Lisbon is a great town. I’ve got friends who are from Lisbon, lived in Lisbon or simply fell in love with Lisbon while travelling. Lisbon has got the 400-bar party street, nude and surfing beaches and also beautiful monuments to enjoy. Belem, however, is not in Lisbon. It is a harbour city very close to Lisbon, with great history and food.
Eat The Secret Recipe of Pasteis de Nata
You probably heard about this secret pastry place in Portugal. Some even call it the best pasteis de nata (Portuguese egg tart) in entire Portugal. Presenting: the Pastéis de Belem. This pastry started baking the exact egg tart that you will be eating, in 1837. The recipe still remains exactly the same till today! Because of the secret recipe, it is baked in a secret shop, literally “Oficina do Segredo”.
How different is the Pasteis de Nata from Pasteis de Belem then? After all, they are sweet egg custard pastries. However, the ones in Belem are made with the secret recipe. The recipe is even patented and the confectioners have to sign a confidentiality agreement! You are assured to taste the secrets of Belem.
You can also read more about this pastry, with 4 other best pastries and snacks in Portugal.
Details You Need
Name of Café: Pastéis de Belem
Getting There: From the station Estação Sta. Apolónia, take bus 728, heading towards Descobertas. Alight at Belém-Jerónimos and walk to the café.
Address: Rua de Belém nº 84 a 92, 1300 – 085 Lisboa Portugal
Contact: +351 21 363 7423
Operating Hours: 08:00-23:00 daily
Enjoy Pastel de Nata in Lisbon
Belem is great, but you are going to spend more time in Lisbon, the capital, than Belem. So, where do you get your Portuguese egg tart fix? You can get it at Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata!
Name of Café: Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata
Getting There: From Luis Camões (tram station), walk along Rue do Loreto. Or walk from Chiado metro station.
Address: Rua do Loreto 2, 1200-108 Lisboa
Contact: +351 21 347 1492
Operating Hours: daily, from 08:00-00:00
Visit the UNESCO Site of the Belem Tower (Torre de Belem)
Built in 1515 to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbour, the Belem Tower is protected under UNESCO World Heritage Monument. It used to be the iconic landmark to remind sailors that they are reaching home, and today, it is an iconic landmark for the city of Belem. The Manueline style architecture, unique to Portugal, is well-preserved despite the being half a century old.
Inside the tower, start your self-guided tour at the lower battery, known as the bulwark. It stores the tower’s artillery, with 17 cannons aimed at the river for enemies. It later served as a dungeon prison until the 19th century.
Head up to the King’s Chamber by climbing the spiral stairway to the second level. It leads to the balcony, a Renaissance loggia, inspired by Italian architecture. There, you get a panoramic view of the river and the lower terrace.
Tips to Torre de Belem
- Arrive early. I cannot stress this enough. Tour groups always come in the later morning or afternoon, so get the best out of your tour by going early.
- You can purchase a “Lisboa Monumental” ticket for a discount to visit the Belem Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and the Ajuda Palace.
- If you would like to experience the tower, take a river sightseeing cruise on the Tagus river. You get a fuller view of the gorgeous exterior.
Information about Belem Tower
Name of Landmark: Belem Tower
Address: Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal
Getting there: Free parking is available opposite Avenida da India.
Train: From Cais do Sodre station, take the yellow line (Linha de Cascais) and alight at Alges. Take bus 15E and alight at Pedrouços.
Tram: Take Tram 15 from Praça da Figueira in central Lisbon and it stops outside Centro Cultural de Belém.
Operating Hours: (Winter) 10:00-17:00, (Summer) 10:00-18:30, Closed on Mondays
Cost: 5€ or free with Lisbon Card
Indulge in an artistic afternoon at Museu Coleção Berardo
You can probably find more landmarks to visit like Jerónimos Monastery, Jardim da Torre de Belém (Belem park) and Padrão dos Descobrimentos, there is a museum that you should also check out when you are in Belem.
If modern and contemporary art is your kind of thing, you have to visit Museu Coleção Berardo in the Centro Cultural in Belem. The museum is free to enter and features art styles like cubism and new realism. Cubism was started by Picasso in Spain, which is near Portugal.
Other than Picasso’s artworks, you can also enjoy Warhol works. These are permanent exhibits while there are also temporary exhibits going on too. Check the latest exhibits out on the official website.
Information about Museu Coleção Berardo
Name of Museum: Museu Coleção Berardo
Address: Praça do Império, 1449-003 Lisboa, Portugal
Getting there: Tram 15E reaches Belem. From Centro Cultural de Belem, the museum is located at level 0.
Operating Hours: (Daily) 10:00-19:00
My recommendation: Check out the Pop Art collection showcasing some fantastic pieces from several British and American artists, including Andy Warhol.
If you call ahead I would recommend organising a guided visit to the 1900-1960 collection. The museum requests 1 week’s notice for this. The guides are all incredibly knowledgeable and helpful to bring the pieces, the artists and their stories to life for you.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie at beautiful destinations. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always dreamt of.