This unexpected museum is known as being one of the most important museums in Portugal and is the largest complex dedicated to this theme in the world.
The National Bread Museum offers a multi-sensory experience which focuses on the three-hundred-year-old history of Portuguese bread. It is in the four thematic rooms that the history of bread is explained in exhibitions that reveal the history of agriculture, the processing of cereals, milling, baking and displays ancient utensils, but also the art of bread and its influence on politics and social and religious issues.
When asked why this unique place attracts so many visitors, Luisa Paulos from Museu do Pão told The Portugal News that “Throughout these 19 years we have received thousands of people that when visiting Serra da Estrela, visited us even though that was not the purpose of their trip. But here they found much more than a trip to the wonderful world of bread. From here they took an emotional and unexpected return to their origins among mills, tools, bags of bread and life stories. From here they took away an experience that will remain stuck in their hearts forever.” Luisa is not wrong, the museum boasts fantastic reviews with visitors calling it a great surprise and one everyone should visit if in the area, especially with children.
Luisa added that “The museum is a multisensory and culturally enriching experience which is great for all ages because it is a space to relive and create memories for life. Visiting the Bread Museum gives visitors that nostalgic feeling. The friendliness with which visitors are received makes us a unique place to visit as we promise a journey into the memories of the past.”
The Wonderful Word of the Hermians
This thematic and educational space is dedicated to younger visitors, here you will find the gnomes of the Hermians tribe, protectors of the first inhabitants of the Hermínios hills, who invite you on an imaginary and mythical journey into the past of bread as it recreates 14 stages of bread-making with an interactive exhibition. At the end of the visit, it's time to get hands dirty and make your own bread, which is baked in the oven and then feel free to take your creation home. Outside, there is a beautifully crafted carousel which was uniquely constructed by the same manufacturer as the Eiffel Tower, with the theme… you guessed it, of bread. It is accessible to all regardless of age, so you can relive your childhood.
Luisa explained that the restaurant is an “authentic centre of gastronomic research, where ancient—and noble—traditional Portuguese flavours are rediscovered.” You can enjoy plenty of rich delicacies in which the Bread Museum “brings back traditional recipes from our cuisine through a menu which makes bread the star ingredient.”
Additionally, Fernando Pessoa's writing desk and a rare first edition of his book, Message (Mensagem), are exhibited here. This personal object, where the poet found inspiration to write his works was attained at auction from his family.
“An expedition into the ambience of old grocery stores in a space that brings back memories that are part of our history. From wheat and chocolate bread to oat, plain wheat, and rye breads, and white and yellow corn bread, there is a whole world of Bread to explore. You can also enjoy canned fish specialities by Comur, around 30 varieties carefully prepared using an exclusively handcrafted process, cured meats, jams, honey, Serra da Estrela PDO cheese from Quinta da Lagoa, spirits, crafts, and our own brand of savoury and sweet gluten-free products.”
The Library Bar offers panoramic views of the vast Serra da Estrela Mountain range in which you can enjoy coffee, music and a good old book. The library offers countless works, maps and important collections of manuscripts and old books. What makes this space particularly special is that it is a key national resource for research on the topic of bread. It includes key documents archived for researchers and students of the theme of bread which safeguards the value of this heritage.
Regarding the future of the museum, Luisa told The Portugal News that “We will continue to invest in the promotion of bread as a universal good and in the promotion of its history and culture. When, on 26 September 2002, we inaugurated the Bread Museum, we were far from imagining what would follow and the emotions that would be aroused by such a disruptive project, despite touching on such a universal theme. Even though museums have always been important instruments for preserving the cultural memory of a people, almost two decades ago only a small part of the population visited them. For many people, the Bread Museum was the first museum they ever visited!
Luisa also explained that “At Christmas we will present our visitors with many novelties and with the usual magic that we usually do at that time of the year. The Bread Museum is always one of the greatest references in the country when it comes to celebrating the season in a special way.”
The entrance fee is five euros for adults and three euros for children. For more information about the Bread Museum (Museu do Pão) please visit .