If you want to go outside the ordinary tourist routes, the Puppet (or Marionette) Museum awaits, tucked in the middle of Rua da Esperança, in the old and typical neighborhood of Santos-o-Velho.
It lives in a 17th-century convent (Convento das Bernardas) with cozy and beautiful cloisters. The museum tells us about the lovely history of Portuguese puppets and its masters, and it also takes us on a puppet journey through countries like Indonesia, China, India or New Zealand.
Entering the exhibition is like stepping on a theater backstage: you go through a curtain and immediately your environment changes to dim lighting and a specific silence rich in different sounds and expectations.
The Gamelan style music unmasks the presence of the Asian influence of this part of the collection, and all the puppets and masks invite you, in their serious playfulness, to forget the outside “noise”, be present, and pay close attention to them and their story.
It’s perfect for grownups and children (of course). The little ones even have an area to play in, handle the puppets and create their own stories (you can try it too!).
You can visit for free every Sunday morning (from 10:00 to 13:00) and, for other days, there are certain discounts like 20% off if you have the Viva travel card.
If you don’t go on a Sunday morning, I suggest the end of the day so that afterward you can enjoy dinner or drinks at one of the many local restaurants and bars in Santos.