Torre de Belém
Torre de BelémLocated west of central Lisbon, Torre de Belém is a trip best done by metro or taxi. Once there, climb the steps that date back to the 16th century and get a bird’s-eye view of the Portuguese capital. Some of its neighbors will make venturing into this area more than worthwhile, too. Jeronimos Monastery features beautiful Manueline architecture, and Pasteis de Belém is a prime spot to devour Portugal’s most renowned desert: the pastel de nata.
A Stunning Historic Stronghold
As time passed with tides and storms, the shoreline changed and the Tower is now at the riverbank. Access to the Tower is over a gangplank leading to the drawbridge.
As centuries passed, the Torre de Belem deteriorated. In 1983, UNESCO named the Torre de Belem as a World Heritage Site. Restoration began in the 1990's and the Tower was preserved.
The white stone structure has Moorish styled watch towers, much ornate design, and there are four stories of history to peruse.
I toured the Tower and learned a great deal about it and the city of Lisbon. I have been back and learn something new with each visit.
The 1st floor is the Governor's Hall with a spiral staircase leading to the 2nd floor - the King's Hall ( the Royal Residence). The loggias offered a river view. The 3rd floor is the Audience Hall, and the 4th has a stunning chapel with a ribbed high ceiling.
Admission is free with the Lisboa Card; closed Mondays. Bus, train, or my favorite - the tram, will get you to this area.
In the late afternoon, the entire Tower and the river take on a golden glow. It's a spectacular site.
The Tower of Belem should be on your list for Lisbon. Much to do in the area, too.
Sweeping Views from Atop the Tower
A Hidden Gem
Tower of Belem at sunset.
Although it now sits majestically on the shore where the Tagus meets the Atlantic Ocean, Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) was actually built atop a manmade island in 1519, when the banks of the river extended as far as the monastery behind it. The tower’s main purpose was to defend Portuguese caravels from pirate attacks as the ships returned from Portugal’s far-flung colonies, loaded with precious goods and spices.