Best things to see in Belém. Photo of the Monastery

What are the best things to see in Belém? What are the main things to see in 1 day? How to get to Belém?

Nestled on the banks of the Tagus River in Lisbon, the historic district of Belém is a treasure trove of discovery, offering a deep dive into Portugal’s Age of Discoveries and its rich maritime heritage.

Belém also hosts 2 monuments classified as UNESCO Heritage: The Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém. 2 absolute must-sees during a trip to Lisbon!

This blog post takes you on a journey through Belém, guiding you through its must-visit monuments, museums, and culinary delights.

Key Takeaways from a visit to Belém:

Monumental Heritage: Belém is home to some of Lisbon’s most iconic monuments and World Heritage Sites. The Jerónimos Monastery, a masterpiece of Manueline architecture, and the Tower of Belém, a symbol of the Age of Discoveries, are must-visit landmarks.
Cultural Exploration: The district houses several museums and cultural institutions that celebrate Portugal’s past and its contributions to global exploration.
Discoveries Monument: The Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) stands as a tribute to the Portuguese explorers who led maritime expeditions in the 15th and 16th centuries.
– Eat the famous Pastéis de Belém: Belém is the birthplace of the famous Pastéis de Belém, a traditional Portuguese egg tart pastry. Visiting the original bakery where these delicacies are made is a highlight.

This video is a sneak peek into Belem near Lisbon:

Best Things to See in Belém in Portugal

The beautiful Belém Tower, one of the best things to see in Belém

Start your exploration of Belém with the Belém Tower, one of the UNESCO world heritage monuments. The Belém Tower is one of the few monuments with typical 16th-century Manueline architecture that survived the 1755 earthquake.

Rising above the water, the tower was built in 1514 ordered by King Manuel I. This monument also known as the “Tower of Saint-Vincent”, was built to commemorate the expeditions led by Vasco da Gama and also to ensure the defense of Lisbon.

Location: here


Built in 1960 on the banks of the Tagus in the Belém district, this monument is truly impressive as it’s more than 50 meters high!

It was built to remember Portuguese explorers and it represents the Portuguese caravels. The boat is turned towards the sea as if ready for new adventures.

Among the sculptures that adorn the sides of the monument, you can see historical figures linked to the history of the Great Portuguese Maritime Discoveries such as Vasco da Gama but also Magellan, Camoes, etc.

You can easily access the Monument of Discoveries on foot from the Belém Tower by walking the promenade along the Tagus.

Location: here

Jerónimo Monastery

Also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jerónimos Monastery is the masterpiece of Manueline architecture that draws many visitors to Belém.

Its construction began in 1501 and was completed almost a century later, at the height of the glory of the Portuguese Empire. It was offered by the King to the Hieronymite monks, in exchange for their prayers for his protection and the protection of the explorers who left in search of the new world.

From the exuberance of the ornamental details, typical of Manueline architecture, to the 16th-century cloister and the library, the monastery is a masterpiece! This is one of the best things to see in Belém.

Location: here

A boat displayed in the Marine Museum of Belém

Right next to Jerónimos Monastery, you can visit the very interesting and beautiful Marine Museum.

The visit begins with the explanation of the Great Discoveries around the 15th century, and continues until nowadays with the marine army. We preferred the first room with plenty of historical explanations, reproduction of old boats, and some historical pieces.

The last exhibition of the museum is a warehouse with real-sized boats and planes. With such a broad collection, this museum is absolutely worth it!

Location: here


Ajuda Palace, nr. Belém, Lisbon

A fifteen-minute walk uphill from the Monastery will lead you to the beautiful Ajuda National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Ajuda). This neoclassical Palace was erected between 1795 and 1802. It was not until 1871 under the reign of King Louis 1st that it became the official residence of Portuguese royalty, until 1910, when the Portuguese Republic was proclaimed.

The interior of the palace reveals an important collection of pieces of decorative art from the 18th and 19th centuries, from glassware, goldsmithery, marquetry to canvases, engravings and sculptures… The chapel of Queen Maria Pia houses the only canvas of the painter El Greco in Portugal.

This is a beautiful place to visit, although often skipped by tourists…

The entrance fee is €5/€3 (adult child) and free on Sunday between 10am-2pm.

Location: here



On your way out, take a moment to contemplate the view of the Tagus before descending to the Tropical Botanical Garden of Belém, a gorgeous oasis in the city and one of the best things to see in Belém.

Created in 1906, it reveals 7 hectares of vegetation with more than 700 rare species of tropical or subtropical origin. Initially known as the “Colonial Garden”, it houses pavilions built on the occasion of the Portuguese World Expo, each of them reflecting the architecture of one of Portugal’s colonies.

During the walk, it is not uncommon to come across peacocks, the only residents of this beautiful garden.

The entrance fee is 4 EUR.

Location: here


Coach Museum

The Coach Museum of Lisbon is located in the Bélem district. It is one of the most visited museums in the capital and it is not surprising because its collection is unique in the world.

Within this Museu Nacional dos Coches, you will find carriages and horse-drawn carriages used as a means of transport between the 16th and 19th centuries, mainly by wealthy and powerful people from Europe.

In particular, you can admire Baroque-style carriages dating from the 18th century that belonged to Pope Clement XI.

The visit to this museum is an opportunity to understand the evolution of this means of transport through the ages while contemplating the meticulousness of the work carried out on the cars as well as the level of detail of the most prestigious vehicles.

For us, this is one of the best things to see in Belém.


When it’s time for lunch, stop at Coraçoes com Coroa, the Belém bookshop café, hidden by a garden full of orange trees! Opened on the initiative of a non-profit association that raises funds to help women in difficulty, this place is a hidden gem in Belém.

Coraçoes com Coroa serves light lunch such as salad and sandwiches set in a beautiful and relaxed atmosphere.

Location: here


Pasteis de Belém

This is one of the most visited places in Lisbon, the old bakery where Pastéis de Belém was invented!

Pastéis made in the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém is the original recipe for Pastéis de Nata sold in Portugal, known as Pastéis de Belém. They have been made since 1837 from a recipe that, until now, remains a secret.

There could be a long queue before you can buy one of those in the shop, but it’s totally worth the wait!

Location: here



The Lx Factory district in Lisbon is actually a former large Portuguese factory that has been redeveloped into a trendy area. At Lx Factory you can find many great restaurants, boutiques from local designers and stylists, large concert halls and event spaces, as well as a library and so much more.

The simple fact of strolling through the Lx Factory is already fun in itself as you will discover many creative places. There are lots of street art, posters, and unique decorations all around the area.

Make sure to check Ler Devagar, a magnificent library with more than 40,000 books! The esplanade/rooftop of the Rio Maravilha bar is another awesome place which offers an incredible view at night to the bridge and the Cristo Rei!

Location: here

Best things to do in Belém

Belém is located to the west of Lisbon city centre.

The best way to get there is by tram or bus. The easiest way to get there is with the tram no. 15, which departs from Praça do Comércio. The journey takes about 15 minutes and the ticket costs €2.90. The journey takes about 40min.

Another unique way to get there is by boat. The departure is at the Cais do Sodré river station. It does take longer to reach Belém, but it’s a great way to discover Lisbon from a different angle. You will also pass the stunning and impressive 25 April Brigde.

Finally, for an easy and convenient option, opt for the Hop On/Hop Off bus. If you purchase your ticket here, it also includes a boat trip on the Tagus River and it’s valid for 48 hours. For more information click here.

Although we recommend staying in the Alfama district, Belém could be a great alternative if you prefer a quieter area of Lisbon.

For one of the most comfortable places in Belém and in a prime location, opt for Embaixador Apartments&Suites. The apartment is very new, nice, and clean.

The design is modern and elegant. There are many trendy restaurants nearby and it is close to public transportation as well.

Pasteis de Belém

The Belem district is a must in Lisbon. For us it was one of the highlights during our trip!

It is in this part of the city that you will find the most impressive monuments such as the Belém Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery some of the best things to see in Belém.

It took us a full day to cover the main sights in Belém. If your time is limited, then focus your visit on Belém Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, and try the legendary Antiga Confeitaria de Belém.

To save money visiting multiple places in Lisbon we highly recommend buying the Lisboa Card during your stay. In addition to serving public transport, it offers various discounts for visits and attractions. The funicular and tram routes are also included.

Enjoy your trip to this wonderful city!

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  1. This is an informative post. Got a lot of info and details from here..Thank you so much for sharing.