A mighty medieval fortress perched on the banks of the Tagus River, Belem Tower is one of Lisbon’s most visited landmarks. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos), it’s a lasting symbol of Portugal’s maritime heritage, dating back to the early 16th century.
Belem Tower is a popular inclusion on sightseeing tours of Lisbon and can be visited on a walking tour or as part of a full-day private tour of Lisbon, Sintra, or Arrabida. Visitors can view the tower from the waterfront steps or enter to take in the views from the bulwark terrace, peek into the Governor's Room and King’s Room, and climb to the top of the tower. Its stately face can also be viewed on a river cruise.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Combined tickets are available for the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery, and the National Archeological Museum.
- The tower is closed on Mondays.
- The tower is only partially wheelchair accessible; those with limited mobility will only be able to explore the exterior and the lower battery.
How to Get There
Belem Tower is located in the Belem district of Lisbon, about four miles (six kilometers) west of the city center. The easiest way to get there is by tram—take the No. 15 from Praca da Figueira in central Lisbon toward Alges, and get off at Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (one stop beyond Belem). From there, it’s a short walk through the monastery gardens to the riverfront park, where you will be able to see the tower.
When to Get There
Belem Tower is open all year round but it can get crowded during the peak summer months, so you may want to arrive early (and opt for a weekday visit if possible). For the most atmospheric photo opportunities, visit at sunset or sunrise to admire the dramatic facade.
A Walking Tour of Belem
One of Lisbon’s most picturesque districts, Belem teems with historic monuments. After marveling at the tower and visiting the Jeronimos Monastery, take a stroll through the riverside gardens, visit Belem Palace, or browse the exhibits at the Maritime Museum or the National Coach Museum. Be sure to sample local delicacy pasteis de Belem (sweet pastries) while you’re in the neighborhood.