A walk in Belém
Are you coming to Lisbon? A walk in Belém is then mandatory! The area is the most beautiful in Lisbon. Belém is the district that best symbolizes the Age of Discovery. In the past, Portugal has been the number one maritime power in the world and Belém is the proof of it! A walk in Belém is definitely very inspiring and one of the most enjoyable things to do while in Lisbon. This article is about giving you a foretaste of what a walk in Belém looks like and I will share with you, its highlights, but also the reason why I love so much this district!
Walking in Belém
A walk in Belém is the best thing to do on the afternoon. It’s a small district so you can definitely see all its attractions and highlights in one afternoon! And you will still manage to have time to relax by the Tejo river or to have a little treat and eat one of our Pastéis De Belém. I highly recommend you to enjoy them on site, when they’ve just came out of the oven!
Walking Belém is very accessible for both wheelchairs and strollers. If you happen to come to Belém with a baby, you can come with a stroller rather than a baby carrier if you prefer. The sidewalks are flat, it doesn’t go up and down like in Alfama.
I love walking in Belém. It’s so enjoyable, peaceful and inspiring. It doesn’t matter which time of the year it is. A walk in Belém always puts me in a good mood, whether it’s raining or the sun shining. Looking at all the monuments from the Age of Discoveries makes me want to make big plans. Belém is inspiring in such an indescribable level. History has shown us that Portuguese are closely connected to the sea, to the sailing life, and to new discoveries. And while in Belém, you will too.
Belém is kind of a tourist area, but it’s totally worth it! You need to see and visit the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the Torre de Belém, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, and have a look at the incredible Ponte 25 de Abril. A walk in Belém is the opportunity to witness the beauty of the blue water and the blue sky while admiring this monuments. And we all know blue is such a peaceful color. A desire of sailing away to new adventures grows in you when in Belém. You will feel the urge to embrace your freedom and ambitions!
A walk in Belém is also essential to the understanding of why the Portuguese are called the “Heróis do Mar” (“Sea Heroes“, in English) in our hymn!
What to see in Belém
If you’re still wondering what exactly there is to see in Belém, read on to find out! I’ve gathered some of the landmarks and highlights I think are important for a walk in Belém. There is so much to discover, explore and learn about Belém but also about Portuguese History!
First of all, you really need to visit the Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos). It is one of the most important monuments in Lisbon and it’s been proclaimed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Built in the late 1400’s by the King D. Manuel I, with the gold collected from the Discoveries. The monastery is a perfect example of a unique architectural style only found in Portugal, the Manueline style. It is an amazing monument!
The monastery was given to the monks of the Order of Saint Jerome, from whom it got its name. In the church of Saint Mary, you will find the tomb of Vasco Da Gama. He was the most famous Portuguese sailor who discovered the sea route from Lisbon to India. The Jerónimos Monastery symbolizes the power and knowledge of the Portuguese. The remains of important Portuguese figures have been transported to the monastery, such as Luís de Camões, the poet who immortalized the Age of Discoveries in its poem Os Lusíadas.
The Torre de Belém is another very important landmark of Lisbon! The construction was finished in 1519. Its main purpose was to watch Portuguese and foreign vessels going out and coming in Lisbon port. It had a defense purpose as it stood in the middle of river Tagus (Rio Tejo) and protected the harbor of Belém, where all the ships were sailing out to the rest of the world, and in from distant territories filled with spices and adventurous stories! At that time, the Belem Tower was one of the most important crossing points in the world for international trade. The UNESCO elected it as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. If you go to the top of the tower, you will love to watch the waves smashing against the walls. The visit of this monument is essential to the understanding of Portuguese history!
If you still have some time left, you should visit the Museu Coleção Berardo, located on Praça do Império. This museum hosts famous works of art. From Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon to famous Portuguese artists such as Paula Rêgo and Joana Vasconcelos, the Berardo collection is pretty impressive! All the modern and contemporary art fans will be delighted. It is a private collection in display at the Cultural Center of Belém. It was born out of an agreement between the collector and owner (Joe Berardo) and the Portuguese government. The museum highlights the evolution of art since the 20th century.
It used to be one of the few museums in Lisbon with free admission as Joe Berardo wanted to give Portuguese access to modern art. This agreement was renegotiated in 2016, so now the price for adults is 5 euros. Nevertheless, on Saturdays, the entrance remains free! The Berardo Museum is open everyday from 10 am to 7 pm.
Other interesting landmarks you need to see are the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Ponte 25 de Abril. They are breathtaking as well and also contribute to the unique and inspiring atmosphere of Belém!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my article about a walk in Belém and that I will see you soon in Belém for new adventures! Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences. Let me know if a walk in Belém has inspired you as much as it did to me!