Visit to the Belem Tower in Lisbon: timetables, prices and tips

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Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

The Tower of Belem, also called the Tower of Bethlehem or the Tower of San Vincenzo, is the symbol of Lisbon and Portugal in the era of great discoveries. Majestic and elegant, it is actually a 30-meter bastion with four small towers, blending together the Gothic, Byzantine and Manueline styles of the reign of Manuel I.
The tower is located in Belém neighborhood, in an area far from the center and, despite this, there are many attractions and museums in its surroundings. Far or not, it remains one of the most visited and photographed monuments in the city of Lisbon: absolutely not to be missed!
So let's see the information you need for one visit to the Belem Tower in Lisbon.



Index

  1. Hours and prices
  2. Online tickets and guided tours
  3. What to see and how to visit the Belem Tower
  4. Where is it and how to get there
  5. Useful tips for visiting the attraction
  6. Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
  7. User questions and comments

Hours and prices

The Belem Tower is closed every Monday, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st and December 25th.

  • from October to April 10: 00-17: 30 / From May to September 10: 00-18: 30
  • Best time to avoid queues: early in the morning or late afternoon
  • Adults € 8,50 - buy online. Entrance to the Tower + Jerónimos Monastery € 12,00. Tower + Monastery + Ajuda Palace entrance € 16,00
  • Reductions: 50% discount for over 65 and families with 4 or more members (parents + children)
  • Free: children under 12, on the first Sunday of each month and with the Lisbon Card

Online tickets and guided tours

What to see and how to visit the Belem Tower

The Belem Tower was built in defensive purpose, therefore inside you will not find particular decorations, but a solemn austerity. It is essentially composed of tower and bulwark, and to access you will have to cross a walkway and the drawbridge, then you can walk on the defensive walls.

The exterior of the tower has beautiful stone decorations of a pearl gray color which, when the sun shines, is enhanced leaving anyone who looks at it speechless.

Instead, the interior is made up of 3 plans in which there are: the Audience Hall Hall of the King Hall of the Governor, a chapel and panoramic terrace. From the terrace there is a breathtaking view of the Tagus River and the western part of Lisbon.

Around, you can visit the famous Jerónimos Monastery, a splendid example of Portuguese architecture that includes sculptures, the church where the Vasco da Gama tomb and a beautiful cloister. Again, the Ajuda Palace, official residence of the royal family in the second half of the th century, which houses important art collections.
I recommend that you inquire at the ticket offices, because there are several packages that include these and other places of interest (for example the fascinating Botanical Garden) with a visit to the Belem Tower.



Where is it and how to get there

  • On foot: being outside the center, it is better to use public transport to reach it. If you want to take a long walk, you can take Av. Brasilia southbound from the center of Lisbon and walk about an hour - Get directions
  • By bus: lines 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751
  • By tram: line 15
  • By metro: line de Cascais, Belem stop

Useful tips for visiting the attraction

  1. Get up early: the ideal would be to reach the entrance to the opening
  2. Buy the city card: if you want to visit other museums or attractions in the city, you can buy the Lisbon Card and save on admissions, as well as free entry to the Bélem Tower - more info on the Lisbon Card
  3. Priority ticket: buy the fast-track ticket to avoid the endless queues
  4. Minimum time: consider a minimum of 30 minutes to visit the tower, the ideal would be at least an hour. If you have time, set aside half a day for the tower, surrounding attractions and the Belem district.
  5. To save money: if you want to get to Belem by sea, don't join the expensive boat tours, but use the ferry. Among other things, the route to Belem from Porto Brandão is one of the most scenic. The cost is between € 2,00 - € 3,00 each way.

Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief

The Belém Tower was built in the sixteenth century on the initiative of King John II, to defend the mouth of the Tagus River. When John II died, the works were carried out by King Manuel I and were completed in 1521.

A curiosity: once the tower was located in the center of the Tagus and is now located on the edge of the estuary bank! Some claim that it was altered by the river water, others that it was a deviation of the river following an earthquake.

With regard to the visit to the Belem Tower, as mentioned, there is only one access, ie from the walkway that precedes the drawbridge. The fort is articulated on 3 floors containing 5 rooms; however, the visit inside is worth it not so much for the rooms, which are rather bare, but for reaching the top of the terrace and enjoying the view. Outside, however, you can observe the sculpture of a rhinoceros on the facade and the marvelous statues that emerge from above the turrets.

Belem is very popular indeed, especially in summer and on weekends, so expect crowds of visitors, also due to tour buses and cruise ship passengers. Try to arrive very early in the morning or late afternoon and book your tickets in advance to avoid the queues.
Furthermore, if you want to have lunch there is no problem given the presence of so many cafes and restaurants, however watch out for prices! For better value for money, try to find some places in the alleys behind the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.




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