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.
museum, temple and monument
Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located on the northern bank of the Tagus River in the Belém district of Lisbon.
See where monks once worshipped at this beautifully decorated monastery and where Lisbon’s famous custard-filled pastry is said to have been invented.
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.
Ocean cities often have monuments of their seafaring history. Visit this monolith commemorating famous explorers engaged in Portugal’s marine efforts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is a sophisticated district of downtown Lisbon. It has picturesque squares, pedestrianised streets and avenues lined with elegant shops, cafés and theatres.
Discover views over the old town from hilltop Graça, Moorish history in Alfama, bustling downtown Baixa, bohemian Chiado and nightlife in Bairro Alto.
Explore Moorish castles and medieval alleyways in Lisbon’s oldest district before an evening of traditional live music at an authentic Fado bar.