a breezy villa and contemporary art institution in porto

Serralves is a celebrated cultural institution in Portugal, hidden a distance away from the city center on sprawling estate grounds in Foz. Because of its less convenient location, Serralves isn’t overrun by tourists, making for a more peaceful environment with mostly locals and art lovers. The foundation consists of the museum (Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves), the Serralves villa, the cinema (Casa do Cinema Manoel de Oliviera) and lush gardens in the large park around the museum, which easily makes it a perfectly packaged afternoon itinerary.

Serralves the museum is the premier contemporary art museum in Portugal, featuring a varied collection of works from Portuguese and international artists that capture the culture of the time, from the 60s onwards. On top of the art museum, which in itself features some highly interactive pieces (crowd pleasers for kids and adults alike — think of it as an experiential museum for cultured people), they also go all in on cultivating the community with robust event programming and themed exhibitions. Combined with the cinema and auditorium’s performances, Serralves is truly a center for cultural education and entertainment.

Of course, all of this is situated on large estate grounds, which was acquired by the government in the 80s for the very purpose of establishing a space for art in the city. Art is present throughout the park, with larger than life sculptures and installations dotted around the well landscaped grounds. The park cover 18 hectares, which includes gardens, woodlands and even a farm. The villa, an art deco mansion that was build as the private summer residence of the Count of Vizela in the early 20th century, is now a historic museum and serves as the headquarters for the foundation.

the details

AddressR. Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto
Hours10:00 – 18:00 weekdays, 10:00-19:00 weekends
Price$$ – €20 (~$24) for a full ticket including the park, €12 (~$14) for “partial” tickets (ie: just the museum, the park, cinema, villa)
Aestheticmodern for the museum, art deco for the villa

good to know

Go here for: an escape from the touristy city center

Don’t miss: Treetop Walk, a new tree canopy level walkway that offers elevated views of the park and is a part of the foundation’s commitment to connecting with nature

Amount of time to spend: budget at least 2-3 hours, about an hour for the museum (it’s not that big) and another hour or so for the gardens

When to come: ideally on a warm sunny day, so you can fully enjoy the gardens

Getting here: the best way to get here is by bus or car, as the tram does not come out this far, lines 201, 203, 502 and 504 buses have nearby stops

Other things to note:

  • Students, youth and seniors get 50% off prices, and children under 12 get in free.
  • Check out their events calendar before you plan a visit. During the summers, they hold concerts in the park.

Last visited: May 2019

Last updated: February 2021

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