Praça do Império, Lisbon, Portugal
21 195 6430
A more suitable home for this engaging naval museum would be hard to beat housed as it is in the west wing of the Jerónimos monastery. Not surprisingly, a good deal of the exhibition is devoted to highlighting Portugal's Age of Discovery. The scale models of the variously rigged caravels are rich in detail and illustrate the country's advanced shipbuilding prowess in the mid-15th century. Original artefacts on permanent display include polished brass navigational instruments, astrolabes and, in the Orient Room, Chinese porcelain and examples of Japanese samurai amour. A prize exhibit is Vasco da Gama's portable wooden altar. Another must-see is the Sala das Camarinhas Reias – the sumptuous Royal Cabin of King Carlos and Queen Amélia from the royal yacht Amélia, built in 1900. The museum tour is extended beyond the monastery to the modern pavilion opposite where a collection of rather plush royal barges is housed.