playful and rather light way.
The Biodiversity Gallery is within the botanical garden (“Jardim Botânico”), which is not very well taken care of and hence not worth of your time.

Tip: If you want to save a few bucks visit the Biodiversity Gallery on the second Sunday of each month, from 10h to 13h – it’s free!

Ticket to the Biodiversity Gallery (2023)

  • Adults: 5€
  • Children [5-17] yo and students: 2,50€.
  • Seniors >65 yo: 2,50€.

How to get there: the “Jardim Botânico” bus stop is served by lines 204 and 504 (which in turn connect to Casa da Música metro station) and is very close to this museum.

Chocolate Story museum

lady smelling cacau
chocolate story museum gaia

It’s astonishing how much I love chocolate (my boyfriend, who is Belgian, says that I bankrupt him with my expensive chocolate tastes :P) so no wonder I got SO excited when the Chocolate Story museum opened in Porto.

The Chocolate Story museum is a very informative museum where you will learn aaaaaaall about the chocolate production process (and you can even watch chocolate being made, since it has a live factory of the brand Vinte Vinte). You will be able to taste fava beans, and to smell cocoa from all over the world.

The Chocolate Story museum also has some pretty cool activities, like an interactive quiz where you can discover what is your chocolate type, a crazy machine that you can use to try to fetch chocolate bars, and a machine where you can personalise your chocolate package (maybe to gift a loved one? 😉

At the end, the most astonishing chocolate store, with chocolate bars from all over the world, which has an intoxicating smell that can be felt from miles away. It’s sooooo cool – I highly recommend this museum for fellow chocolate lovers!

Ticket to the Chocolate Story Museum (2023)

How to get there: the subway station General Torres is a 15 minutes walking distance, and so is the train station with the same name.

World of Discoveries

world discoveries porto

One of the best museums in Porto to visit with kids is the interactive museum The World of Discoveries. The museum is a great way to learn about the history of Portugal, the universe and the natural world.
It has some very interesting large touch screens in various languages for kids to play. There are also staff members dressed according to the medieval ages to explain interesting details on the Discoveries of Portugal. The cherry on top: when you take a boat ride to explore the different continents and countries that Portugal has discovered!
Just like the Biodiversity Gallery, The World of Discoveries is sometimes dismissed as being just for kids. In my opinion, it is a museum for everyone because having fun and learning has no age!

Ticket to the World of Discoveries (2023)

  • Adults: 15€
  • Children [4-12] yo: 9€
  • Adult > 65 yo: 12€

Local tip: it is more expensive to get the tickets at the counter than buying them online (I don’t know why!), so I recommend you to get the online ticket to the World of Discoveries.

How to get there: Get the bus 500 or simply take tram line 1 – find all the information on my guide to the tram lines in Porto
.

Soares dos Reis National Museum

exhibition national museum soares reis porto

Soares dos Reis National Museum is not only one of the best museums in Porto, but also the oldest museum in Portugal. It was founded in 1833, in the midst of the Civil War, to collect property confiscated from the old monasteries and convents of the city of Porto.
Curiously, its initial location was in the extinct Convent of St. Anthony, near the garden of Porto dedicated to women. It was only at the advent of the Salazarist dictatorship, during which there was a strong effort to restore national buildings, that Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis moved to its current address, at the old Palace of the Carrancas.
This is one of the most complete museums in Porto as it houses permanent exhibitions dedicated to themes as diverse as painting, sculpture, decorative arts and furniture.
The museum also has a small garden of camellias and one of Porto’s best kept secrets: the old Queen D. Amelia velodrome at the rear.

Ticket to the Soares dos Reis National Museum (2023)

  • Adults: 8€

Local Tip: Free entry on Sundays and holidays for all citizens residing in Portugal – yes, you need to prove your claim at the counter. If you have the Porto Card, you get 50% discount on the ticket price.

How to get there: there are several STCP bus lines that stop near the museum (200, 207, 302 300,601, 602, 507, 501, 201).

FC Porto Museum

fc porto interactive museum
interactive panels fc porto museum

If you are traveling with kids or if your +1 is a football aficionado, why don’t you visit FC Porto Museum, dedicated to our famous football club?
Even though I don’t like football I think this is one of the best museums in Porto as it is very informative and yet fun. It has loads of interactive panels to be explored, an impressive trophies’ room and real size models of famous players for you to take pictures with.
You can even visit the FC Porto museum, then grab something to eat at the close by Alameda Shopping and then come back for a football match, how does it sound? 🙂

Ticket to tFC Porto Museum (2023)

  • Adults: 15€
  • Children [4-12] yo: 9€
  • Adult > 65 yo: 12€

Local Tip: you have NO IDEA how packed it gets there (it’s rated the 3rd best thing to do in Porto on TripAdvisor!) so I recommend you to buy the online ticket to FC Porto Museum.

How to get there: Estádio do Dragão subway station is 2 minutes walking distance.

Military Museum of Porto

colection miniature soldiers military museum porto
weapons pavillion military museum porto

Ever since I was a little girl I remember seeing my dad watching the History Channel, devouring a staggering number of programs devoted to wars and faraway battles. I grew up surrounded by miniatures of World War II aircraft, certain that I can ask my dad any question about war history that the answer will follow promptly. That is why I think of him when writing about the Military Museum of Porto.
On the first floor there is a vast collection of miniatures of soldiers from various countries and from different historical periods, from the United States War on the various English bodies in the First World War.
I also like the ground floor collections, dedicated to key moments of Portuguese military history, such as the siege of Porto (1832 – 1834) and the tumultuous attempts to establish the republic, were more inspiring – but then again I am Portuguese and, as my father, in love with military history 🙂
However, what really impressed me was the weapons’ pavilion, with a section dedicated to the presence of Portugal in the First World War and another one dedicated to the colonial wars fought in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea.
In my opinion this is one of the best museums in Porto, but I believe that it appeals to a specific audience, who really likes this theme and, preferably, already has some previous knowledge on the subject.

Ticket to the Military Museum of Porto (2023)

  • Adults: 3€
  • Children [7-17] yo: 1€
  • Adult > 65 yo: 1€

Local Tip: You can visit this museum for free every Sunday morning (from 10h to 12h30). if you have the Porto Card, you get 50% discount on the ticket price. Afterwards, go to Confeitaria Chicana and enjoy their fabulous croissant!

How to get there: the subway stations 24 Agosto and Heroísmo are 5 minutes walking distance.

Tram Museum of Porto

tram museum porto
electric machinery tram museum porto

The Tram Museum is a pleasant surprise on this list of the best museums in Porto. Housed in the former Thermoelectric Power Plant of Massarelos, this museum is a living memory of the collective transports from Porto, from the picturesque American car to the beautiful electric cars of the 50s.
The TramMuseum is divided into two parts:
• A gallery with copies of electric cars from 1895 until the end of the 50’s;
• A gallery of industrial machines (the existence of a network of electric cars in the city requires the existence of a power plant that can supply it).
Both galleries have explanatory panels in English and digital photo albums of ancients photos of Porto that I loved.
There are audio guides available for free and the possibility of scheduling guided tours (for groups of at least 10 people, or for school groups). You can make your request for a guided visit to museu@stcp.pt.
The Tram Museum is interesting for anyone who has, like me, a background in engineering or science or, for families with children (when we were small, my father took us to this type of museums, and we loved it!).

Ticket to the Tram Museum (2023)

  • Adults: 4€
  • Children [4-12] yo: 2,50€
  • Adult > 65 yo: 2,50€

Local Tip: if you have the Porto Card, you get 50% discount on the ticket price.

How to get there: your visit to the Tram Museum is an excellent excuse to take tram line 1 🙂 Get off at Massarelos station, the museum is right in front of you.

Episcopal Palace

marble staircase episcopal palace porto

In my humble and very secular opinion, few people pay due attention to what is one of the most magnificent buildings in Porto. I am writing about the Episcopal Palace, the residence of the bishop of Porto, finally opened to the public in 2016 by the then bishop of the city, António Francisco dos Santos.
The building has a beautiful baroque staircase (designed by Nicolau Nasoni) leading to several impressive halls such as the Audience Hall for reception of the guests.
Perhaps it is not very orthodox to classify the Episcopal Palace as one of the best museums in Porto but the truth is that the tours provided here are some of the most well structured in the city, as it is totally worth the visit.

Ticket to the Episcopal Palace (2023)

  • Adults: 5€

Local Tip: if you have the Porto Card, you get 35% discount on the ticket price. Moreover, from now onwards, the combined ticket for the cathedral of Porto + the Episcopal Palace will cost only 5€ / person. It’s great!

How to get there: São Bento train / metro station is 10 minutes walking distance.

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best museums porto exhibition electric cars

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