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All Things Belém: A Complete Guide

an image of the outposts of the belem tower in lisbon

While organizing a trip to Portugal it’s highly recommended to dedicate a day to exploring the historic district of Belém in Lisbon.

Belém is a historic and picturesque district located in the western part of Lisbon, Portugal. It’s one of the most culturally significant areas of the city, known for its collection of notable monuments and landmarks that are a testament to Portugal’s Age of Exploration. Some key highlights of Belém include the Belém Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery, and the famous custard tarts.

In this guide, we will explain you how to make the most of your time in Belém. How much are tickets for Belém Tower? How to get from Lisbon to Belém? This and more in this complete guide about Belém. Plus recommended routes, local tips, and prices!

How much time to visit Belém?

If you have a good amount of time in Lisbon, we advise to allocate a full day to discover Belém, but if your time in the city is brief, then you can experience the major attractions in Belém in half a day.

How to get to Belém from Lisbon?

Travelling to Belém from downtown Lisbon, can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the transportation you select. It’s important to note that Belém is a neighborhood within Lisbon, not a separate city. Belém is part of Lisbon, so you won’t be travelling to another city, just another neighborhood in Lisbon. However, Belém is outside of the city center, and we advise to use transportation to get to Belém. Here are some options:

  • Bus 728 from Praça do Comércio – approx. 25 minutes
  • Tram 15E from Praça da Figueira or Praça do Comércio – approx. 45 minutes
  • Train – from Cais do Sodré
  • Taxi – approx. €15
  • Bycicle – approx. 20 minutes

Look at the map provided below for a comprehensive overview of the distance, estimated travel times, and available transportation options. Additionally, you can read our detailed guide that elaborates on each transportation method you can use to reach Belém.

Things to do in Belém

Jerónimos Monastery

This is, without a doubt, a must see in Belém. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Monastery of Jerónimos, in Belém, is an early 16th-century monastery that symbolizes Portugal’s Age of Exploration. Highlights include the Church of Our Lady of Belém (Santa Maria de Belém) dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the cloisters, renowned for their stunning architectural beauty and intricate design.

    • Jerónimos Monastery opening days: Tuesday to Sunday
    • Jerónimos Monastery opening hours: 9:30AM – 6:00PM (May – Sept) 9:30AM – 5:30PM (Oct – Apr)
    • Price: €12 for adult ticket
    • Closed on Mondays, and on January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, June 13th and December 25th
    • Church is closed on Sundays in the morning
    • Can be closed without previous warning for state visits

 

Belém Tower

Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the early 16th century. Originally serving as a defensive fortress at the mouth of the Tagus River, the tower also symbolized a grand, ceremonial gateway to the city. Its intricate stonework and historical significance not only highlight Portugal’s past maritime adventures but also continue to captivate and inspire visitors from around the globe.

    • Belém Tower opening days: Tuesday to Sunday
    • Belém Tower opening hours: 9:30AM – 6:00PM (May – Sept) 9:30AM – 5:30PM (Oct – Apr)
    • Price: €8 for adult ticket
    • Closed on Mondays, and on January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, June 13th and December 25th

 

Monument to the Discoveries

The Monument to the Discoveries, known in Portuguese as “Padrão dos Descobrimentos,” stands majestically along the northern bank of the Tagus River in Belém, Lisbon. This striking monument was inaugurated in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. The monument is shaped like a ship’s prow, symbolizing the many voyages that departed from this area to explore and trade with the rest of the World.

    • Monument to the Discoveries opening days: every day
    • Monument to the Discoveries opening hours: 10:00AM – 6:00 PM (Oct – Feb) 10:00AM – 7:00PM (Mar – Sept)
    • Price: €10 for adult ticket
    • Closed on January 1st, May 1st, December 24th, 25th and 31st

 

Combatant Museum

The Combatant Museum (Museu do Combatente) and the Combatants’ Monument in Lisbon are poignant tributes to the valor and sacrifice of Portuguese military personnel. Located in the historic Fort of Bom Sucesso, near the iconic Belém Tower, the museum and monument offer a solemn reflection on Portugal’s military history, particularly focusing on the 20th century.

    • Combatant Museum opening days: every day
    • Combatant Museum opening hours: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
    • Price: €5 for adult ticket

 

Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum in Lisbon is housed in the Jerónimos Monastery’s west wing, and celebrates Portugal’s profound connection with the sea. It showcases over 17.000 items, including model ships, navigational instruments, and historical vessels, highlighting Portugal’s role in the Age of Exploration. Key exhibits feature replicas of 15th-century ships, royal yachts, and the seaplane from the first South Atlantic crossing in 1922.

    • Maritime Museum opening days: every day
    • Maritime Museum opening hours: 10:00AM – 6:00PM (May – Sept) 10:00AM – 5:00PM (Oct – Apr)
    • Price: €7 for adult ticket
    • Closed on January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, December 25th

 

Coaches Museum

The Coaches Museum (Museu Nacional dos Coches) in Lisbon is renowned for housing one of the world’s most significant collections of historical carriages. The collection includes an impressive range of ceremonial and promenade carriages, richly adorned with paintings, lavish wood carvings, and exquisite upholstery, reflecting the artistic and cultural trends of their times. Notable pieces include coaches used by the Portuguese royal family, magnificent baroque carriages from the 17th and 18th centuries, and even a 19th-century mail coach.

    • Coaches Museum opening days: Tue – Sun
    • Coaches Museum opening hours: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
    • Price: €8 for adult ticket
    • Closed on January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, June 13th, December 24th & 25th

 

Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art in Lisbon is dedicated to preserving traditional Portuguese horse riding techniques. In Belém, it offers public performances where riders, dressed in 18th-century attire, demonstrate elegant maneuvers once used in military and ceremonial contexts. These displays, combining art, history, and equestrian skill, along with guided tours, provide a unique glimpse into an important aspect of Portugal’s cultural heritage.

    • Portuguese School of Equestrian Art opening days: Mon – Fri
    • Portuguese School of Equestrian Art opening hours: 10:00AM – 1:00PM
    • Price: from €8

 

Eat Pastéis de Belém

These iconic Portuguese custard tarts, a must-try for any visitor, offer a blend of creamy sweetness and crispy, flaky pastry. Originating from the historic parish of Belém, these pastries have a secret recipe known only to a select few, making them unique to this location. The warm, tarts provide an irresistible aroma and flavor that perfectly encapsulates the charm of Portuguese cuisine. Check our video for tips on how to get the Pastéis de Belém.

    • Pastéis de Belém opening days: every day
    • Pastéis de Belém opening hours: 8:00AM – 9:00PM
    • Price: €1,40 per pastry

 

Museum of Presidency

The Museum of the Presidency (Museu da Presidência da República) offers a unique insight into the history and role of the Portuguese presidency. Located in the Belém Palace, the official residence of the Portuguese President, this museum’s collection includes an array of artifacts, photographs, and documents that trace the evolution of the Portuguese Republic and its leaders.

    • Museum of Presidency opening days: Tue – Sun
    • Museum of Presidency opening hours: 10:00AM – 6:00PM (closes for lunch on weekends)
    • Price: €2,50 for adult ticket
    • Closes on January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, December 25th

 

Relax in the gardens

Belém is dotted with numerous gardens and serene spots for relaxation. Take some leisurely time at Praça do Império Garden, where you can appreciate the freshly restored cobblestone work of the plaza and enjoy the tranquil sight of its water fountain. For a bit of variety, why not visit the Tropical Botanical Garden?

Local tips to visit Belém

Buy ALL your tickets online

Go early in the morning and plan to arrive before opening hours

You’ll see more of Belém if you exit the bus at the stop “Belém”. Walk by the Coaches Museum and the Presidential Palace

Make your first stop at Pastéis de Belém early in the morning. Use the middle entrance to go inside, find a comfortable spot to sit, and enjoy a delightful breakfast

When returning to Lisbon, catch tram 15E from the “Centro Cultural de Belém” stop. By boarding here, you're more likely to find a seat and you can avoid the crowds that often gather near the Jerónimos Monastery

More about Belém

The video below is packed with useful tips, suggestions, and visual guides, including maps and imagery that you can screenshot. For a more detailed understanding of Belém, be sure to watch the video.

Our tours to Belém

Discover the best of Belém with our expertly guided tours, designed for your convenience and enjoyment. Our Belém Private Walking Tour(opens in a new tab) offers a comprehensive exploration of this historic Lisbon district, including access to the Jerónimos Monastery and a chance to indulge in the famous Belém custard tart. For those wanting a broader Lisbon experience, our Private Lisbon Tour(opens in a new tab) includes a stop in Belém, ensuring you capture all the other highlights of Lisbon. Join us for a journey that combines comfort, culture, and culinary delights. Book your tour today and experience Lisbon like never before!

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