Heavy-liquid metals (HLMs), such as lead and lead–bismuth eutectic (LBE), are proposed as primary coolants in accelerator driven systems and next-generation fast reactors. In Europe, the reference systems using HLMs are MYRRHA (LBE) and ALFRED (lead). Extensive R&D programs have been established for supporting their detailed design and safety assessment, including thermal–hydraulic experiments at representative operating conditions in an HLM environment. These experiments aim both at a design verification and at the validation of numerical models, which allow an extrapolation of the results. Advanced instrumentation, capable of sustaining high temperatures and corrosion, is necessary for accurate measurements, often in compact geometries. This article presents an overview of recent experiences and ongoing activities on pool-type and loop-type HLM experiments. Pool tests include the measurement of forced- and natural-circulation flow patterns in several scenarios representative of nominal and decay heat removal conditions. Loop tests are focused on the evaluation of specific components, like mockups of the fuel assembly, control rod and heat exchangers. They involve the measurement of global variables, such as flow rate and pressure difference, and local quantities like temperature, velocity and vibrations. In addition to traditional techniques, other instrumentation based on optical fibers, ultrasonic and electromagnetic methods are discussed.