Serralves – Art and Nature in Porto
Do you want to take a break from the historic vibe of Porto’s busy city centre? Step into the completely different world of Serralves, a beautiful museum, park and villa on the western side of the city.
A National Monument
Serralves is a cultural foundation that focuses on contemporary art, architecture and the landscape. It consists of a Museum, designed by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, the Serralves Villa, a unique example of art deco architecture, and the Serralves Park, designed by the French architect Jacques Greber. In 2012 the Serralves Park and buildings were classified as “National Monument”.
Lovers of contemporary art will really enjoy the Serralves Museum. The collection holds over more than 4300 works, mostly produced from the 1960s onwards. There are a lot of works from Portuguese artists, but also big international names like Marlene Dumas and David Goldblatt. It’s an impressive collection, complemented by temporary exhibitions and events.
The art is exposed in a beautiful building. The award-winning Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza started designing it in 1991. Eight years later it was inaugurated. It’s an impressive concrete and steel construction, covered with granite and plaster painted in a bright white. The museum has fourteen exhibition galleries distributed over three floors. All the rooms feel very spacious and serene, supporting the art in a perfect way.
Just a walk away from the museum lies the Serralves Villa. Built in the 1930s it was owned by Count Carlos Alberto Cabral. It’s a unique example of Art Deco architecture, located on one of the highest points of the estate, looking out over the gardens. Not everybody can appreciate the peculiar pink building, but you at least have to love it for it’s distinctiveness.
The park is more than just a nice place to have a nice walk or little rest. By crossing the 18 hectares you will come across various spaces, around 200 species of trees and shrubs and many exotical plants. There are even sculptures from the Serralves Collection permanently on display.
Serralves is located on the west side of Porto’s city centre. It’s not the easiest place to get to. Walking is a bit far (5 kilometres) and the metro will not bring you close either. Your best option is the bus (for example Yellow Bus Tours) or a car or taxi.
I personally went by bike, in a great ride around the city. I really liked it, but it can be a bit tricky sometimes, as the other traffic is not really used to cyclists. If you do go by bike, you can park it in the Serralves car park.
Read everything you need to know on the Serralves website. It’s in English!