s a World Heritage Site selected by UNESCO since 1983, Belém Tower is a popular destination for tourists. This Lisbon tower is only around 2,5 km away from the city center. If you ask “the tower of belém guards at the mouth of what river?”, you’ll see that it’s on the northern bank of the Tagus River. So, it’s easy to reach.
The original aim of its construction was to defend Lisbon. After years, the tower was used as a lighthouse. The design of Torre de Belem Lisbon carries traces of the Manueline style. Both the inside and outside of this tower offer iconic architecture to be examined carefully.
You can reach and visit the tower on the land or with a boat.
The History of Torre de Belém Lisbon
Torre de Belem (Belem Tower) is a 16th-century architecture. The architect Francisco de Arruda designed and supervised the building process between 1514 and 1520.
This Portugal tower served as a gate to defend the city against attacks and invasions. It also protected Jeronimos Monastery. Before Belem Tower, the vessel Grande Nau protected the shores of Belem. Then, the tower was built during the reign of King Manuel I.
After the city was defeated by the Spanish navy in 1580,Torre de Belem Lisbon was used as a prison. Years later, Napoleon made some changes to the tower. Finally, in 1865, Belem Tower Lisbon functioned as a lighthouse.
In 1910, it was declared a national monument. In 1983, UNESCO classified it as a World Heritage Site.
Design of the Tower
The Manueline style was combined with limestone and created Belem Tower Lisbon. The Manueline style was mainly influenced by the Gothic and Renaissance styles during the reign of King Manuel I.
The tower has five floors and a spiral staircase, and it has canons and a rooftop terrace. The ground floor includes 16 windows with cannons. You can also see the pits the prisoners were thrown into. Each floor has a special name. From bottom to the top, they are:
- The Governor’s Hall
- The Kings’ Hall
- The Audience Hall
- The Chapel, and
- Roof terrace.
You can find different carvings and statues throughout the building as well. These include the Statue of Our Lady of Safe Homecoming. People regarded this statue as symbolic of protecting the sailors. Another example of this is the small rhinoceros statue on the west part of this Portugal tower. It’s an important statue because such statues were among the first carvings of rhinos in Europe. In addition, the first rhino in Portugal was a gift from India in 1513.
You can also take a rest in the garden of Belem Tower as well.
How To Arrive At Tower of Belém
To arrive at Lisboa Belém, you have multiple options in terms of transportation. Trams, buses, and trains are available to be able to visit the tower.
If you choose to go by tram, take Line 15. A single ticket costs €3. You can leave the tram when it passes Jeronimos Monastery.
If you choose buses, you can take one of these bus lines: 27, 28, 29, 43, 49, 51, or 112.
The third option is to go by train. You can get off in Belem by taking Cascáis Line.
Opening Hours of Tower of Belém
- Between October and April: Open from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
- Between May and September: Open from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
It’s closed on Mondays, Jan. 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, and Dec. 25.
Prices of Belem Tover
Free entrance is available via Lisboa Card. For adults, the entrance fee is €6. For people over 65 years of age, it’s €3. Youth Cards also offer a 50% discount on tickets. It’s free for children up to 14 years of age. If you don’t want to buy Belem Tower tickets, you can enjoy only the exterior part of this building.
Tips While Visiting Belem Tower
You can follow the suggestions below to make your Belem Tower Lisbon trip more enjoyable:
- To make your visit more productive, try to see all the carvings in the tower
- Bring your camera with you
- Having comfortable shoes will make the trip comfortable
- Read about its history before arriving here
- Bus and train are cheaper than other options
- It’s advisable to check the weather before visiting the tower
- If you don’t want to be among crowds, visiting in the off-season would be better for you.
Nearby Attractions To See
There are certain other attractions near Belém Tower (Torre de Belem). You can discover these destinations as well when you come to Belem. Let’s look at these nearby attractions:
- Belém: It’s 245 m away from the tower
- Archaeology Museum is only 1 km away
- Jerónimos Monastery is 1.1 km away
- National Coach Museum is 1.6 km away.
PS: If you want to save some money and time, you can visit the Tower of Belém only to enjoy its exterior architecture and carvings, which is the real attraction of this Lisbon tower.