Follow me for another day in Lisbon and its surroundings, in this case Belém ❤ Located a few kilometers away from the current city center of Lisbon, this picturesque district has a lot to offer in terms of monuments and sightseeing. Historically, Belém gets its name from Bethlehem and was the harbour from which many ships departed during the the era of discoveries 🙂 In short, this is a district to visit absolutely…
Getting there is quite easy from Lisbon and you need to stop at Belém or Jeronimos depending on what you want to visit first:
- Tram E15 from Praça do Comercio for 1.4€ per way;
- Bus 728 which also stops at Praça do Comercio for 1.4€ per way;
- Sightseeing buses, Hop on Hop off if you take the correct line;
The journey to Belém can take from 15 minutes to 35 depending on the traffic and the time of the day of course 😉
We decided to stop at Jeronimos to start our day with the Jeronimos Monastery. From outside it is already quite impressive but you must see the inside…But first, entrance queue and fee 🙂 You can either buy your ticket to the Monastery for 10€ or a combined one to visit more monuments. We decided to take the Monastery and the Belém Tower which cost only 12€ per person. From there, just follow the signs, listen to your audio guide (take your ID card with you to get the guide) and enjoy the beautiful Portuguese late gothic Manueline architecture of the Jeronimos…
Like many monuments in Portugal, both the Monastery and the Belém Tower are classified UNESCO Heritage Sites. To get from one to the other by foot, count about 15-20 minutes walking along the shore.
The Monastery has several floors and a church next to it which can be visited for free. You will also be able to see it from above directly from the Monastery 🙂 There is also a small exhibition which is nice to see. For this monument only, the visit will take at least 2 hours unless you rush it.
Next we wandered the district, passing in front of the national museum and directly to the Belém Tower. This monument has played a significant role in the portuguese history, especially during the discoveries era. This fortificant acted as a defense system on the Tagus. Here, you can see the Tower and visit it but it will take some time to get to the highest floors. Indeed, only 120 people can climb the stairs up and have to wait to go down…I must admit the organisation isn’t ideal and you are often waiting in line and stuck in the narrow staircase.
Besides that, the visit can be quick because there is not that much to see besides the beauty of the building and finesse of all its details 🙂 We then turned back and went to the Monument of the Discoveries = Padrão dos Descobrimentos. If you get there when there isn’t too many people, you will appreciate the details of the world map in the pavement and the amazing sculpture of the monument.Do note that you can visit the inside of the monument but we didn’t do it.
By the time we were done admiring the place and taking pictures, it was raining and we were hungry. So we hurried back to the main street, not far away, and entered a local super nice restaurant “Os Jeronimos“, located next to the bakery Pasteis de Belém. We tried several dishes like the clamps, the sardinhas and the local black sausage. I can honestly say we had a great experience due to many factors :
- You feel welcome immediately and the atmosphere is VERY friendly;
- The staff speaks English but also French, especially the boss who is super funny;
- The food is fresh and if you want, you can see the meat or the fish before it is cooked;
- Great advices, good price, good portions;
- Delicious food brought to you in a timely fashion!
As explained, next to Os Jeronimos is the Pasteis de Belém which is supposedly the best pasteis de Nata baker ever because they still use the original recipe. We went, queue and tried the infamous pasteis for 6€ (box of 6) but we were not amazed. Actually, we prefer the ones prepared by our little cantinha in Alfama :p It isn’t the original recipe from 2 centuries ago but it is delicious!
Around 3PM we headed back to Lisbon and kept wandering the city’s dark streets :p We ended up finding a sardinhas shop called Loja das Conservas. This shop is from the Association of canned fish products and you can find really beautiful cans…Not sure you’ll want to open them though haha, they cost about 2.5€ each. Not too far from there you will find shops selling traditional products. The funny thing is that they have a canned fish distributor!!
We then kept walking around, finding the Praça do Comercio, then back up to the Rossio then Praça Restauradores. This is how we found the Gloria Funicular (3.6€) but didn’t use it…Again…and walking a very steep street to reach a viewpoint on the other side of the city.
In terms of good addresses in Lisbon :
- In Alfama for breakfast go to Doce Fama, the boss is very nice and speaks some French and English. He offers nice breakfast options for 3-4€ > two eggs in bacon nest with toasted bread, a coffee and a lemonade or orange juice. His pasteis de Nata are incredible!! Find him: Rua Sao Miguel 87
- Also in Alfama for Apero time, you can go to Cantinhoda da Rute. It is a small place that serves Ginjinha and local tapas such as sardinhas, octopus salad and more 🙂 Enjoy a warm welcome and very attentive host…As well as good food! For just a drink you can take a seat in the café/grocery store just in front.
- Still in Alfama, check “Ao Pé Da Sé“, “Caso Sério“, “Pois café” and “Esperança sé“. They all have good reviews and locked super nice 🙂
- In Belém try “Os Jeronimos” for sure it will be a great experience 😀
- If you want to listen to some Fado and don’t mind paying 45€ for a restaurant, try Alfama Grill at the end of Sao Miguel.
Another day, another journey coming soon…