One of the 20th century’s wealthiest men, Armenian oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian, spent years gathering the most amazing art collection and left it to his adopted home Portugal. You can visit his collection at the Gulbenkian Museum Lisbon
It is a marvellous experience to spend time here alone, with friends or family. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon consists of; the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum head office, an art library, auditorium, café and shops, the Modern Art Centre and an open-air auditorium.
You should spend at least two hours here. Start with the museum, a priceless collection and the quality is magnificent. There are six thousand pieces in this eclectic collection ranging from East to West and dating from antiquity to the 20th century. English notes are available throughout and the staff are very helpful.
Calouste Gulbenkian’s paintings include works by Rogier Van de Wedyen, Vittore Carpaccio, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Rembrandt and Monet to name but a few.
René Lalique Collection
The collection of works by René Lalique is considered unique in the world. Lalique is famous for his use of glass, enamel, ivory, gold and semi-precious stones to create exquisite art nouveau jewellery.
Don’t miss the Modern Art Centre opened in 1983 to feature modern and contemporary Portuguese artists. There is a cafeteria downstairs for a drink or light meal.
The gardens are also worth a visit and it’s free of charge. They are large covering an area of 9 hectares, carefully landscaped and home to a wide variety of flora. There is a reasonably priced self-service restaurant near the large garden lake or bring a picnic to enjoy in the gardens.
One of my favourite Lisbon experiences. Every time I go back I discover something different in this oasis of art and tranquility. I hope this post has inspired you to visit and if you do, please come back and share your thoughts in the comments below.
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon
Av. de Berna 45A
Tel: + 351 217 823 000
How to get there:
Very easy access by public
Underground: S. Sebastião ( blue and red lines)
Buses: 716, 718, 742, 746, 756.
Open from 10am-6pm (last admission 5.30pm)
Closed on Tuesdays and January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, December 24th & 25th.
Garden: every day, open until sunset.