Bartolomeu Gusmão and his flying machine. Lisbon Story Centre

Actually, it’s not that bad but I did find the pace of the interactive Lisbon Story Centre frustrating at times. Unlike a static museum where you can stop to look and read as and when it suits you, this recent addition to the city’s attractions takes a full hour if you do it properly.

Lisbon history

Your tour of Lisbon’s long and dramatic history is accompanied by an audio guide which is automatically triggered at the start of each section. The displays range from looped video vignettes of life in the early days to a model of the first ever flying machine. You’ll spend some time on board a ship and develop a sense of times gone by through photos and inlays.

I got a little confused by the commentary when it didn’t seem to match what I was looking at and had to go back to the ship before it made sense again.

Bartolomeu Gusmão and his flying machine.
Bartolomeu Gusmão and the world’s first flying machine.

Feel the earthquake

I was quite  tired before I even started the tour so I was extremely grateful for the chance to sit down to watch the IMAX style video of the before, during and aftermath of the earthquake that destroyed Lisbon in 1755. The video is very well done and quite moving, literally!

Tip: Sit at the back for the best views and vibrating seats.

The verdict

When all’s said and done, I think the Lisbon Story centre is an interesting experience which does help you to understand the profound effect that the earthquake had on Lisbon.

At 7 euros a ticket, it’s a little overpriced in my opinion but I’ll let you decide for yourself. It’s not necessarily a ‘must see’, but if you have time and money to spare, there are worse ways of spending them.

Update 2016: Although I haven’t been back since I wrote this article, I know that the Lisbon Story Centre has made some changes and improvements. See current reviews on TripAdvisor

Money-saving tip: You get free entry to this and many other Lisbon attractions with the Lisbon Card.

Toilet tip: If you need the loo, look out for the sign about half way around the tour. I waited until I was released into the shop at the end, only to be sent back through the exhibits in search of the facilities. Alternatively, you could hang on and spend 50 cents next door at the Sexiest WC on Earth (not).

For more information, visit the Lisbon Story Centre website.

Not sure where to stay in Lisbon? Click to read about which city centre areas make the best bases.

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