A few steps from the Crystal Palace gardens, the Soares dos Reis National Museum houses one of the finest collections of Portuguese art in the world! Follow the guide!
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
🧐 Want to know more about Porto’s history? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the city. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
💤 Looking for an hotel in Porto? Be sure to check out the Captain’s article: Where to stay in Porto? Advice & recommendations
🏛 Planning your trip to Porto? Be sure to check out Captain Ulysses’ complete article on what to see and do in the city: a Guide to Porto
👶 Planning a family adventure to Porto? Discover all of the Captain’s top tips in the article: Exploring Porto with the Kids: Family-Friendly Activities
Brief history of the Soares dos Reis National Museum
The origins of the Soares dos Reis National Museum
Founded by King Dom Pedro IV in 1833 to accommodate the property of monasteries dissolved following the civil war between Portuguese liberals and conservatives, the Soares dos Reis Museum is Portugal’s oldest public art museum.
At the time of its creation, the museum was housed in the Convent of Santo António, east of Porto, and was named Museu Portuense de Pinturas e Estampas (in English “Portuan Museum of Paintings and Prints”).
A century later, for museum’s centenary, it is renamed “Soares dos Reis Museum”. In 1940, the museum was moved to the Carrancas Palace, in the center of Porto.
Why is the museum called Soares dos Reis?
The museum is named after the Portuguese sculptor António Soares dos Reis (born in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the other side of the Douro). You’ll find plenty of his sculptures in the museum.
Visiting the Soares dos Reis Museum in Porto
The Carrancas Palace
The Palace of Carrancas is a neo-classical buidling built the Moraes e Castro family at the end of the 19th century.
The palace was converted into the headquarters of the Napoleonic army during the French occupation of the city, before passing between the hands of the troops of the Duke of Wellington.
Be sure to have a look at the palace’s tree-lined courtyard. On sunny days, Captain Ulysse recommends taking the time to have coffee in the museum’s courtyard, away from the city’s hustle and bustle!
The collections of the Soares dos Reis National Museum
The museum houses vast collections of Portuguese art, dating in particular from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Visitors can discover many sculptures by the artist Soares dos Reis, but also a large number of naturalist works from the School of Porto (Silva Porto, Marques de Oliveira, Artur Loureiro, Henrique Pousão…).
The museum also exhibits beautiful collections of decorative art (antique furniture, ceramics, earthenware, etc.), musical instruments, goldsmithery, jewelry, etc. The decoration of the old palace has also been recreated: the dining room and the music room are particularly stunning.
Don’t miss the oriental furniture and objects brought back from Portuguese explorations in Asia, notably the Namban screens illustrating the arrival from the Portuguese in Japan.
Getting to the Soares dos Reis Museum
- Metro: Aliados station (line D)
- Tram: Viriato or Palácio stops (line 18)
- Bus: lines 18, 200, 201, 207, 300, 301, 302, 303, 501, 507, 601 and 602
Opening hours of the Soares dos Reis Museum
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is exceptionally closed on December 25, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st and June 24.
Admission tickets are €5 full price and €2.50 for the reduced rate (students and seniors). Access is free for children under 12.
The Porto Card also entitles visitors to a 50 % discount.
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in Porto!
👉 Looking for a place to stay in Porto?
👉 Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all the Captain’s suggestions in Porto!
🛏️ Accommodation: When it comes to reserving your stay in Porto, Captain Ulysses wholeheartedly recommends using Booking.com. or Expedia. You’ll find a wide range of options, from cozy youth hostels to luxurious boutique hotels. Here are the Captain’s personal suggestions:
– Youth hostels: Gallery Hostel / The Passenger Hostel / Rivoli Cinema Hostel
– Budget-friendly hotels: Moov Hotel Porto Centro / Rex Hotel / Decanting Porto House
– 3 and 4-star hotels: Village Aparthotel By BOA / Mo House / Fontinha Porto
– Upscale hotels: Pestana Vintage Porto / Yeatman Hotel / InterContinental Porto
🎟️ Activities: museums, monuments, guided tours, boat tours, excursions… there’s plenty to do in Porto! To avoid wasting time in endless queues, especially during high season, the Captain strongly recommends that you opt for skip-the-line tickets and book your activities in advance. You can book all your tickets and tourist activities on GetYourGuide and Civitatis.
⛵ Cruises: Porto is undoubtedly synymous with Douro! It’d be a shame to leave the “Capital of the North” without embarking on a Douro river cruise. If you’re only staying in Porto for a long weekend, the Captain recommends the six bridges cruise. If you have more time, then he highly recommends the Douro Valley cruise with wine tasting & lunch.
🎫 Citypass: valid from 1 to 4 days, the Porto Card includes unlimited access to city transport (including to get to/from the airport), free entry to 6 museums and a selection of discounts in museums, attractions, Port wine cellars and shops.
🚐 Transfers: you can take the metro at the airport to get to the city center (1/2 hour). But if you prefer to avoid public transport, you can also book a transfer at very reasonable prices.
🚌 Local transport: you’ll propably quickly tire of Porto’s steeply sloping streets and might be tempted to take local transport instead of walking. The public transport network is convenient and easy to navigate. You can buy your tickets directly at metro stations and bus stops (be careful, you will need to take 1 Andante card per person).
You should also know that access to public transport is included in the Porto Card. Otherwise, the hop-on hop-off bus tours are great options to explore the city. You can also opt for a pass including access to hop-on hop-off buses, the funicular as well as tramways.
Among other means of transport, you can also try the bicycle, the electric bicycle, the segway, the tuk-tuk, the small train …
✈️ Flights: to book your flights to Porto, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.