Belém das Descobertas do Tejo para o Mundo

For my second Lisbon city guide, I decided to take a stroll around Belém, share with you the small knowledge I have on the Portuguese navigation golden days and the monuments you can visit that make this area one of the biggest tourist attraction in the city. Belém is the best representation of Gótico Manuelino, a ramification of the Gothic style that was present in Portugal, developed during the reign of kind D.Manuel I and that adds nautical elements to the gothic style. 
Belém is the kind of place that makes us travel back in time, which makes quite an ungrateful task to sum it up in a blog post. I am going to try my best to do justice to this amazing place. 

To get to Belém via public transportation you have many buses you can take but if you are travelling from the centre of Lisbon I would take the tram 15 that goes from Praça do Comércio to Belém and it takes around 30 minutes.
Once you get there you can visit one of the many museums the area as to offer such as Museu Nacional dos Coches, MAAT (a trendy building for Instagram pictures, that I couldn't photograph on the day I shot this post), Museu da Marinha, and many more. 
You are also more than welcome to stop to eat a Pastel de Belém, a variation of the Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata) that is probably the most famous. They are delicious and whenever I get them I always eat at least two!

Regarding monuments, Torre de Belém is probably one of my favourites. Classified in 1986 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO the tower was built on the 16th century with the purpose of being a defensive formation. It takes us back to a time in which Portuguese Caravelas travelled all over the world, in search of new places, new markets and new cultures.

The building within itself is magnificent. It's a postcard from Lisbon similar to what the Eifel Tower is to Paris.   

The next monument that is also a must-see is the beautiful Padrão dos Descobrimentos, an ode to the famous Portuguese navigators, facing the river, lead by Infante D. Henrique (Henry the Navigator).  The man that lead the expeditions to the New World during the age of the discoveries.  The building is shaped like a Caravela facing the river as if it's ready to take off. 
It's magnificent.

If you are seeking a more cultural experience the Centro Cultural de Belém - CCB is the place to go.  With a diverse program in different artistic areas, it offers multiple shows from music to theatre, to many other things. If one of your goals while visiting Lisbon is to get to know the cultural scene of the city it's mandatory that you check the CCB agenda while planning to see if there are any exhibitions that may interest you. 

Last but absolutely not least (I mean if I was to present the places in order this one would probably be first) is the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Another masterpiece of Gótico Manuelino. It reflects how rich we were around the time this was built, how hard it must have been to build something as magnificent and huge with the technology available in 1502.  It's magnificent (probably the word I've used the most on this guide but the word the describes this area the best). 
If you have to decide which of these monuments is worth to spend money visiting I would, without thinking twice, this one. 
Many important figures of Portuguese history lay in there, such as Fernando Pessoa, Luis de Camões, or Vasco da Gama
If you don't have time to visit the building on the inside, visiting the gardens is almost as worthy. There you will find an amazing view on both sides. You will see the monastery on one side and the Tagus river on the other. It's a great place to simply sit down and enjoy the sun. 

Overall Belém is one of my favorite areas in Lisbon. A great place to relax, to learn and to get direct contact with history. If you want to educate yourself more on a time in which Portugal ruled the world and its oceans this is the place to come.

Location: Belém, Lisbon, Portugal 

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