This article explains the several ways how to go to from Lisbon to the neighbourhood of Belem and specifically Belem Tower – one of the best photo spots in Lisbon.
The district of Belem lies about 8km (5 miles) west of downtown Lisbon. It makes for a fantastic and very convenient day trip or half-day trip from Lisbon and is a must if you’ll be spending 2 or 3 days in Lisbon.
There are several interesting things to see – the most famous of course being Belem Tower (Torre de Belém in Portuguese).
How To Go To Belem From Lisbon
It is easy enough to get to Belem by public transport and there are several different options:
Lisbon To Belem By Tram
Taking the tram from Lisbon is the most common way to reach Belem. You can take tram 15 from Praça da Figueira, get off once you go past Jeronimos Monastery.
The journey should take around 30 minutes and it’s a lovely ride, going along the riverfront all the way to Belem.
As this route sees lots of passengers coming to visit Belem, the tram is a modern and larger tram as opposed to one of the older traditional ones.
If you have a Lisboa Card (Lisbon City Card) it is free to travel on the tram to Belem.
Lisbon To Belem By Train
Whilst the most common way to reach Belem from Lisbon is by tram, actually the quickest and most comfortable method of public transport to Belem is to take the train.
The train from Cais do Sodre Station departs for Cascais every 20 minutes or so, and it takes just 7 minutes on the train until you get to Belem.
It is worth noting that this is the train that goes to the beaches, so especially if you’ll be on the train at weekends or during the holidays in the warmer months, it might get crowded like the tram!
Again, if you have a Lisboa Card you can travel for free, plus you bypass the big queues for tickets! If you don’t have a Lisboa Card it will cost €1.35 for the journey.
Lisbon To Belem By Taxi
Of course the quickest way to reach Belem from Lisbon is to take a taxi. Taxis in Lisbon aren’t too expensive: it should cost around €15/20 for the 15 minute journey.
Equally, if you are coming from Lisbon Airport straight to Belem in a taxi, it should also take around 15 minutes and cost around €15/20.
Hop On Hop Off Bus
If you’re in Lisbon for a few days and are a fan of the Hop On Hop Off Buses for a convenient way to see the city, they also stop in Belem!
The stunning Belem Tower is a must visit when in Lisbon. Once a Customs House, a port and at times even a prison!
If you want to go inside Belem Tower or get pictures of the bridge that leads towards the tower without anybody in, then you will need to arrive before Belem Tower opens at 10am.
Before it opens there will be a roped barrier across the bridge so nobody will be on it. Once Belem Tower opens, the queues get really big and it becomes flooded with people.
The bridge is the only way in and out of Belem Tower so it gets full during the day so take the opportunity whilst you can!
Don’t worry if you arrive late though as you can still get pictures without other people in – just walk across to the other side of the tower by the grass and sit along the wall next to the water so nobody will be behind you!
Of course if you aren’t fussed about getting photos with people in on the bridge then you can come at any time throughout the day.
What Else Is There To Do In Belem?
Belem is a UNESCO neighbourhood with many unique museums and monuments to visit besides Belem Tower.
Jeronimos Monastery is a must-visit – it is incredibly beautiful and very impressive and absolutely one of the best sights in Belem.
The tomb of Vasco da Gama lies at Jeronimos Monastery. The queues will be long to visit the Church – which is free to visit. The cloisters cost €10 to visit, but if you have a Lisboa Card you’ll be able to enter for free.
Monument Of Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos)
The Monument Of Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) is located less than a 10 minute walk from both the Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower.
It lies between the two main sights of Belem, along the Tagus River. It was built in 1960 to mark 500 years since the death of Henry The Navigator.
Pastéis de Nata
Whilst you are in Belem you must try the famous Pastéis de Nata pastry! The cafeteria Pastéis de Belem is famous for them and sells them all day long!
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