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

Explore map

Top hotels in Belem

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
5 out of 5
Doca Do Bom Sucesso, Lisbon
SG$295
per night
16 Nov-17 Nov

Located in Belem, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. 25th of April Bridge is 1.9 mi (3 km) away. Lisbon Belem ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (304 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
Palácio do Governador
Palácio do Governador
5 out of 5
Rua Bartolomeu Dias, 117, Lisbon
SG$204
per night
4 Nov-5 Nov

Located in Belem, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. 25th of April Bridge is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) away. Lisbon Alges ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (262 reviews)

"the architecture and location along with staff and pool area"…"

Reviewed on 28 Sep,2019

Palácio do Governador
Pensão Setubalense
Pensão Setubalense
2 out of 5
Rua de Belem, 28, Lisbon
SG$104
per night
5 Nov-6 Nov

Located in Belem, this pension is within a 10-minute walk of Pasteis de Belem and Jeronimos Monastery. Belem Tower and 25th of April Bridge are also within 2 ...

4.1/5Very Good! (230 reviews)

"Clean, quiet place in cool location. Staff were very helpful and kind."…"

Reviewed on 12 Oct,2019

Pensão Setubalense
Hotel Jerónimos 8
Hotel Jerónimos 8
4 out of 5
Rua Jeronimos, 8, Lisbon
SG$131
per night
1 Nov-2 Nov

Located in Belem, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Pasteis de Belem and Jeronimos Monastery. Belem Tower and 25th of April Bridge are also within ...

4.3/5Excellent! (348 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
Geronimo Guest House Belém
Geronimo Guest House Belém
3 out of 5
R. 2 3, Lisbon, Lisboa
SG$122
per night
24 Oct-25 Oct

Located in Belem, this guesthouse is within 1 mi (2 km) of Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower. 25th of April Bridge and LxFactory are also within 2 mi (3 km). ...

5/5Exceptional! (6 reviews)

"small, tasteful, residential area. close to river and the western end of the city."…"

Reviewed on 12 Oct,2019

Geronimo Guest House Belém
123 Embaixador Hostel
123 Embaixador Hostel
2 out of 5
R. do Emb. 123, Lisbon, Lisboa

Located in Belem, this hostal is within a 15-minute walk of National Coach Museum and Jeronimos Monastery. 25th of April Bridge and Belem Tower are also within ...

3.4/5Good! (9 reviews)

"The location is very convenient. The staff is very helpful. But The room is very small and the bunk bed is narrow, not very comfortable. Shared bathroom and shower."…"

Reviewed on 13 Jun,2019

123 Embaixador Hostel

Popular things to do in Belem

Belem Tower
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Belem Tower

4.5/5(640 reviews)

Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located on the northern bank of the Tagus River in the Belém district of Lisbon.

Jeronimos Monastery
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Jeronimos Monastery

4.5/5(423 reviews)

See where monks once worshipped at this beautifully decorated monastery and where Lisbon’s famous custard-filled pastry is said to have been invented. 

Maritime Museum
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Maritime Museum

3/5(1 review)

Explore maritime history from the middle ages through modern times at this museum that celebrates the Age of Discovery, when Portuguese explorers traveled the world.

Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Image for Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Ocean cities often have monuments of their seafaring history. Visit this monolith commemorating famous explorers engaged in Portugal’s marine efforts.

Pasteis de Belem
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Pasteis de Belem

The house specialty of this well-known cafe is a buttery egg-custard pastry that was first baked by Catholic monks in the 17th century.  

Museum of Design
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Museum of Design

Admire haute couture gowns worn by film stars and furniture made by some of the world’s most famous designers in this museum dedicated to fashion and design.

Top activities in Belem

Lisbon - Hop-On Hop-Off buses and Boat
Image for Lisbon - Hop-On Hop-Off buses and Boat

Lisbon - Hop-On Hop-Off buses and Boat

SG$53

Three tours in a panoramic bus and one boat tour on the Tagus River using just one ticket! The Tagus Tour allows you to discover the Lisbon historical centre and Belém area, a cultural icon of the city. For a more detailed tour, you can take the Belém Tour.

Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour with Optional Bus Tour Combos
Image for Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour with Optional Bus Tour Combos

Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour with Optional Bus Tour Combos

SG$31

Uncover the best sights of Lisbon on a boat tour of the Tagus River. Discover the city's charms as you cruise along the waterfront, hopping off at any of the stops along the way to explore on your own.

Lisbon Belém - Sitway Tour
Image for Lisbon Belém - Sitway Tour

Lisbon Belém - Sitway Tour

SG$38

A perfect area to enjoy the river and the best the city has to offer combining it with history. Belém is known as the historic district of the Age of Discovery. It was from its waterfront that Vasco da Gama and other explorers departed for their voyages, events celebrated today by grand monuments and museums in the neighborhood.

Lisbon Bus Hop-On Hop-Off 3 in 1
Image for Lisbon Bus Hop-On Hop-Off 3 in 1

Lisbon Bus Hop-On Hop-Off 3 in 1

SG$30

Three panoramic open top bus tours in Lisbon, Portugal, on a single ticket. Three different but complementary views of the capital. Tagus Tour will show you the historic centre of the city and the area of Belém, where the historic feats of Portugal's voyages of discovery are guarded.

Lisbon 4 in 1: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Tramcar Tours
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Lisbon 4 in 1: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Tramcar Tours

SG$53

Take three tours in a panoramic bus and one tour in a historical tram using just one ticket! The Tagus Bus tour, Olisipo Bus Tour and Belém bus Tour offers you unforgettable views 4 metres high over the city, passing through Belém, Baixa, Eduardo VII Park and Parque das Nações.

Private Premium Transfer from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela + 2h Sightseeing
Image for Private Premium Transfer from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela + 2h Sightseeing

Private Premium Transfer from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela + 2h Sightseeing

SG$371

Save your time and experience a private premium door-to-door transfer. You will be picked up wherever you wish in Lisbon at your chosen time by a qualified local English-speaking driver.

Other areas in Lisbon District

Santos
Santos
trover photo by Eva Johnson

Santos

Known for romantic, museum, library

4.5/5(18 reviews)

Santos is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Lisbon, covering the Alcantra, Lapa and Madragoa areas. It’s known for possessing the perfect blend of old-world charm and contemporary flair.

Baixa
Santa Justa Elevator showing a city and landscape views

Baixa

Known for monument, shopping, cathedral

4.5/5(469 reviews)

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

Lisbon Old Town
Lisbon featuring a city and heritage architecture as well as a large group of people

Lisbon Old Town

Known for urban, architecture, monument

4/5(615 reviews)

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

Alfama
Alfama showing a coastal town and a sunset

Alfama

Known for romantic, castle, historicalBuilding

4.5/5(138 reviews)

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