A doll hospital may not be on your top 10 things to see and do in Lisbon but if you have 30 minutes to spare, this unique place is worth visiting. Some tour groups pause outside the door but you really need to go in to appreciate how special the Hospital de Bonecas (Doll Hospital) is.
This is more than a workshop for repairing damaged dolls. The dedicated team make new ones, create costumes and have a collection of over 3,000 dolls. They also fix and sell other toys.
Lisbon’s original doll doctor, Dona Carlota, used to sit in a busy market square making and selling dolls. When local children told her of their doll’s ailments, she would prescribe treatment. Years after the market closed, tales of her cures continued to spread among local families until Hospital das Bonecas opened its doors in 1830.
The doll hospital has stayed in the same family for centuries. Even in today’s throwaway society, patients from all over the world are referred to the care of Cutileiro and her team of experts who examine and diagnose each situation.
Some, especially the antique dolls, prove to be quite a challenge but few are beyond salvation.
Address: Hospital de Bonecas, Praça da Figueira 7, Lisbon.
Opening times: Shop and surgery open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 7 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm. Guided visits to the hospital and museum Monday to Saturday 10:30 to 12:30 and 2:30 to 5:00 pm, €2.