Caramulo was established in 1921, in the Southern side of the mountains of the same name, thanks to the initiative of a doctor, Jerónimo de Lacerda, who created, from scratch, the largest sanatorium resort in Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula. A magnificent urban work endowed with unique infrastructures in the country at that time. In 1938 it already had running water, an exemplary sewage system with its treating plant, a waste collection system with incinerator, electricity produced from its own hydro power plant, as well as an outstanding urban planning, featuring wide roads with sidewalks, green areas and public gardens of unparalleled beauty and in a never before seen rate.


In 1921 and 1923, Dr. Jerónimo de Lacerda’s two sons, Abel and João, were born. Being conscious that the advances in medicine would represent the end of the sanatorium, Abel, who had started a career as an economist, and his brother João, a doctor, started looking for ideas to ensure the thriving of their land and to pursue the extension of the work they had inherited. The two brothers decided to transform the existing structures, by turning them into a mountain resort and removing the disease epithet from the word “Caramulo”, thus transforming the mountain setting into a cultural and artistic pole of attraction.


With this in mind, Abel and João the Lacerda, would found, in the 1950’s, an unusual museum, located on a mountain in the heart of Portugal, surrounded by abundant vegetation, facing south over a never-ending valley of 80 Km: the widest panorama in the country.


With a strong passion for art, Abel de Lacerda would build a museum, following the highest and most up to date concepts of museology, to house an uncommon collection of art objects, comprising 500 items of painting, sculpture, furniture, ceramics and tapestry, ranging from Ancient Egypt to Picasso.


A man with a passion for cars, João de Lacerda would build another building next to the first one, created to showcase 100 cars and motorcycles, designed in such a way that all the vehicles could easily leave the building, for exhibition or conservation purposes.


With the premature death of Abel de Lacerda in 1957, the Fundação Abel de Lacerda - today Fundação Abel e João de Lacerda – became the holder of the Museu do Caramulo. Open to the public all year round, the Museu do Caramulo has welcomed over one and a half million visitors since its inception.


The President of the Republic inaugurated the museum’s building, planned by Abel de Lacerda to house the donated precious antiques, in 1959. It was one of the first museums designed and created in Portugal, embodying the modern requirements of museology.