The Carriage Museum is spread across four buildings in the 'Terreiro da Ilha' area to the north of the Ducal Palace in Vila Viçosa.
The Royal Coach House was built in the reign of King João V in 1728 to replace the 17th-century coach house commissioned by the seventh Duke of Bragança, Teodósio II. It was built to meet the need to accommodate a large number of royal carriages, which came for the ceremony known as the ‘Exchange of Princesses’ on the border, overlooking the River Caia. The two Iberian royal families reinforced their ties through the marriage of Bárbara of Portugal (daughter of King João V and Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria) to the heir to the Spanish crown, Fernando VI of Spain, and of Princess Mariana Victoria of Spain (daughter of King Felipe V and Elisabetta Farnese) to the future King José I of Portugal.
The Dom José Royal Stables were built in 1752. They are about 70 metres long by 7.5 metres wide, and were thus able to house dozens of horses.
The double stables were built in the reign of Queen Maria I of Portugal. Each of the buildings is about 70 metres long. The interior, which is laid out in three naves, still features the original mangers along the side walls. The roof of the second building is a slatted, unlined tiled roof in the traditional Alentejo style.
This space is home to carriages from the National Coach Museum, the Palace of Ajuda, the Machado de Castro National Museum, Lisbon City Hall and the Library-Museum of the House of Bragança, together with various private long-term loans.
This highly diverse collection includes models ranging from ceremonial carriages from the early 18th century to light hunting vehicles from the early 20th century. They were brought together here in order to allow visitors to discover how horse-pulled transport evolved over time.