- Beautiful monuments
- Amazing food
- Close to Lisbon
- Historical monuments
- Great architecture
Belém is one of my favourite places in Lisbon and everyone that visits it falls in love with this town!
Belém is located about 15 minutes from Lisbon city centre and its a very historical place! It was from Belém that most of the boats of the Portuguese Discoveries departed to explore the world back in the 15th century, so there are a lot of references to this part of the history! So, if you’re planning to go to Lisbon you should save some time for Belém, at least half a day.
How to get to Belém:
By tram: If you’re staying at the city centre you can easily take the tram 15 which departs from Figueira Square and also stops in Comércio Square.
By train: The train that connects Lisbon to Cascais also stops in Belém.
By bus: bus 728 stops in Comércio Square and Belém.
What there’s to visit in Belém?
Belém is a lovely place even if you’re just planning to go for a walk. From anywhere you can see the river, the 25th April Bridge and you have amazing gardens and architecture surrounding you.
Belém has several highlights, but I’ll leave you here some of my favourites:
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos / Hieronymites’ Monastery
This place is quite a masterpiece and there’s no way you’ll not love it! Built during the kingdom of King Manuel I, its gothic architecture and Manueline decoration, make it one of the most important symbols of Belém!
Once inside you can find the tomb of Vasco da Gama (the Portuguese who discovered the maritime way to India) and of Luís de Camões, one of the greatest Portuguese poets!
Inside you can see also beautiful cloisters, an amazing church and much more!
If you only wish to visit the church you don’t need an admission ticket!
Torre de Belém / Belém Tower
Another iconic monument is the Belém tower, a fortress built also during the Discoveries period! This is a beautiful place to watch the sunset! If you’re lucky and the tide is up, the monument will be all surrounded by water!
Note: the tower might be closed if the weather conditions like wind or tide are not compatible with a safe visit.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos / Discoveries Monument
This monument is a homage to the Portuguese Discoveries and some of the most important figures of Portuguese history! You can go up to the top and have an amazing view of the city of Lisbon! One of my favourite parts is that this monument has a wind rose on the floor before the monument with a huge map where you can see the dates of all Portuguese discoveries (I’ll leave you an image below)! This place is just beautiful!
Schedule: 10h to 18h (from November to February) and 10h to 19h (March to October). Closes on Monday from November to February.
Museu dos Coches / National Coach Museum
This is one of my favourite museums ever! Here you can find vehicles since the 16th century, whether they’re royal, public, doctor vehicles and many more and it’s great! You’ll find the most important vehicles of Portuguese history here and some of them are simply art!
Schedule: 10h to 13h / 14h to 17h
The places I mentioned above are the main highlights, but there’s much more to visit in this area!
If you’re a fan of history I advise you also the archaeology museum and the maritime museum, which are on the side of Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and for those who love art, you can visit Centro Cultural de Belém, which holds a great exhibition of modern art.
Once in Belém, there’s something you must try…
So if you’re in Belém there is always a mandatory stop: the Pastéis de Belém! This pastry has the oldest recipe of the famous Portuguese custard tartlets and still to today the recipe is involved in a huge secret!
These pastries will taste different from any other you will try! I advise you to go earlier as the lines to get the pastéis are quite big everyday!
Had you ever visited Belém? Let me know in the comments.
If you haven’t, I hope you can make it on your next journey to Lisbon!
Have a great day
Patrícia Mano Ahmad, Travelling to the Green