One the biggest attractions in Lisbon is the district of Belém, situated west of the city center. We were staying in Alfama, and although we like to walk every where, Belém is more than hour away. So we took an Uber! There is not so much to do in Belém – it’s more things to see, so you only need to plan in a half day.
First up, the Belém Tower. From The Culture Trip: “The Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) was built in the 16th century as a fort to protect the coast from foreign attacks, and like the Jerónimos Monastery, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an example of Manueline architecture.” We decided to skip the line to go the top of the tower and just enjoy walking around the riverfront.
After taking in the Belém Tower, we walked 15 minutes along the river to the Monument of Discoveries. I really loved this monument! It was built in 1960 to pay tribute to the explorers who went sailed out from this port during Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. On an impulse we decided to take the elevator to the top and enjoy the panorama view! We also loved the map and seeing all of the places Portugal discovered.
After seeing the monuments on the river we crossed the street to have a look at the Jerónimos Monastery. Although we had read it’s very beautiful inside, we decided to skip it and head straight to the bakery!
Of course no trip to Lisbon is complete without trying the famous pasteis de Belém! Luckily we read a tip to just walk straight inside to get a table – the huge line is for people buying their pastries to-go. They are so so so so delicious!
From The Culture Trip:
Everyone who visits Portugal learns about the famous pasteis de nata, but to sink your teeth into the real deal, made using the original 187-year-old recipe, you need to take a trip to Pasteis de Belém. The first owners of this well-known pastry shop (which was a sugar refinery at that time) purchased the recipe in the 1830s from the monks of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery), who first sold the pastries as a way to raise money. Flaky on the outside and creamy on the inside, they are delicious pastries, and it didn’t take long for the Pasteis de Belém to become one of the most popular pastry shops in Lisbon.
We had some time left before leaving for dinner, so we headed to the Berardo Museum of Modern and Contempory Art – which is free to enter. Because we had so much to see while in Belém, we weren’t positive if we’d make it here, but we did and I’m glad! The Museum is the largest cultural building in Portugal and it’s right next door to the Monastery. Very easy!