Belém district defines Lisbon as a historic gateway for voyagers beginning quests for precious goods from distant lands. Hop on trams snaking through the area or walk the black-and-white tiled sidewalks known as calçadas. Belém means Bethlehem in Portuguese.

Lisbon’s history revolves around the ocean and the Tagus River, which runs past Belém. As you wander along the riverfront, notice the 25th of April Bridge. Arrive at a towering marble monument dedicated to Portugal’s seafaring importance. The Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Discoveries Monument) shows the country’s principal Age of Discovery figure Dom Henrique leading notable people toward the ocean and distant shores.

Walk beyond the monument to a small castle along the riverbank. The Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) fortification defended the area from attacks by sea.

Go inland to the Jardim da Praça do Imperio (Imperial Square Garden). Admire the magnificent fountain at the center. Look across the park at the sprawling 16th-century Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, one of the city’s most visited sites. The monastery was erected with funds from the lucrative spice industry.

Also near the park is El Centro Cultural de Belém, housing the Coleção Museu Berardo, one of Lisbon’s finest museums. Travel beyond this popular area toward downtown and look for the large pink building surrounded by trees, Belém Palace, the residence of the country’s presidents.

A short distance farther is the Museo Nacional dos Coches (National Museum of Cars) with a collection of carriages used by European royalty and popes. Try Portugal’s national pastry, the pastel de nata, first made at the beautifully blue-tiled Pastéis de Belém bakery. Lines can be long but the custardy tarts are worth the wait.

Any visit to Lisbon must include Belém. Take the tram to this area quite easily. Alternatively ride the bus, which is often less crowded and not as likely to have pickpockets.

Known for

museum, temple and monument

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Top hotels in Belem

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
5 out of 5
Doca Do Bom Sucesso, Lisbon
per night
15 Oct-16 Oct
4.7/5Exceptional! (300 reviews)

"Nice hotel but it is right next to the train and a busy street so you hear that noise throughout the night and morning. We wish we had known that before booking the hotel."…"

Reviewed on 16 Aug,2019

Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
Image for Pensão Setubalense
Pensão Setubalense
2 out of 5
Rua de Belem, 28, Lisbon
per night
7 Oct-8 Oct
4.2/5Very Good! (225 reviews)

"Excellent location, staff were very friendly, we have two rooms they were both beautiful and clean, shower pressure was excellent, check in was super fast, excellent for the price"…"

Reviewed on 2 Sep,2019

Pensão Setubalense
Image for Palácio do Governador
Palácio do Governador
5 out of 5
Rua Bartolomeu Dias, 117, Lisbon
per night
20 Oct-21 Oct
4.6/5Exceptional! (250 reviews)

"Lovely historic property with really high standards and attentive staff"…"

Reviewed on 20 Aug,2019

Palácio do Governador
Image for Hotel Jerónimos 8
Hotel Jerónimos 8
4 out of 5
Rua Jeronimos, 8, Lisbon
per night
29 Sep-30 Sep
4.3/5Excellent! (345 reviews)

"The location is great The property amenities was lacking a 4 star rating. We were awakened every morning by the sound of roosters and dogs .."…"

Reviewed on 25 Aug,2019

Hotel Jerónimos 8
Image for Geronimo Guest House Belém
Geronimo Guest House Belém
3 out of 5
R. 2 3, Lisbon, Lisboa
per night
22 Sep-23 Sep
5/5Exceptional! (4 reviews)

"This property exceeded all expectations; a family owned property by an architect who kept the original aesthetics of this home and renovated it with modern amenities; it was more reminiscent of a 4 star hotel...and the owner and manager were amazing; they provided everything we needed; not to mention, ..."…"

Reviewed on 8 Sep,2019

Geronimo Guest House Belém
Image for The Lisbon-Way Apartments
The Lisbon-Way Apartments
4 out of 5
Rua Bartolomeu Dias, 73, Lisbon
4.8/5Exceptional! (35 reviews)

"Well located with almost immediate access to a number of popular attractions but also to a supermarket, pharmacy and other amenities. Not at all sorry to have stayed there."…"

Reviewed on 7 Sep,2019

The Lisbon-Way Apartments

Other areas in Lisbon District

Lisbon Old Town
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Lisbon Old Town

Known for urban, architecture, monument

Discover views over the old town from hilltop Graça, Moorish history in Alfama, bustling downtown Baixa, bohemian Chiado and nightlife in Bairro Alto. 

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Known for monument, shopping, cathedral

Baixa is a sophisticated district of downtown Lisbon. It has picturesque squares, pedestrianised streets and avenues lined with elegant shops, cafés and theatres.

Image for Alfama


Known for romantic, castle, historicalBuilding

Explore Moorish castles and medieval alleyways in Lisbon’s oldest district before an evening of traditional live music at an authentic Fado bar.