The modern building designed by Pritzker Prize architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha
This museum is one of Lisbon’s most visited attractions, and it’s easy to understand why as soon as you enter and see the one-of-a-kind collection of fairytale carriages. These magnificent vehicles transported European royalty and nobility throughout the centuries, and are now displayed in a modern building designed by Pritzker Prize architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha.
The most ostentatious coaches date from the reign of wealthy King João V
It first opened in 1905 in the former royal riding school, which still presents coaches and berlins, together with royal family portraits. The new building is found across the street, and holds the most ostentatious examples, which were built during the reign of King João V, whose carriages were superior to those of any other king in Europe, including France’s Louis XIV. The highlights are the one used by Portugal’s ambassador to Pope Clement XI, and a more recent example (from the 1800s) last used by England’s Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit.
Displays in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish explain each coach
While most royal carriages were destroyed over time throughout Europe (especially in Paris after the French Revolution), in Portugal they were preserved thanks to Queen Amélia’s visionary idea of placing them in a museum. Most of the ceremonial and promenade vehicles are from the 17th to 19th centuries, but the oldest example dates back to the late 1500s and is one of only two in the world that still survive from that time (the other one is in Moscow).
There are coaches from different European countries
In addition to the coaches, the museum features a collection of accessories and pieces used in the art of horse riding. It also allows visitors to see the technical and artistic evolution of vehicles before the motor car.
How to Get to the Coaches Museum
The Coaches Museum stands next to the Belém train station. The fastest way to get there is taking the train that departs from Cais do Sodré Station to Cascais every 20 minutes. It stops in Belém in 7 minutes.
Alternatively, trams 15 and 18 also stop by, as do buses 714 and 727.
You may ride the train, trams and buses for free with the Lisboa Card.
Admission and Tickets to the Coaches Museum
A ticket to both buildings is €10. For just the modern building, it’s €8.00. For just the former royal riding school building, it’s €4.00. Those wishing to also visit the Royal Palace of Ajuda may buy a ticket to the palace and museum for €12.00.
It’s free with the Lisboa Card.
It's closed on Mondays
Use the footbridge to cross the train tracks and visit the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology). A short walk away is the Jerónimos Monastery and the Discoveries Monument. For more royal extravagance, visit the Ajuda Palace up on the hill.