Porto has a few museums that are quite singular and concerned about local history.
Last week we gave you some tips on the best places to check out what’s new in the art scene, and now we show you our choices of 5 unique museums that you can only find here in Porto! Great places to visit if you want to immerse in the city’s history, ideal for family trips or even rainy days ;)
Do you know that Porto has the biggest Synagogue in the Iberian peninsula? Inaugurated in 1938, the Synagogue Kadoorie – Mekor Haim is the core of the Israelite Community of Porto. The Porto Jewish Museum, that occupies the first floor of the synagogue, was opened in July of 2015 and intend to present the culture and history of the Jewish religion and, of course, to highlight the history of the Jewish community in the city of Porto from the medieval times to today.
The collection holds documents and historical objects of great relevance, like a panel with the names of the 842 “new-Christians” that were convicted in Porto between 1541 to 1737. An important part of the museum is dedicated to the memory of Capitão Barros Bastos, the founder of the local Jewish community and of this synagogue. Visitors can also see the prayer room, the Yeshivah classroom, a space with various religious ornaments of Judaism (menorah, Chanukah, mezuzah, talit, kipah, tefillin, etc.) and a library.
If you’re not familiar with Judaism, the guided tours of the Museum will certainly help you understand the history, practice, and importance of this religion and its community. If you want to know more about the connections between Judaism and the city of Porto, book a Jewish Porto Tour to learn and see all about it with us!
Address: Rua de Guerra Junqueiro, 340.
Hours: 9:30am to 12:30pm – 2:30pm to 5:30pm. Closes on Saturday and on religious holidays.
Price: 5€ per person.
Phone number: +351 911768596
The Transports and Communications Museum (MTC) is located in the Alfândega Nova building, one of the most emblematic spaces in the city of Porto dated from the 19th century. The Museum has as its mission to promote the history and development of the transports and communication devices created by mankind. A visit to this museum will provide you a striking experience in a unique atmosphere.
The MTC hosts long-term exhibitions – Comunicar (“to communicate”); O Motor da República: Os Carros dos Presidentes (“The Engine of Republic: Cars of Presidents”) and O Automóvel do Espaço e no Tempo (“The Automobile in Space and in Time”), along with an interpretative visit to the building. The temporary exhibitions are dedicated to different thematics related to the museum collection, check their website before visiting!
After your visit, walk around the very typical Miragaia neighborhood. Send us a message and book a Porto B-Side Tour if you want us to show you our favorite places in that area.
Address: Edifício da Alfândega – Rua Nova da Alfândega
Hours: Tuesday to Friday – 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm. Weekend and holidays, 3 pm to 7 pm.
Phone number: +351 223403000
The Museu do Carro Eléctrico (Tram Museum) is all about… trams, of course. But the visit to this museum also includes a beautiful location (the old Massarelos neighbourhood power station, located in front of the river with great views), a collection of other vehicles that used to run along the streets of Porto – for example, a horse-pulled Amercian trolley bus which were first introduced in Porto in 1872 – and some of the original equipment used to produce and transform the electricity that powered the transportation network during the 20th century.
The museum opened in 1992 and also has an educational program with different activities, a store, and an information center. If you’re feeling eccentric, you can rent a restored 1920’s tram for a private ride! But if you just want to to take a ride in one of the most beautiful tram lines in the city, learn more about Porto and its history, book a Porto Tram Tour with us!
Address: Alameda de Basílio Teles, 51
Hours: Monday 10 am to 6 pm. Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 am to 6 pm.
Phone number.: +351 226158185
The city’s Military Museum has a collection of light weapons, equipment, uniforms and artillery dated from the 16th century up until the middle of the 20th century. The museum was opened in 1980 but its original concept goes back to the end of the 19th century, when Joaquim Vitorino Ribeiro, a local painter, collected through his life pieces and documents related to the troubled years of the French Invasion and the Liberal Wars. This collection was exhibited in 1920 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Liberal Revolution and that occasion motivated the City Hall the desire to create a local military and historical museum.
After a lot of difficulties, the museum was opened and the collection was exhibited, 70 years after that first moment. The goal of this Military Museum is to show the public the vast historical-military patrimony throughout different exhibitions (both permanent and temporary), catalogs, conferences and by supporting local researchers interested in this collection.
A particularly popular part of the collection are the miniature soldiers, which illustrates the development of warfare from the ancient to the modern times. They have over 16.000 little soldiers! If you would like to learn more about Porto’s history and the conflicts that happened in the city, book a History Master Class Tour with us!
Address: Rua do Heroísmo, 329
Hours: Tuesday to Friday + Sundays and holidays: from 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm. Saturdays: 2 pm to 5 pm.
Phone number.: +351 225365514
Last but not least, we have the Porto Wine Museum, that promotes the history of this product and its relation to the city’s development and cultural, architectural and social growth. Opened in 2004, the museum is located in a beautiful building from the 18th century that used to be a wine warehouse, and its privileged location just by the riverside is worth a visit. Right at the beginning of the exhibition, you can watch a video that shows us the ways of living of the people related to Porto Wine production: the tradesman, the sailors, the coopers, and so on. Throughout the museum, panels illustrate the trading activity, the Douro region and rail line, the Rabelo boats, the evolution of the wine bottle and so on.
Don’t miss the “Waterloo Vintage” bottles, dated from 1815! After a visit to this museum, enjoy a Food and Wine Tour with us, where you’ll get the chance to try local food and wines!
Address: Rua de Monchique, 98
Hours: Tuesday to Saturdays, 10 am to 5:30 pm. Sundays 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 5:30.
Phone number.: +351 222076300
Hope you enjoy our list! Let us know if you want a local guide to show this places, we will be glad to design a tour that matches your interest! ;)