Libraries in Lisbon

The public libraries in Lisbon are full of history and charm. The shelves are lined with books 📚 and the spaces are magic-filled.

As famous as Lisbon is for its beauty, buildings, and history, the libraries are no exception. Many of the Lisbon libraries are tucked into corners of museums or used to be former palaces.

Today, I highlight some of these public libraries in Lisbon that you can visit. You can sit and read a magazine, newspaper, or book 📙 or work quietly.

So, whether you are a book lover or seeker of knowledge, explore this vast collection of Lisbon libraries to enjoy the pleasures of architecture and reading.

1. Belém Library

  • Address
    R. da Junqueira 295 297
  • Type
    Municipal Library
  • Opening Time
    10:00 AM

On the west side of Lisbon, you find the Municipal Library of Belem. The Library in Lisbon has been here since 1965.

It is on the western side of the Marquises of Angeja palace, in a wing dating back to the 18th century. Here, you will find an exciting collection of curiosities to explore whether you want leisure, culture, or heritage.

Once you step inside Belém Library, you will see a tranquil garden with a beautiful cafe where you can relax. The beverages and meals you enjoy here support the Hearts with Crown Association.

The foundation focuses on women’s empowerment to help improve their quality of life. The Library is a vibrant hub for community engagement and has a diverse program of activities.

It is one of many public libraries spread over two floors with multiple rooms for cultural events, reading, and studying.

Hot Tip🔥: Head to the second floor for breathtaking views of the Tagus River, a serene atmosphere for visitors.

2. Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal

  • Address
    Campo Grande 83
  • Type
    National Library
  • Opening Time
    9:30 AM

The National Public Library of Portugal has historical significance and is not part of the BLX municipal Lisbon network.

Although the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal is not suitable for daily studying, you can still enjoy the beautiful building and find a spot to study that day.

Here, you see noble wood shelves lined with books. The Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal was established in 1796 and evolved from the Royal Public Library of the Court to today.

Over three million items are available here, including a diverse collection of books 📚, music, manuscripts, and more. Furthermore, the Library promotes Portuguese literary heritage worldwide.

3. Ajuda Library

  • Address
    Largo da Ajuda 31
  • Type
    Distinguished Library
  • Opening Time
    9:30 AM

The Ajuda Palace, one of Lisbon’s noble palaces, is an architectural marvel with an extensive collection of books dating back to the 15th century.

It is a treasure trove of rare books, manuscripts, and historical artifacts. Biblioteca da Ajuda used to be the Royal Library, but most of its valuable holdings were lost in the 1755 earthquake.

Yet, it remains a beautiful library with invaluable collections spanning over 3 km of shelves. One extraordinary piece with historical value is the Cancioneiro da Ajuda.

The medieval songbook offers scholars and music enthusiasts a captivating glimpse into past music traditions.

Hot Tip🔥: While Lisbon has some great libraries, you can also check out these great theatres in Lisbon.

4. Biblioteca Palácio Galveias

  • Address
    Campo Pequen
  • Type
    Public Library
  • Opening Time
    10:00 AM

In the heart of Campo Pequeno, a centralized zone in the city, you find the Biblioteca Palácio Galveias in the Palace Avenidas Novas.

The Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal is in an imposing French-style U-shaped building enclosed with a wall featuring two gridded windows and a large gate.

Biblioteca Palácio Galveias dates back to the 17th century. You find a garden at the back of the building, the remains of the Marquises of Távora farm.

The name Galveias became part of the history of the building in 1801 when the 5th Count of Galveias João de Almeida de Melo e Castro took over the property.

In 1928, the palace was passed to Lisbon’s City Council and transformed into a Library and Museum, including an archive.

Here you find study rooms, versatile workspaces, a children’s area, and free internet access.

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5. Biblioteca de Marvila

  • Address
    R. António Gedeão
  • Type
    Public Library
  • Opening Time
    10:00 AM

Biblioteca de Marvila is one of many public libraries in Lisbon, and it is in an impressive building.

The library marvel designed by Architect Hestnes Ferreira is in the historic Quinta das Fontes building. It also has an auditorium that can accommodate 172 people. It blends old and new, creating a vibrant present.

The Library is a cultural lifeline for the community. It focuses mainly on children and teens who create and play video games and provides programs to engage and inspire visitors.

A local event is the Dias de Maravilla, a haven for gaming enthusiasts. The Human Library stands out for its social impact and has added community-oriented endeavors like the Meio no Meio, Visionários, and Sê Bairrista.

These play a huge role in community development and add cultural engagement.

6. Biblioteca São Lázaro

  • Address
    R. do Saco 1
  • Type
    Oldest Library
  • Opening Time
    11:00 AM

Biblioteca São Lázaro is one of Lisbon’s oldest libraries, dating back to 1883. It used to serve as the Central Library. The landmark is filled with history, and the Parish of Arroios provides a vibrant community space.

The Municipal Library of St. Lazarus focuses on providing educational programs that include Portuguese language courses for the locals.

The Biblioteca São Lázaro collaborates with many organizations, including Carpinteria de São Lázaro and Associação Cultural SOU.

With the partnership, they foster community growth with shared learning objectives. While it has historic significance as a public library, it brings visitors, especially Harry Potter fans, to the Noble Hall.

It is an architectural marvel untouched with a pentagonal design with noble wood shelves and a bamboo spiral staircase, and it captivates all. There is also a central chandelier to add to that grandeur.

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7. Coruchéus Library

  • Address
    Palácios dos Coruchéus
  • Type
    Municipal Library
  • Opening Time
    10:00 AM

The Palace of Coruchéus has a mysterious history. It used to be a manor house-like building with origins dating back to the 17th century. The building suffered greatly during the earthquake and then underwent a vast transformation.

It is an L-shaped building with panels decorated with blue and white tiles dating to the 18th century. The panels feature bucolic scenes and huge flower jars. The property has been passed between several owners since the 19th century.

It ended up with the City Council in 1945, and 1966 it was a warehouse. Afterward, the Center of Plastic Arts made another attempt at construction.

Since 2013, it has been the Corucheus public library for locals to visit and tourists to explore.

8. Camões Library

  • Address
    Largo Calhariz 17 1º andar
  • Type
    Public Library
  • Opening Time
    10:00 AM

Biblioteca Camoes is also found in an old palace building in Lisbon’s historical center, Calhariz Square, on the corner of Duarte Belo and Rua da Bica. The building dates back to the 15th century and belonged to the family Marquises of Távora.

Still, the current building underwent many reconstructions after the earthquake. From the 19th century until 1922, it belonged to the Azambuja family. You first notice the imposing facade, which has a round window surrounded by low-relief and plant-inspired motifs.

In the 20th century, the building underwent several changes to match the commercial shops. Another main attraction compared to the other libraries in Lisbon is the big panels of tiles seen from the outside.

To get access to the Library, you see a stucco relief that embellishes the staircase.

Hot Tip🔥: Also, check out some of these bookstores in Lisbon to find interesting books to read.

Wrap-Up: Libraries in Lisbon

The public libraries in Lisbon are not just places to find and read books; they are architectural treasures filled with history and charm.

Each Library has its unique story and offers visitors a tranquil and engaging environment.

From the tranquil garden at Belém Library to the historical significance of Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal and the community-focused programs at Biblioteca de Marvila, these libraries are more than just storages of knowledge.

Public libraries in Lisbon are vibrant hubs for cultural engagement and learning. Whether you are a book lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking a quiet workplace, they have something to offer everyone.

I hope this guide inspires you to explore the rich literary heritage that Lisbon has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most famous Library in Lisbon is the National Library of Portugal, known as Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal. It is also the most extensive Library and holds a vast collection of manuscripts, historical documents, and manuscripts.

The largest Library in Portugal is the National Library of Portugal.

Biblioteca São Lázaro is one of Lisbon’s oldest libraries, dating back to 1883. It used to serve as the Central Library.

Tourists are generally welcome to visit public libraries in Lisbon. While specific access and visiting hours may vary by Library, most are open to visitors and offer the opportunity to explore their collections and facilities.

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