In the land with with a rich heritage dating back seven centuries or more, you can expect a wealth of museums, galleries and palaces to scout around. Lisbon has a great many of these and the National Coach Museum is one of its kind containing more than 70 coaches all together in a single hall.
The National Coach Museum is very close to Jerónimos Monastery, located via an extension of Belém Palace. The building was originally the Royal Riding School used for the training of horses for the palace occupants in the 18th century. The hall you can see now was reconstructed in 1787 under the Italian architect Giacomo Azzolini, which later was decorated by Azulejos (tiles) and engravings. If you have never been to Belém, it is located a little outside of Lisbon, too far to walk, but in terms of heritage it is an extremely important borough, housing many cultural treasures, monuments, museums and also home to the president himself!
Renovation of the building saw it converted into a museum of coaches when the Royals had acquired enough carriages to fill the whole area, (50m * 17m) hall with their collection. Queen Amélia inaugurated the National Coach Museum after which it has become one of the most popular museums and tourists attractions in the Lisbon area. Some of the notable carriages in the list are a 16th-century carriage belonging to Philip II of Spain and an 18th-century Baroque “Pope Mobile”.
To my eternal shame I have not yet made it here yet having overloaded on about thirty or so tourist attractions nearby I could not face it. I fancy myself as a bit of a Portuguese Dick Turpin and imagined galavanting around the Algarve holding up rich travellers for their doublons but unfortunately have been born a century or two, too late!
Other Attractions Nearby the National Coach Museum:
- Tower of Belém is a fortified tower built for ancient maritime use, but now serves as a historical monument and major tourist attraction!
- Pastéis de Belém is the alleged originator of the famed custard tart or Pastel de Nata!
- Padrão dos Descobrimentos was constructed in place of the old harbor of Belém, which saw the advent of many memorable voyages.
- Jerónimos Monastery is an outstanding example of Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture.
- Other exciting activities in lisbon to do while on your visit!