If there’s a must-see cultural attraction in Porto it’s the contemporary art museum and park at the Fundação Serralves (April–Sept Tues–Fri 10am– 7pm, Sat, Sun & hols 10am–8pm, museum hours sometimes extended to 10pm; Oct–March Tues–Sun 10am–7pm; e5, park only e2.50, both free Sun 10am– 2pm; Wwww.serralves.pt), 4km west of the centre; bus #78 runs there directly from Rua Fernando Tomas (opposite Bolhão metro), stopping on Avenida Marechal Gomes da Costa, just around the corner from the main entrance.
The Museu de Arte Contemporânea (1999) is the work of Porto architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, and is a minimalist triumph of white facades and terraces strikingly set in an overwhelmingly green park. There’s no permanent collection, but instead several changing exhibitions a year draw on the works of Portuguese and international artists, mainly from the 1960s to the present day. Other exhibitions are held in the separate, pink Art Deco Casa de Serralves in the grounds. Details of all exhibitions and forthcoming events are posted on the website, or there’s an information desk inside the museum.
You can get a flavour of the building from the outside, and from the terrace café, more formal restaurant and museum shop (all free to enter), which means if the exhibitions aren’t to your taste, you miss nothing by just visiting the park. Indeed, many people prefer this to the museum itself and it’s easy to spend a lazy afternoon here, winding along the swept gravel paths and clipped lawns of the formal gardens before descending wooded tracks to the herb gardens and farmland beyond, grazed by goats and cattle. There are some art installations dotted around – notably a huge Pop Art trowel (Claes Oldenburg) near the main entrance – and a tea house in a glade with a vine colonnade. July and August see a sequence of “Jazz no Parque” (jazz in the park) concerts held in the gardens.