Visiting Belem: The heart and soul of Portugal

Photo provided by James LauLisbon is a beautiful European capital full of winding narrow streets and alleys to discover, magnificent cathedrals to admire, and panoramic views overlooking the city that will take your breath away. 

There are also many day trips that one can take to get out of the city and experience a different taste of Lisbon and get a feel for the heart of the countryside.  Read on about taking a day trip to Belem, the heart and soul of Portugal.

A day trip to Belém, Portugal

Hop onto Tram 15 in downtown Lisbon and take a short ride west to Belém to experience yet another personality of Lisbon.  Sometimes considered the historical heart and soul of Portugal, Belém was an important harbour historically, from launching exploratory voyages to waging wars, and still houses many historical sites. 

Photo provided by James LauYou won’t miss your stop as you get off the tram at the massive and magnificent Monastery of Jeronimos, which spans a full block.  Take some time to marvel at the gothic architecture and the beautiful exterior of the monastery before entering inside to discover the cloisters, museum, and tombs and wander around the gardens in front of the monastery. 

Make your way to the Monument to the Discoveries, a 177ft high monument erected to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.  It is across the monastery on the bank of the Tagus river.  

Photo provided by James LauDon’t miss out on a taking a leisurely stroll along the river towards the Tower of Belém, one of the crowning symbols of Lisbon.  The fortified tower was built around 1515 as a defense system and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.  For a few Euros, you can climb up the narrow stairs to the top of the tower and enjoy the view. 

If you wish to explore more of Belém, pay a visit to the Coach Museum, the National Museum of Ancient Art, or the Belém Cultural Center

Last but not least, on your way back to the tram stop, make sure you stop by a personal favourite: Café Pastéis de Belém.  Picking up a few of these authentic, one-of-a-kind Portuguese tarts and finding a seat in the café that never seems to run out of rooms will be the perfect end to your day.

Want to book a trip Portugal?’s Trip Builder will put you in touch with local travel agents with custom prices on your trip.

For more photos of James’ travels, go to:

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