Belem is a city just outside Lisbon Portugal. A day trip from Lisbon is to come and visit Belem. Even though it’s only about three miles from the town, it’s a day trip because there are so many cultural sites here you could easily spend a whole day in Belem. Here are the top places to visit in Belem, Portugal.
One of the most memorable attractions from Belem is the Belem Tower. This tower was built in 1519 as Harbor defense for Lisbon. You can go up to the top; it’s about a hundred steps up to the top to that viewpoint for great views of the harbor here. It is smart to come early because they only allow 150 visitors in the tower and the line can get quite long on busy days. After about a hundred steps to the top, there’s a pretty nice view that you can see of the suburbs of Lisbon.
Monument to the Discoveries
Another tower-like structure in Belem just about a 10-minute walk from the Tower of Belem is the Monument to the Discoveries. This tower was built to commemorate Prince Henry the Navigator and the people that are on the monument commemorate the teamwork that was required for Prince Henry to discover things as he was navigating. It was built in 1960 to model a previous monument that was built for the 1940s world’s exposition. Besides viewing it from the outside, there’s also an elevator that you can take to have a view from the top.
The reason Belem can take a whole day particularly if you are a museum lover is that it is like a museum central. There’s the Planetarium, the Maritime Museum, the Archaeological Museum, and the Jeronimos Monastery. The Jeronimos Monastery is a big attraction in Belem – it is big in size and also big in significance. This is one of the most significant examples of the Beleman style of architecture, the same style that was in that Belem Tower. There’s a big church and the cloister which is very decorative and well preserved.
Pasteis de Belem
No trip to Lisbon or Belem would be complete without a trip to Pasteis de Belem – the originator of the delicious pastel Donata or Portuguese egg tart. Since 1837, they have been making these big tarts as a recipe from the convent that was just next door. This place is quite huge; when you walk up to it you’ll probably see a line out in front, that line is to buy the egg tarts to go. If you want to eat inside you have two options, you can go on in and there’s a little line for eating at the counter or just go on in and have a seat in one of many rooms. You can even see where they make the egg tarts, so wander around and pick the seat you like best.
National Museum of Coaches
Another must-see in Belem is the National Museum of Coaches. Now you may think to yourself at this point seriously the museum of horse-drawn carriages, it’s that cool you have to go in. The building looks like a parking structure or a convention center. If you think the carriage in Cinderella is exaggerated, it is not at all it is actually understated compared to some of the carriages that are in here from the 1700s. Just to know, there are actually two coach museums in Belem. There’s the new one which looks like a parking structure and has 99% of the coaches and then there’s a little tiny one which is the original one. This is just down the street, so pick which one you want to go into.