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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Sintra Museums – Exploring the Rich History of Sintra

Sintra, the magical town of Portugal contains a rich history that stretches back centuries. The many museums littered over the area allow a visitor to gain a glimpse into this vibrant history.


Museu do Ar

Roughly translating to "Air Museum", this museum is dedicated to showcasing the aerial prowess of the country. In operation since 1971, the main spectacle of the Air Museum is located at an old three thousand square meter military hanger. Over one hundred aerial vehicles are spread over the area while more than nine thousand five hundred aircraft pieces are on display too. You can expect to find rare aircrafts such as the Junkers JU-52, of which only a handful are available in the world. A smaller hall shows the history of the aircraft in the country while a second hall showcases navigation instruments and such. There are up to four other halls which are all worth exploring.


São Miguel de Odrinhas Archaeological Museum

Around eleven kilometres off Sintra, this museum is about twenty minutes from any hotel in Sintra. This museum opened all the way back in 1955, and displays ruins of an ancient Roman villa and a graveyard from the Middle Age. The museum is a must visit for any history buff, especially due to the epigraph assortment. Thought to be one of the most comprehensive collections in the world, it houses more than two hundred artefacts from the Medieval, Visigoth and Roman era. Aside from the exhibits, the complex has a dedicated library, workshop and a relaxation zone.


Museu das Artes de Sintra

Home to a large collection of the Portugal's contemporary art, it is located in a structure that once served as a casino and was built in 1920. Even if you are not a fan of arts, it is worth visiting this museum just for awe-inspiring architecture used for the building. The Sintra Museum of Arts has a number of programs that display art from a multitude of genres as well as the techniques used by famous artists. Close to most hotels such as the Tivoli Sintra Hotel, the museum has an area dedicated towards photography while a bookshop can be found inside too.


Sintra's Natural History Museum

Located right in the middle of the town, the Natural History Museum of Sintra is well renowned, both locally and internationally thanks to the rare exhibits present. To give an idea of how rare some of the exhibits are, this museum is the only location in the world where you can see the Braseodactylus, an extinct flying reptile and other similar artefacts. It does not stop there as you can find dinosaur eggs from as far as China and the remains of the Nantan meteorite, which was discovered in the sixteenth century. A striking feature of the Natural History Museum of Sintra is that it has artefacts from all the continents and houses over one thousand exhibits of fossils alone. If you are in the vicinity, a trip here is highly recommended.