Belem district of Lisbon is situated in the western part of the Portuguese capital. The district is very popular among tourists because of its countless attractions. Belem is historically very important for Portugal. Vasco da Gama who, thanks to his voyages, transformed the country into a huge empire, departed from Belem towards new trade routes overseas. Accordingly, Belem boasts its historical heritage inherited from its seafaring past. Many landmarks like Maritime Museum offer information and enjoyment from Belem’s rich past.
Other parts of central Lisbon are also great, but they tend to get a bit crowded and dense because of the city’s geography. On the other hand, Belem is situated along the banks of Tagus River and it is filled with open spaces. There are countless things to do in Belem, both in its green parks and among its countless iconic landmarks. Here is a list of some of them.
1Belem Tower (Torre de Belem)
One of the most famous attractions of the city, Torre de Belem is originally built as a fortress on the shore of Tagus River as a defensive building. A UNESCO World Heritage Site of the city, Belem Tower, also offers great views of the river. Exteriors of the tower are intricately designed and very beautiful in the Manueline architectural style.
2Maritime Museum (Museu de Marinha)
Very closely located to the Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos), Museu de Marinha is the museum where Portugal’s naval history is displayed in detail. The museum has two sections which respectively showcase historic pieces and ruins and boat models, and royal ships and aircraft.
3Banks of the Tagus River
One of the best walking routes in the city, the route between the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and the Torre de Belem goes through several landmarks and beautiful gardens. While walking this route, tourists enjoy the beautiful scenery of Tejo Estuary, and stroll through the Jardim da Praça do Imperio and the Jardim da Torre de Belem. For a peaceful day with amazing sights, this route is an amazing fit.
4Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery)
Initially meant to be a simple, small monastery; the construction had been immensely extended and expanded due to the wealth accumulated through Portugal’s overseas trade routes. The outcome of the long construction period was an amazing monastery complex with invaluable artistic versatility. Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is also the place where Vasco da Gama spent his last night before his voyages. Expectedly, the entrance of the monastery usually has long queues.
5The Padrao dos Descobrimentos (The Discoveries Monument)
Built to honor the legendary seafarers of Portuguese naval history, The Padrao dos Descobrimentos (The Discoveries Monument) is one of the most famous and important monuments throughout Portugal. The monument has the depictions of both the sailors and the funders. These depictions all support the statue of Infante Henrique who is the leading figure of Portugal’s discovery period. The monument overall also depicts the bow of a boat and the Latin cross.
6The Museu Nacional dos Coches
This museum showcases an unusual collection: horse-drawn carriages of mostly Portuguese royal families. There are also several carriages used by other European countries’ royalty. However, the collection of the museum is nice and it displays a wide array of carriages ranging many centuries.
Throughout the country, one may visit countless palaces. Belem Palace, as a 16th-century building is one of the most beautiful ones. Serving as the official residence of Portugal’s presidents for more than a century now, parts of the palace have become a museum.